This trail can be a bit challenging to find and to be honest, at first I found myself scrambling over boulders and hanging onto mountain walls. I had missed the trail as it briefly turns west and instead went east. If you go that way and find yourself surrounded by rock climbers -- go the other way. I was disappointed that this wasn't marked better as I was about to give up on this trail. Luckily I did get some assistance from the rock climbers who quickly got me in the right direction.
The first part of the trail hugs a creek that feeds the Hidden Falls. For the first half mile, you'll hear the cascading waters and be surrounded by a pine shrouded trail. I would argue that at least the first 1.5 miles or would make this a great running trail. It is still challenging but the amount of slipping / falling is pretty limited.
This trail is also pretty well populated. I wound up running into at least a dozen other hikers -- not bad for the off season. I also didn't detect any wildlife other than what looked like a wild turkey and I am thinking that this isn't a "moose friendly" trail. But I could be wrong.
The trail is steadily climbs and I found my heart rate climbing. I wore shorts today, due to the unseasonably warm weather and I was still drenched in sweat by the time I reached mile 1 (I also got a wicked sunburn). I was easily hitting 18 minute miles, which again is another good sign of my fitness.
This trail has a lot of switchbacks and eventually it does hug some cliffs. While I never did feel unsafe, one false step could lead you tumbling down a ravine. At this point, I would recommend NOT running. However, the views from the cliffs and the higher-up sections were priceless.
I wound up taking the trail for 2.5 miles and at that point it was rapidly climbing. If I wanted to see Mount Raymond I could've followed it, but the trail was snowy and probably muddy. I also was tired and was worried about over extending myself with the marathon in close view. I also wore shorts and my legs were getting cut up by the not so friendly brush that whipped at my shins with every step. I also didn't bring a lot of water as I expected doing a mile or two hike at most.
I'd love to finish this trail, but I think I got the gist of it. It eventually leads to the Lake Desolation trail, one of which I've already done before so even if I had made it to the top I don't think there would've been anything else I haven't seen. I do like this trail as it offered a variety of views and while technically challenging at times, the elevation / climbing wasn't that intense. I do recommend bringing a walking stick or ski poles though.
|About where I turned around.|