Inspiration and collaboration create bike fixing station

The City of Salem and members of the CANDO Neighborhood Association have worked together to create a unique public bike-fixing station for Riverfront Park.  Bikers can use the tools for free any time, seven days a week.

The  “bike fixation,” offers Phillips head and standard screwdrivers tire levers, wrenches, a hex key set, a bicycle pump and many other tools, attached by cables to a sturdy tubing on which bicycles can be mounted.

Corrine Fletcher, Neighborhood Association liason with the City, brought the idea to Salem.  “The first time I saw a bike fixtation was smack dab in the middle of downtown Ashland,” she says.  “I was thoroughly inspired by the idea of offering the tools and space for quick bike fixes to the public – a way to support and empower people riding bikes.”

Every year, the Salem Parks Foundation offers a grant for neighborhood parks.  Fletcher thought a bike fixtation would be an educational service that would encourage bike riders both within and outside parks.  Fletcher approached CANDO Neighborhood Association with the idea says Erma Hoffman, Parks Committee chair of CANDO, where it was met with enthusiasm.

Rebekah Engle, who was CANDO Board Chair at the time, says she and Hoffman pursued the idea, working with City staff, including Fletcher and Salem Parks Department’s Toni Whitler to apply for a grant through the Salem Parks Foundation.

“Riverfront Park was an ideal location,” Fletcher says, “because it’s central and acts as a connector to West Salem, downtown – and soon to be Minto Island!”

The bike fixation has begun to be noticed, Hoffman says.  As more cyclists see it, the use will accelerate.  Engle wants bicyclists of all ages and styles to use the tools at the station to make their biking experiences downtown more pleasant.  “If this station is useful and effective,” she says, “perhaps the City or other entities will put more stations in useful places throughout the city making it more bicycle friendly all around.”

“I’m excited to see how infrastructural projects like the bike fixtation increase people riding bikes in Salem,” Fletcher says.  “The public pump and workbench give our community access to convenient and shared resources that may have been barriers to traveling by bike.”

“And it’s just dang cool!”

Bold, beautiful, bike park proposed

The Salem Area Trail Alliance (SATA,) began crowd fundraising on November 6th for a large, dynamic trail facility and bike park in the north end of Wallace Marine Park.

Using IndieGoGo, the group aims to raise $75,000 before December 31.

Called the Wallace Bike Park and Trail Facility, the project will contain two miles of cross country single track trails and two pump tracks (a dirt course with jumps and bumps) including one for children and beginners and a second for more advanced riders.

The cross-country trails will integrate bicycle trail features (features built to challenge riders) throughout.

When complete, the Bike Park “will help to make Salem more livable for both current and prospective residents,” SATA says.

The crowdfunding initiative is only one component of the overall fundraising campaign for a project that may run to as high as $120,000, SATA says.  It will also be applying for grants, which often require a cash match, holding fundraiser events and working closely with potential business donors.  The facility will be financed 100% by private donations and grants.

“Amenities like this facility have the potential to drive our community socially and economically,” SATA says. “One of the reasons we’re starting with Wallace (yes we want to build more!) is that this facility will compliment the nationally recognized softball complex” at Wallace Marine Park.

The group has been working for more than two years with the City of Salem, designers and the public.

For more information go to: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wallace-marine-bike-park-trail-facility.

SATA’s fundraising video is available on the Salem Weekly web site and Facebook page.

Salem area swimmin’ holes

With the passing of Labor Day and the onset of Indian Summer, now is the perfect time to enjoy the waters without the bustle of summer crowds.  If you are not interested in splashing indoors at the Krok Center or at a gym or at the “Y”- but are instead a wild old soul who yearns for the sun and fresh air against your skin, nothing but outdoor waterways will do.

The following is only a partial list of options to get you started.   We start near in to Salem and extends outwards.

Hurry before winter comes.

 

Cascades Gateway City Park

Mill Creek

2100 Turner Rd. SE, Salem

About 3 miles from downtown Salem

Free

For a dip in a stream near town, Mill Creek can’t be beat.  Neither of the lakes at this city park are particularly inviting (and no swimming is allowed in one) but the creek itself, surrounded by valley foliage and trees, seems miles from civilization and, in the right spots, passes at just the right speed.

 

Directions: though Walter Wirth Lake is technically swimmable, we advise you to bypass it entirely.  Instead cross the 1-lane bridge to your left into the day use area.  Take the wide footpath that roughly follows Mill Creek towards the west.  Take one of several smaller paths, off the left, to private pebbled beaches along the creek.

 

Willamette Mission Park Willamette River

10991 Wheatland Rd. NE, Salem

About 12 miles north of downtown Salem

$5 Day use

If you’re inclined to try a dip in the Willamette but don’t like the crowds of West Salem, drive 8 miles north of town to this location.  If you visit in autumn, feel free to pick the ripe filberts off the orchard floor of the abandoned orchards.  The Willamette here is wide and calm, with a wide rock beach.

 

Directions: Pull off I-5 at exit 263 and cross the freeway to the south, following Brooklake Road about two miles until it dead ends in Wheatland Rd NE.  Turn right on Wheatland and follow it for 2 ½ miles.  Turn left into the park.

At the filbert Grove Day-Use area, follow the trail sign marked “Willamette River” and then, from the paved walkway, follow the arrow that points down the dirt path to the river. 

 

Santiam River Southbound Rest Area

Santiam River

About 15 miles south of downtown Salem

Free

If you’ve admired this beautiful river when glancing west on the I-5 bridge going south, you will be pleased to know that you can swim here.  It’s a bit of a walk on a very rocky pathway, but you will almost always have the place to yourself.

 

Directions: Travel south on I-5 about 12 miles, and exit at the Rest Area just past signpost 243.  Drive through car lot, on paved road to bridge.  Park on right and head right, or west (crossing pile of concrete pieces) three blocks along stony path that runs a short distance from river.  Cross on smaller path through trees and brush to river after about a third mile.

 

Silver Falls Park

Silver Falls Creek

20024 Silver Falls Hwy, Sublimity, OR

About 30 miles east of downtown Salem

$5 Parking fee

 

 

The most child-friendly of all the options listed here, this calm creek water is clear and refreshing, and is bordered by a sloped lawn for comfortable sitting or picnicking.

 

Directions: After entering the park, exit the highway at the South Falls Day Use Area and park in the large lot.  A large lawn and stretch of calm, wide shallow stream to your south provides excellent splashing, floating and paddling, especially for children.

 

Three Pools Day Use Area

Little North Santiam River

Willamette National Forest

About 45 miles from downtown Salem

$5 day use fee

We could write a whole article on the swimming holes of the Little North Santiam alone; there are many, and swimming is available at most campgrounds and picnic spots along it.  But if you only go once, do visit the Three Pools for their emerald color, clear water and fantastic rock formations.  Inviting and invigorating, an Oregon treasure!

 

Directions: Follow Hwy 22 east to Mehema.  Turn left on North Fork Road and proceed for 16.6 miles to the intersection of Forest Road 2209 and Forest Road 2207  Turn right on Forest Road 2207 and continue 0.8 miles to Three Pools Day Use Area.

Caution: None of the above location offers lifeguard duty, so enter the water at your own risk and always observe children carefully.  Bring along a buddy and a flotation device.  Due to rocks, glass and debris, Salem Weekly always recommends the use of shoes when swimming in the outdoors.

 

Building for the future at Silver creek Falls State Park

trails222On a Sunday morning when much of Salem is still asleep, 15 ordinary residents of towns such as Keizer, Salem and Monmouth drive the curving roads through farmland to Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, to build an off-road bike trail.

They bring heavy hand tools: clippers and weed whackers, shovels and hatchets, and load them all in a pickup.  Then it’s a 2 ½ mile ride, jostling up an access road, and after that a ¾ mile hike up a unused, rutted logging road, covered and thatched with brambles, carrying the tools as they go.  Finally, a 3/4 mile scramble through raw forest wilderness, clambering through knee-high brush and over waist-high logs, each step sinking deep into a tortuous mass of dead branches, willful plants, deep-set mushrooms and fern – until the destination, deep in the forest, is reached.

It is then that the real work begins.

“I enjoy building trails as much as enjoy riding them,” says Paul Prough, who is leading the effort today.

“I never met the people that built the other trails here,” says Paul Heuberger.  “I don’t have kids: I try to support other people and their kids.”

Prough and Heuberger and the rest of the crew intercept a cleared mountain bike trail, created on earlier weekends, more than three miles up it.  They begin where the finished track ends in wilderness marked every few yards by neon orange “flags” on stakes.

Today they advance, following the flags into thick forest.  First the new area is weed-whacked, then it is addressed with axes and McClouds (a large fire tool with a long hoe on one side of the head and wide-set teeth on the other,) that “bench cut” a flat, horizontal path in the sloping uneven ground.  Limbs and roots are hacked away, massive fern roots and rocks are dug out and soil is pulled down and across the cleared trail.  Logs are hauled to reinforce the new edge; rocks are used to support the logs or are carried to stream crossings to create a path over the flowing water.

The work is not easy but the crew is cheerful.

Peter Higbee, semi-retired, smiles, his white shirt grimy from hauling.  “I enjoy making trails,” he says.  “I hope to ride this trail some day.”

As the group labors on about 150 yards are cleared around the sides of two hills, across a massive downed log and down into and up the side of a creek as sprinkles mist from the sky and the mid-day sky darkens so much that the group jokes they need helmet lights.   They work even so, through about 50 overhead thunderclaps until Prough calls it a day “due to celestial events.”  The long scramble back through the forest begins.

Everyone is a volunteer, a member of the Salem Area Trail Alliance or Salem Oregon Mountain Bike Alliance, or just a trail lover.  Prough and Dewayne Powell began the project in April 2013 by beginning conversation with park staff, and the five miles of single-track off-road mountain bike trail they are shooting for will probably be completed in 2015.  It’s hard to project the end for sure since the distance achieved on each “build day” varies due to the challenges that each section of trail presents.

“It is a good feeling to know a trail really well,” Prough says.  “It is also exciting to think of all the people who will get to enjoy it in the future, hopefully long after I am too old to anymore!”

Before the group disbands, they discuss when too meet next time, to inch their work further into posterity.

Skyline Trail brings people to nature

“I love the adventure of trails,” says Salem’s Mark Wigg.  “You never know what’s around the bend.”

Wigg is the primary creator and steward of Skyline Trail and Croisen Meadow Loop trails, which run their lengths in the forestland to the north, west and south of Sprague High School in South Salem.  These trails can give hikers or bikers a 2 or 3 mile loop, or, when combined with the Croisen Scenic Trail (Salem Weekly, June 12) offer 5 miles of woodsy exploring.

“This whole trail got put in by volunteers,” Wigg says, gesturing down a long sun dappled path between Oregon white oak and sword ferns.  “Trails are easy to build and easy to maintain; they’re practically free.  And people use them.”

Skyline trail first began several years ago when Wigg, passing on Croisen Creek Road S, glanced east and noticed small, alluring meadows in the woods the other side of Croisen Creek.  He wondered who owned the land, and how he could reach those meadows.

“You can get maps from the County Assessor to learn the topography of an area like this,” Wigg says. “You can learn who owns it, where the tax lots are and that kind of thing.  I found that this was neglected land, parkland.  I thought, ‘let’s do something with this!’ and the City was very accommodating.”

Like others who want to build parks in city limits, Wigg had to find the land was suitable, then tape off a potential trail, then get city Parks personnel to walk his trail idea off.

“They said, ‘fine, it looks good,’” he says.

The next step was to find people to help clear the way.  Crews appeared from the Chemeketians outdoor group and from the Salem Area Trail Alliance (SATA) a group that promotes trails in and around the Salem area.

“One weekend, 20 people built 1,000 feet of trail in two hours,” Wigg says.

The woods and creek look wild and are used by deer, beaver, frogs, trout, squirrels and coyotes, and contain flora the Department of Fish and Wildlife considers key habitat.  Skyline and Croisen Meadow are used by many, including a Biology class at Sprague High and the school’s Cross-Country Track team.  Ordinary people frequent it, out for a stroll.  On the day we visit, a group of young people race their bikes down a run, laughing and photographing each other.

Wigg says the paths aren’t hard to maintain.  “I come through here about once a week with a sandvig,” he says, swiping at foliage.  The cross-country team does some clearing as well.  “And a lot of people who come out here will pick up trash or toss a branch from the trail, so it’s kind of self-maintained.”

Wigg is adamant that cities like Salem don’t need “$300,000 play equipment” to keep the public happy.  They mainly need trails.

“If you look at polls, like the City of Salem’s Park Masterplan,” Wigg says, “you see that what people want most is trails.  62% of people say they use paths and trails, and 59% say more trails are needed.  Well, here in Salem we have 600 acres of undeveloped parkland, just waiting for someone to decide to build a trail on it.  And it’s so rewarding to do.”

Trail Blazers

A dynamic squad of outdoor enthusiasts is creating a trail in the wilderness of Spring Valley Park for bikers and hikers to enjoy for generations.

The group is led by Salem Area Trail Alliance (SATA) president Jeff McNamee who, when we visited, was carving a trail from a woody forest hillside with a small earthmover.

SATA “officially adopted” Spring Valley, a small park north of West Salem in Polk County, in 2011.  McNamee says that since then “volunteers have built about four miles of trails,” including the ¾ mile stretch he is now working on.

“By the end of summer or early fall” McNamee believes the group will have “trail maps and trail signage” placed in the park.  “It’s a great little escape after work or for a short adventure on the weekend.  We built the system with runners, hikers, beginning mountain bikers and families in mind.”

SATA promotes outdoor activity and exercise in the Salem area by actually constructing trails, in partnership with whichever government agencies control the land, for others to use.

The group numbers about sixty members, but has a mailing list of 350 people who visit the website and a much-used Facebook page.  Last month about 25 people showed up for a work party at Silver Falls Park where SATA is supporting trail proponents in Silverton.  The trail they are working on is now nearly eight miles long.

“The benefits of trails are numerous and well documented,” McNamee says.  “Trails serve as a place to stay physically active.  Studies have shown that if you live close to a trail you are more likely to use it and meet national physical activity guidelines.”

Steve Williams, another SATA member, says he participates on trail-building projects near Salem “because I love to get outside and I want to get outside closer to home.”  With a busy schedule and a young family, Williams says, “I can’t get out all day but I can have shorter adventures closer to home to share with my family.”

Williams feels that the work of creating trails is important.  “It’s something you can do for your community, and look back at and say, ‘hey, I was a part of that’”

Because McNamee appreciates the way trails and trail events bring tourism dollars to areas, he is also working with several wineries and vineyards near Spring Valley.  This is because, in the future, SATA hopes to develop a hiking, biking and equestrian trail “that has the potential to connect over 20 wineries and vineyards,” McNamee says.  He is serving on a Travel Oregon Destination Development Steering committee that hopes will move the project forward in the next year.

“The trail concept we have proposed would be totally unique and attract visitors from around the west,” McNamee says.  “The idea is similar to trail systems seen in Europe that connect vineyards and wineries.”

Trails might someday connect area parks to a “winery/vineyard trail system” according to this vision.  “We could imagine,” McNamee says, “tourists coming to Salem and using the trail system to plan single day or multi-day hiking and biking adventures.  A similar system in East Burke, Vermont, (the Kingdom Trail,) attracts over 40,000 visitors from around the world!”

Salem Trails

Salem Area Trail Alliance, SATA, is a group of local outdoor enthusiasts who are increasing the number of feet of trails in the mid-Willamette Valley.  The goal, says President Jeff McNamee, is to create, extend, connect and sometimes maintain trails for biking, hiking and running.

“We currently have trail projects in various stages of development in and around Salem, Silverton and Dallas,” McNamee says, and on June 7, the group worked on a new hiker/biker trail that extends the Perimeter Trail of Silver Falls State Park.

In addition to this trail extension, McNamee says, “Our short-term trail building goals,” include “completion of a 4-5 mile network of trails at Spring Valley and Lincoln Access State Parks about 8 miles north of Salem… [and] a bike park and trail facility within Wallace Marine Park” in West Salem.

One completed project that is already getting daily use by Salem residents is the Croisan Scenic Trail, an oasis of tranquility in South Salem.  Beth Dayton, a SATA Board Member, worked for years to establish and maintain this 8/10th of a mile stretch of woods and glens between Keubler and Spring Street South.

“I love trails,” Dayton says.  “I’m a biker and a hiker, and it seemed like a great thing to have in our neck of the woods.  I thought it would be a great bike commute trail, too.” She hoped that it would keep bicycle commuters off the busy thoroughfares nearby.

The Croisan Scenic began in 2003 when Dayton noticed an “informal trail, in really bad shape” in her neighborhood “that had been used by people since about the 1970s.”

Dayton saw the potential there.  She first requested property maps from the City of Salem, to see if the land was privately owned.  Learning it was city land, Dayton worked with the city and her neighborhood association (“there were lots of meetings!”) and the City of Salem Parks Department.

“Between 2003 and 2006 I had to find others who would support the idea,” Dayton says.  “I located a couple of compatriots, and we actually went door to door to see who might be interested in helping, and it all culminated in a presentation to City Council.”

It was exciting when the city council signed a decision formally made Croisan Scenic Trail a City trail.  SATA was issued a Memorandum of Understanding, “a 6-page document that stated that we were responsible for maintaining the trail.”  The memorandum specified that the trail must be 3 feet wide, the type of surface it must have, the size of trees the group could cut, the size trees needed to ask the city to cut and many other details.

Dayton is thrilled with the result.  “You know, some people were worried that a trail might bring crime,” she says, “but now, many people use it every day.  I see them going on it, and the area is safer than ever.”

SATA is busy raising funds to reimburse a grant it received from the Oregon State Parks and Recreation to work on the trails in Spring Valley and Lincoln Access.

It is a welcoming group, McNamee says, and will continue to be.  “Salem residents are very interested in increasing urban trail capacity.  This excitement can be witnessed on the days we have held… trail work parties.”

The Croisan Scenic Trail is only the beginning of SATA’s projects that Salem Weekly will be reporting on.  Tune in for our next edition!

Duffy Lake

Oregon is such an amazing place, with its thundering waterfalls, raging rivers and creeks, scraggly volcanic peaks and it’s beautiful clear mountain lakes! In the Willamette National Forest alone, there are over 500 lakes hidden amongst the dense timber, ranging from over 6,000 acres to less than one acre in size. Most of these are in the high country, remote and difficult to reach. Some are accessible by car, most by trail and still others don’t even have a trail leading to them.

Duffy Lake is an easy hike and a popular one during the summer months. It is 31 acres in size, is noted for it’s fishing and lies at 4,793 feet in elevation. I would suggest going now, since the summer traffic has waned and the winter has not yet set in. We recently visited Duffy Lake for the first time and there were only two other cars parked at the trailhead parking area.

The hike begins on a wide and well-graded trail, through an old forest of Douglas fir and western hemlock. It’s a gradual uphill climb from the start but levels off after a few miles as it follows the dry bed of the North Santiam River. All the usual suspects line the trail: bear grass, yellowing vanilla leaf, deer fern, snowberry, Oregon grape, mountain lupine and bracken fern. We come to a junction with a sign for the Turpentine Trail, but we stay to the right towards Duffy Lake. The signage is good, so we have no worries of getting lost.

There are lots of juncos fluttering about and we spot a few gray jays, a very friendly and common bird at higher elevations. We were also very fortunate to see a male Black Backed Woodpecker with its yellow crown, pecking and searching for food in old dead stumps.

We cross over the dry riverbed of the North Santiam River which apparently can be difficult to pass during the spring and late fall when it is noted to be 20 feet wide. We continue on, passing a junction on the right for the Maxwell Trail. After skirting the edge of large meadow, we come to a four-way junction where we head straight towards the lake.

It’s a beautiful clear lake, the water is a bit cold and a few campsites are dotted along its edge. The rocky Duffy Butte on the north side of the lake towers at 5,849 feet and there is evidence of the B & B Complex Fires that burned through this area in 2003. It is a perfect place for a picnic lunch and a rest. If you’d like a longer hike you can continue on to Mowich Lake, which is only another 1.1 miles.

I think it is best to visit Duffy Lake right now. The trees and shrubs are changing color and the trail will not be as dusty, thanks to the recent wet weather. But hurry before the snow starts to fall and covers the trail.

Henline Mountain Trail -Hiking

The trail immediately begins with steady and steep switchbacks through the forest. We have been here before so we know to take our time and pace ourselves for the 2.8-mile vertical assent. Luckily, the temperatures are mild and there’s a nice breeze.

After about a half mile, the trail crosses over a massive rock field from an old slide. Someone has taken the time to move large rocks into positions to form perfect little seats so we stop and enjoy the view of the Santiam valley to the south. We continue on, and after a few more switchbacks we come to a large outcropping where we can climb out and overlook the rock field that we just traversed.

A little further up the trail there is a second large rock outcropping with even better views of the valley and the Little North Santiam River below. We continue climbing through the dry but shady forest. The trail is lined with Oregon grape, salal, and various ferns and as we climb higher, Pacific rhododendrons and bear grass appear as well as lupine.

We come upon another very large rock field, which the trail skirts, and then crosses over. The rocks can be loose, so we step carefully. There are some very cool stone cairns marking the trail, someone has obviously gone to a lot of work building them.

The trail climbs still steeper and finally pops out atop a very rocky ridge. Mt Jefferson looms to the east along with Battle Ax and the Cascade Range. On a clear day it is said you can see Mary’s Peak to the west 65 miles away, but today it is hazy.

This is where we reward ourselves with lunch and a nice long break. The actual summit of Henline Mountain is to the Northwest. To reach it, go back down the trail 20 yards and there is a fork to the right where a rougher trail leads atop a ridge for another 1.1 miles. We chose not to attempt it and save it for another day.

 

How to get there:
From Salem, travel east on HWY 22 for approximately 23 miles passing through the town of Mehama and turn left at the blinking light onto North Fork Rd. Drive for about 20 more miles, veering left at the fork onto Rd 2209. The trailhead and message board will be on your left and the parking is on your right, along side the road. (This is a well-traveled road, for it also takes you to Opal Creek.)

Distance and Elevation Gain:
I consider this a difficult hike; it’s 5.6 miles round trip and 2,200 feet in elevation gain. The rocky peak, our destination, is the site of an old fire lookout, at 4,100 feet.

Fees and Permits:
A wilderness pass is required and you can fill out the paperwork at the trailhead. Parking is free.  There are no bathrooms. This is a steep hike but we did see both dogs and children. We spoke to the dog owners who said they wish they had packed more water for their four legged friends.

The Three Pyramids Hike

This is a wonderful trail. It’s short and yes steep, but well worth the effort. It should be called the “Three Pyramids Wildflower Hike” because of the diversity and abundance of wildflowers and plants as you traverse the switchbacks. Take your time and enjoy every turn.

The trail begins at the west end of the parking area and crosses over a small creek on a log footbridge. Immediately, there is a junction where you turn right and start the gradual, steady climb through an old growth forest. It’s shady and cool as the trail parallels the creek and there are a few small waterfalls for background music. The trailside groundcover is thick on both sides with bunchberry, vanilla leaf, devil’s club, skunk cabbage and coolwort and there are a few more creek crossings on log bridges, one that is somewhat collapsed but still very functioning.

What I like most about this hike besides the incredible view from the top is the wildflower display. As you climb in elevation the ecosystem changes along with the flower display. Bear grass appears, as does white-veined pyrola, spent Queen’s cup and native rhododendrons. As we climb even higher and leave the creek behind, wildflowers that prefer a drier climate appear, pearly everlastings, Indian paintbrush, brackenfern and lupine. (I apologize if I ramble on about the plants on all my hikes, but their beauty and abundance is really a big part of what draws me.)

After about ¾ mile the trees start to thin and we come upon an incredible U-shaped valley that was formed during the Ice Age. There is a beautiful meadow at the bottom, and it is inviting but we could not find a trail through the thick brush. We continue on up the switchbacks, taking lots of breaks to admire the views of the Three Sisters and the Cascade Range to the east.

After about 1.5 miles the trail winds around the northern side of the ridge where it becomes shady and cool, with spent trilliums and columbine and views of MT Jefferson. As we near the top, there is a junction with signage. We take a left turn heading to the Middle Pyramid. We continue on as the trail winds around on the western side of the ridge and to the top, where we are rewarded with views of the Three Sisters, MT Bachelor, Jefferson and MT Hood to the north.

If you are so inclined to scramble up rocks, you can climb still higher and have your lunch break upon the rocky peak where there was once a fire lookout.

 

How to get there:
From Salem, drive east on HWY 22 for approximately 76 miles, passing Detroit Lake and Marion Forks. Pay attention to the roadside mile markers and when you see milepost 76, slow down. Turn right onto Lava Lake Meadow Rd #2067. If you reach milepost 77 you’ve gone too far. (which I have done before and had to turn around and go back). Road 2067 is a well-maintained gravel road. Pass Road 560 on your right, cross over a bridge and turn right at the junction, following signs for Pyramids Trail. Pass road 562 on your left and continue following the signs. There are a few side roads with no signage, but stay on the main road. You’ll come to a dead end and a large parking area with no bathrooms.

Distance and Elevation Gain:
This trail is only 4 miles however, it is all-uphill. The elevation gain is 1,800 feet so there are lots of switchbacks. Just take it slow, take as many breaks as you need. It is really not kid or dog friendly because of the steepness. Bring lots of water.

Fees and Permits:
There are no fees or permits required to park here. It’s free, isn’t that great! And it is a well-maintained trail. I would love for all my tax dollars to go towards maintaining the parks and trails in our country, instead of supporting war. Camping is allowed here and there is evidence (fire rings) that others have done so in the parking area.