Tag Archive | hiking

Adventures in Hiking – Bear Mountain Green Pond/Boston Mine – shorter loop from Route 106

On a warmish day in November, I decided to take advantage of the weather and go hiking.  I wanted an easy and short hike without a blue trail since I always seem to get lost on blue trails (only semi-joking!). On this website I found that I can easily search for hikes not listed in any of the books I have. I found a few options that sounded good but were longer than I wanted to do that day. This particular hike was under 3 miles and rated easy. SOLD!

The directions by Daniel Chazin are great. I put the GPS coordinates in my phone’s mapping program, and it led me right to the parking lot. Finding the trailhead was also easy.

In November this trail was not very interesting, but I am guessing that it looks beautiful in the Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Walking through the thickets was one of the more interesting parts of this hike

Walking through the thickets was one of the more interesting parts of this hike

Entrance to the mine.

Entrance to the mine.


















2014-11-11 11.03.33Trail markers are often and obvious. I only got lost once and it was my own fault.  After the lake on the yellow trail, I insisted on going left onto the white Nurian trail even though the directions clearly state to go right.


By going left I ended up going downhill over many rocks and even had to do a semi-scramble down some of them. I said to myself “this cannot be an ‘easy’ trail” but instead of turning back I kept going to see if it would intersect with another trail. Finally when the trail kept being too difficult for my little girl Chihuahua who I was carrying at that point, I turned around. I had to put her in her pouch in order to be able to climb up the rocks. Going uphill was quite difficult.

In the Valley of Boulders. I didn't take pictures of the rock scrambles or steer ascents/descents because I was stressed :(

In the Valley of Boulders. I didn’t take pictures of the rock scrambles or steer ascents/descents because I was stressed 😦


It seems I had entered the Valley of Boulders. From the description, it’s really good that I turned around as there was a more difficult rock scramble ahead.


Once I reached the yellow trail again, I easily found my mistake and was able to take the correct route back to the car.

Green Pond. I should have gotten closer to take a better look, but this is where I ran into the most people as several trails intersect here.

Green Pond. I should have gotten closer to take a better look, but this is where I ran into the most people as several trails intersect here.










This hike contained the most hikers I have ever encountered on any trail. It probably didn’t help that it was Veterans’ Day. The hikers were very diverse – rock climbers, single male hiker, older group hikers, Asian tour bus hikers, and two guys just wandering the trails to eventually settle in and sleep for the night. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of people, but I’m used to complete solitude when I’m hiking since I go mid-week.

Anyway, I thought the trail was worth the time but would probably not do that particular loop again.

I did feel accomplished though, because I did learn that the marks on the trees can be distinguished from one another not only by color but by direction and shape (horizontal vs vertical / bar vs blaze vs diamond etc.). So overall, great day…….minus all the ticks I had to take off my dogs.


Adventures in Hiking – Eagle Rock Reservation – 9/11 Memorial

This hike has many good things going for it. Number one is the view. It is a great place to view the fall foliage, the freedom tower and even the Verrazano Bridge. It seems like it would be good in all seasons and is an easy hike with very few uphill sections. The only negative would be for people unsteady on their feet – several sections have loose rocks on the path, but if you use a walking stick, I would think you should be fine.

Yellow Trail

Yellow Trail

Red Trail

Red Trail


I should never say to myself “wow this trail has so many markers!” because I always jinx myself. The directions on the NY/NJ Trail Conference Site and the trail markers were great until I got to the blue trail. My first confusion was confirming that I was supposed to follow the trail at the last house. I don’t know why but that tripped me up (maybe it had to do with the off-leash dog attacking my leashed dog).

Check out this cool treehouse as you enter the blue trail

Check out this cool treehouse as you enter the blue trail

Once I started on the blue trail, I had very few problems (one downed tree made me search harder for the further marker) (switchbacks were also fine and clear) until I passed the stone bridge and ended up in a maze of trees where the trail bears left.

I felt so lost that I nearly started to panic (yes an overreaction, I could have just backtracked to the other trails or the street, but I wanted to continue on). In that area of mass trees, the trail is barely clear (at least in October with leaves everywhere) and there are several possible options of similar looking ground. There is no next blue marker in sight for a while. I made 4 wrong starts and needed to backtrack to the blue left turn marker to start over before I finally tredged ahead on the correct trail for a while (after pulling up Google maps and seeing that I would at least be heading towards a road) and I finally found the next blue marker. It was a very exciting moment for me. You may have heard me yell “BLUE!”   🙂

After that the trail was again obvious with markers on both trees and rocks to help you navigate your way uphill along large flat rocks to a clear intersection at the yellow trail.

I found the trail to be very clean with not much debris (if you see debris when hiking, how about you pick it up and throw it away!). The trails were rocky and I did turn my ankles a bit but I blame myself because I was only wearing sneakers (that I also used to hike Macchu Picchu) but I didn’t have them tied tightly. None of my minor stumbles were enough for me to bother bending down and tying them better, so the rocks must not be that bad!

On a Wednesday morning in October, there were not many people around and it was a peaceful and mostly enjoyable hike.

Also, the views from the 9/11 memorial area are amazing even on an overcast day. They did a very nice job with the memorial. I even saw a big buck hanging out there.

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Squint down under the edge of the red tree to find the buck

Squint down under the edge of the red tree to find the buck

Adventures in Hiking – Hoffman Park (aka ticks ticks and more ticks!)

Hiking in Hoffman Park will go down in history as the first hike I have done where I never once felt like I was lost! Woohoo! Perhaps I am making progress…..or perhaps the trails were so worn and wide and obvious that I couldn’t help but stay on track.2014-10-15 10.57.55

By staying on track, I mean wandering around, missing the turns I was supposed to make, etc. So I guess technically I was off the hiking trail pathway that was listed in Hiking with Dogs, New Jersey. In any case, the hike was a really nice, non-taxing walk, albeit a bit boring. Aside from a few tiny lakes, some hawks, one lone deer and a caterpillar, I didn’t really see anything too interesting. I did purposely veer off the trail from the book since the map posted online pointed out the other trails in between were easily accessible and wouldn’t add much mileage to the hike. The fall foliage was quite pretty to look at though, so I think the hike was worth the time.2014-10-15 11.03.22 2014-10-15 12.13.46.






Oh! What I did see was a tick on Mimi that I was able to swat off and we were lucky enough to take at least one giant tick home on Eli that I found the next day. Removing that was a huge task. It was stuck on his ear so deeply that I really had to yank it out. I had to enlist the help of a friend for moral support as the ear was so red and inflamed that I was nervous and needed an assist!

It didn’t help that I think Eli had a reaction to the flea and tick treatment I gave him the night before after the hike. He was shaking and breathing weird and was basically glued to my side the whole day.

I guess the lesson learned from this hike was do not stray from the path like I did and take the tick warning signs very seriously. Also make sure that your dogs are up to date on their lyme vaccine and flea/tick treatments.  PS. find one that your dog does not have an adverse reaction to.

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Perhaps it’s really the bat trail?

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Adventures in Hiking – Paw Pad Protection

Well, if you have been following my blog, you know that I only go hiking with my two Chihuahuas, Eli and Mimi. This weekend I learned that I am a bad mommy. This is what happened to my poor little girl!

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See the pink pad at the right? 😦

Yes, the black protective covering on her paw is MISSING! Now, she is not limping and doesn’t seem to be in pain. I am able to touch it without her pulling away (at least no more than when she pulls away because she thinks I’m going to clip her nails!)

I inspected the rest of her paws and they are all looking pretty ragged. I put some neosporin on the bare pad and a bandaid around her foot to help aid healing. She is good and does not bite on the bandage.

I also have purchased a paw protector salve that should help healing and also will give her protection against the elements outdoors. I will use this from now on when we go hiking as her paws obviously cannot take the wear and tear of so many miles!

My girl is delicate. I have to remember to treat her that way!

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So remember, when you are out and about with your pups, be sure to inspect their paws on a regular basis. They only get to wear one pair of shoes for life. (Well, unless they actually let you put shoes on them!)

Adventures in Hiking – Schooley’s Mountain – Patriots’ Path

Recently I hiked Schooley’s Mountain in Morris County, New Jersey (#16 in the book Hiking New Jersey). Again, I was reminded how bad of a hiker I am. Luckily, my directional instincts are pretty good, but I spent a bunch of the hike feeling lost. It’s definitely time to invest in a compass!

Figured seeing this sign meant I went the wrong way!

Figured seeing this sign meant I went the wrong way!

My journey started off well. I found the parking lot after adjusting the GPS a bit. I was the only one there as usual. I left the car and headed across the street to Patriots’ Path. The trail was narrow but clear except for a few thorny stalks.

There were signs about hunting all over the place. Of course, I was wearing camo colors so I was ready to get accidentally hit with a bow at any moment.

There were signs about hunting all over the place. Of course, I was wearing camo colors so I was ready to get accidentally hit with a bow at any moment.

I made a few accidental detours while trying to ensure I was still on the right trail but ultimately, I made it to another parking lot where there were benches and picnic tables along with bathrooms.

The next part of the trail threw me off a bit as there wasn’t a sign pointing down to the lake. Fortunately, a couple of fishermen were walking back to their car so I deduced that the lake must be in the direction they were coming from. Sometimes I am just so smart! 🙂

I headed down the path hoping it was the right way as it was all downhill, and I really didn’t want to walk back up again. Sure enough, the lake quickly came into view. Unfortunately, the directions then called for me to cross a floating bridge. Bridges, me and dogs do not get along but the bridge looked wide enough and there were no waves or anything since it was a lake so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad. But wait! Nothing is ever easy for me. There was a 5-sided piece of wood blocking off the bridge. Just then a couple walked by. I called out to them and they came over. I asked them if they ever saw the bridge closed. They hadn’t, so the guy decided to cross over the bridge to ensure it was safe for me to do so. Isn’t that awesome?

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While he was crossing the bridge, his girlfriend was telling me about a cool hike where waterfalls were visible, but she didn’t think it would be good for me as my dogs were small and probably couldn’t do it. Well, lo and behold, the trail had me cross back over another bridge at the top of the dam a couple of minutes later and I had to do the rock scramble with the pups anyway!

This is the dam that I used to cross back over the lake.

This is the dam that I used to cross back over the lake.

Thankfully she had warned me about what the trail looked like, because I don’t know if I would have braved it without speaking to her first. On this same section of path you lose the trail markers again. While I was scrambling down rocks on my booty with Mimi in her pouch and Eli either scrambling along or in my arms, I realized that I was once again lost……but now I was lost at the bottom of a mountain. (Okay, to be fair, it would have been easy to backtrack – just follow the water, but I felt really lost!)

Booty crawling rocks!

Booty crawling rocks!

Rocky terrain by the water

Rocky terrain by the water




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Fortunately, the book gives decent descriptions of the trail so I was able to wander a bit and find the right way to get back up the hill. For a while, the trail goes uphill which meant it was a good time to stop and snack.  Soon we continued on our way and ran into our buddies again. Once again, they were extremely helpful. They called out to me from a ledge and insisted I check out the view. The guy even offered to hold the barking dogs for me so I didn’t have to worry they would fall over (and no, I didn’t think they would steal my dogs, lol). The view was very nice and I definitely would have missed it had I not run into them.

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We didn’t stay long because at that point I was ready for the hike to be over. Unfortunately, the trail markers were not always clear on the way down, but it was easier to follow since I knew I just had to get back down the mountain.

Overall, I thought this was a nice hike and the park overall seems like a nice place to spend a day.

Adventures in Hiking – Bouchoux Trail (Jensen’s Ledges) – Lordville, NY

Labor day weekend is always bittersweet. It’s a long weekend away from work, filled with friends and activities, but it also means the summer is coming to an end. For this year’s weekend, I decided to enjoy the time by going on a quick hike a few miles from my home in Upstate New York.

To get to the Bouchoux Trail (Jensen’s Ledges) (I don’t believe those GPS coordinates are correct by the way as they send you to Pennsylvania.) travel on Route 97 north of Long Eddy and South of Hancock, turn at the Lordville sign onto Lordville Road. Take the road to the T-intersection where you will see an old white building with separate entrances for ladies and gents, then turn left. You will see a bridge on your right side and a dead end sign in front of you. Go straight onto that dead end road (Bouchouxville Road). Travel to the end where you will find the trailhead. Along this road, you will see interesting sights like houses – both run down and beautiful and hunters with guns and bows & arrows. Also be prepared for speeding cars even though there is barely space for two cars on the road. You may even encounter a ghost (see details on Lordville at the end of this blog).

The official trails are on private property but open to the public. There are two trails – the one that leads up to the ledges and another that leads down to the river. Both are clear and defined and have security cameras, so behave yourselves! On the river trail, there’s even a picnic bench and bbq which I assume belongs to the property owner and should not be used. The river trail splits into two where you can climb up to the railroad tracks and down the other side through a cut path in the bushes or you can walk under the tracks through the water to the rocky entrance to the Delaware. Climbing up to the tracks will give you a beautiful panoramic view of the river and fields below.

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The river trail is a great walk for people steady on their feet. You will encounter slippery rocks in the river or a steep ascent and descent if you go over the tracks, but a five month pregnant woman had no trouble maneuvering through. It would also be a nice place to sit on some rocks and watch the boats go by.

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The more difficult trail is the one up to the ledges. It has a pretty steep ascent right at the beginning and it feels uphill most of the way. I have gone to the top twice and have always had to take a break ¾ of the way through. Working to get to the top is worth it. The views are beautiful and the formations that have been created are awesome. There is also a waterfall and great place to sit and have a picnic. (Note the pictures below were taken in October 2013.)

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The town of Lordville also has its own interesting points. When we were leaving Bouchouxville Road, I noticed a mannequin in the top floor window of the house near the corner. It was spooky and eerie, but it made me think that perhaps there was more to Lordville’s story than first appears. When driving through Lordville, it seems like perhaps it is a hippie town with peace signs and artwork; however, the story goes much deeper. I found this Tumblr site where I learned that there is a documentary of Lordville and a history of ghost encounters. Being in Lordville gives you the feeling that you are in a bit of a time warp. One day I hope to explore it further.

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Adventures in Hiking – The Princeton Woods – Princeton Battlefield State Park

On an overcast Friday in August, I traveled an hour to hike The Princeton Woods – Princeton Battlefield State Park – Hike #24 in the book Hiking New Jersey. I am history-challenged so I had no idea that there was a battle between the British and George Washington’s army. This made this hike doubly interesting since I was able to learn something along the way

This hike was one of the best and easiest hikes I have ever done. There were no slopes, trails were wide, it was quiet and peaceful, saw deer, frogs, birds, grasshoppers, and only encountered two other people along the way. Also, there was a very clean bathroom at the beginning of the trail by the Thomas Clarke House’s shed!

The only negative was that trails are not clearly marked at all so I spent most of the time feeling lost and a bit stressed that I was wandering around aimlessly and would never find my way back to civilization.

You start the hike by walking behind the Thomas Clarke House. You will find the trail behind the circular field (on the right side). Right away you will see that the trail is wide and well-maintained. 2014-08-22 12.29.38

You will also notice no signage or tree markings. In the book, it says things like “You will arrive at the Trolley Track Trail.” Um, says who?? There are no signs stating that. There must be an invisible map somewhere that I am not privy to.

You will quickly notice while traveling along these pathways that there are many intersections not mentioned in the book. As I was trying to follow the directions, I attempted to stay on the trail they describe but had to guess at which way to turn many times. At the beginning the guesses were logical (turn right to go further into the trees instead of turning left to head back to the parking lot). However, once you were deeper into the hike, it was very difficult to figure out which way was the correct way to go.

Anyway, the first bit of wildlife I spotted was only about 2 minutes into the hike. I saw some grass on the path move and found this little guy. 2014-08-22 12.35.35

Soon after I reached the five-point intersection and a huge open field. I took a few steps forward to view the field and spotted this group of friends. They stood there watching me until I walked away.

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Finding the right trail to continue on my way was a matter of luck. I suppose I should invest in a compass since directions are sometimes in the form of “turn north”. I try to base cardinal directions on the placement of the sun but when the sun is high in the sky, that becomes quite difficult! I chose the trail directly to the left of the field which if you count the five points clockwise from where you reach them with the trail you are standing on as 1, it would be number 3, the field would be number 4.

 As I continued down the trail, I met this guy. 2014-08-22 13.03.32

Further along that path, I found the hanging bridge and attempted to cross it with Mimi in her pouch and Eli leading the way. Unfortunately, the bridge was a real swinger and its walkway leaned into the river so we turned around about a third of the way in. I’m sure most people would be thrilled to hear if Eli took a dive off the bridge into the river, but I didn’t want him to meet his maker that day.

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We also stopped for a snack and a quick rest.

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So psyched to see this!

The next instructions were to turn right onto the Pipeline Trail (again, why they are named, I don’t know). This was where I saw the only two tree markers on the entire trail. Information is that the trail is “a real wide red-shale lane”. Well, the beginning of the trail is overgrown with grass, so again, I wasn’t sure if I was making the right choice of trail picks.

The next few directions of the hike are really unclear. I made a wrong turn but fortunately it led to a dead end so I was able to backtrack. It was during this section that I finally heard a person in the distance. I was more confident now that I knew I was at least near civilization and at the very least could walk on a road back to the car if need be.

While I was walking on the trail feeling lost, I came upon another intersection. I stopped to read the directions and finally figured out that I was indeed on the correct trail and was at the 2.2 mile direction – cross through the trees over some boards and pass through a red barn and a house – talk about not obvious! 2014-08-22 13.43.25

This area where some of the greatest minds walked is a good place to stop at the picnic table and take a break.

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Then it’s back to the trail! Entering back in at mailbox 330, the trail is wide and obvious. You are now at the final leg of the hike, closing your circle and are very close to the parking lot (but can’t see it). Once you join the bike path, you will be in a very pretty flowered field – the Princeton Battlefield.

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 You should definitely head across the field (perhaps stopping at the lone bench to enjoy the beauty around you) and explore the Colonnade across the street. This area reminds you of the seriousness of the events that occurred on that land and makes you stop and think.

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I then crossed the street again at the crosswalk (a nice truck even did as he was supposed to and stopped to wait for me to cross!) It was then that I explored the area in front of the Thomas Clarke house and read the kiosks – very informative and interesting!

I want to go back to this area one day soon and explore the side trails….now that I know that you are never very far from civilization, and I won’t get lost forever! I also want to brave the hanging bridge and go explore the other side (with Eli in his pouch so he doesn’t fall into the water – sorry to disappoint!)

Here are a few bonus shots from the day.

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What is this thing growing on the tree? It almost wrapped all the way around

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Pond on the last leg

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Eli enjoyed the hike as well!

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A heart leaf!

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I always want to eat the berries!

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Towards the end of the hike, there were several benches to sit on.

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Institute for Advanced Study

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Lost Mimi in the grass at some point

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Butterfly was not even scared of us walking by

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Someone drew a heart!

Adventures in Hiking – The Pequannock Highlands – Silas Condict County Park

I borrowed the book Hiking New Jersey from my friend. It lists 50 of NJ’s greatest hiking adventures. I had been having trouble finding good detailed information online for hikes nearby. This book is pretty good. It lists where the hike is, distance, difficulty, if dogs are allowed, fees and what the trail is like. It also gives a description of the hike and also gives distance details on what you will see at each point and where to continue the trail.

The problem with today’s hike in Silas Condict County Park (hike # 14 in the book) was that I thought I was solely following the white trail but I ended up on the red trail as well. I also couldn’t find the viewpoint at the end of the red trail so that was disappointing. My mileage on the hike was around 2.75 miles so I feel I was close to finding the viewpoint but close is not good enough!

Because I was walking with my Chihuahuas, I ended up doing a 34 minute mile which is really slow, but because of all the ascents, I can’t say I would have done it much faster without them. But hey! Let’s just blame them for my slowness and not the fact that I’m really out of shape!


Start of white trail

The hike starts out pretty clear. You park in the first parking lot on the left and walk into the parking lot of a maintenance yard. Even though the trail is not marked with a sign, the trail is wide and clear to the right of the building.





If you follow along the directions in the book, they mention a viewpoint to the left .3 miles into the trail. Perhaps this has a better view in the fall when the trees have lost their leaves. All I could see were treetops.










The next left leads to a picnic table and then a bench that overlooks the lake (when trees have no leaves). It was a nice spot for me to stop and give the dogs some water and a snack.

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The trail continues on from there until you hit a large parking lot. From here, you just follow the parking lot around to the left, heading in the direction of the lake. Here is where I lost the white trail. I followed the instructions to head towards the ballfield and saw another wide, clear trail right by center field. Luckily, no one was playing ball that day or I may have gotten hit by a home run!


Large open picnic area behind the casino/stone building


Lake view from the other side of the casino








This is where I got confused. Upon entering this trail, you see the colors on the trees have now changed to red. In my limited hiking knowledge I felt like I remembered that if trails were overlapping, they would have both colors on the trees, but alas I forged ahead anyway since the book seemed to point me in that direction.

Stopped to spy on a chipmunk having lunch

Stopped to spy on a chipmunk having lunch


While on this section of the hike, I didn’t see any good views but did enjoy a quiet walk interrupted by only a few other people (It was a Tuesday.) I decided to turn around when I reached another large parking lot where I felt very lost and couldn’t figure out which direction to head. I finally decided to walk through the picnic area and ended up back on the trail I took to the parking lot. At least I knew that if I kept walking on that trail, I would eventually end up back at the car!

Eli couldn't miss out on the treats so he stuck his head in the slats of a bench to grab one

Eli couldn’t miss out on the treats so he stuck his head in the slats of a bench to grab one








When I arrived back at the ballfield, I decided to walk on the side of the lake to see where that led. Lo and behold, there was the white trail! However, the map and markers showed that it was the end (or beginning) of the white trail. Just past the map was a locked gate, so I don’t know if the white trail used to continue around the lake but that area is now off-limits (although the fence is pushed down in one part, so if you really want to enter, you can hop it.)

Map by the locked gate

Map by the locked gate

There are a couple of nice places to sit and look at the lake here so it’s worth the detour.


 On the way back to the car, I stayed to the left of the trail and didn’t detour to the picnic table or bench. The walk back was much quicker as it was mostly downhill.

Overall, this is a nice short hike, mostly shaded and fairly flat. My dogs were pooped by the end even though we stopped a lot. It would be good to pack a lunch and enjoy one of the many picnic areas or if they are taken (there were signs for reservations for each), just lay a blanket on the grass and do it old school! There are also restrooms by the casino by the lake and plenty of parking lots scattered throughout the park.

This is the trail I took today – tracked by my Endomondo app.

View of full hike and surrounding area

View of full hike and surrounding area

View of red trail

View of red trail

View of beginning/end of hike, including detour to side of lake

View of beginning/end of hike, including detour to side of lake