Birding · Wildflowers
St. Joseph's Hill Preserve is open 1/2 an hour before sunrise to 1/2 an hour after sunset.
The trail is mainly free from obstacles, although there are some low hanging branches near the beginning of the trail. Some of the upper portions of the trail are slightly rockier, which is more difficult on ankles.
The Flume Trail begins in Novitiate Park at the end of Jones Road. It can be accessed from the parking area there or by heading to the end of the Jones Trail
from Lexington County Park. There is a large informational kiosk at the beginning of the trail which has maps and information about the park. The trail gently climbs to the right of the sign as a singletrack dirt trail that hugs the hillside. There are some trees with low branches that require you to duck in order to get past. An alternative trail that meets up with the Flume Trail can be seen on the downhill to the right. There is a bench around .15 miles to take a break and enjoy the view before the trail enters the woods. The trail crosses a ravine via a wooden bridge before the trail starts to climb more steeply up the hill.
Due to its location near to Highway 17, which leads south to Santa Cruz, traffic can always be heard along the trail. As the trail begins to climb more steeply, it transforms from a dirt trail to a rockier trail that slopes downhill in places due to erosion. At roughly half a mile, the trail cuts back to the left and climbs up the hillside. Wildflowers can be seen blooming in the spring time. Utilizing another switchback, the trail opens up a little bit and views of Highway 17 and the surrounding hills spread out before you. Passing through a small gate that prevents mountain bikers from accessing the trail, the trail cuts to the left and meets up with the Jones Trail
At this point, you can turn around and retrace your steps back to your car, or take a left on the Jones Trail
and descend back to Novitiate Park. If you want to continue exploring St. Joseph's Hill Preserve, go to the right to access the other trails in the preserve.
Flora & Fauna
Rabbits, lizards, and California Quail can be seen along the trail routinely. Mountain Lions and bobcats have been reported in the preserve, so be on the lookout in the mornings and in the evenings. Rattlesnakes have been reported in the area as well, so be on the lookout on hot summer days.
Wildflowers bloom along the trail in the springtime.
Shared By: David Hitchcock