“A steep descent through the preserve to the park boundary.
— David Hitchcock
Fremont Older Open Preserve is open 1/2 an hour before sunrise to 1/2 an hour after sunset.
This trail is very steep and the dirt is loose underfoot, making it easy to slip as you descend. Rocks and roots pop up in various portions of the trail while others suffer from erosion after rainstorms. It's probably easier to run up this trail than to run down it.
The Ranch Road
Trail descends steeply from the Hayfield Trail
through the preserve along a doubletrack dirt trail. In the evening, deer and rabbits can be seen feeding in the fields along the trail. Flowers bloom along the trail in the spring time, making it a nice run. Most of the trail is shaded by trees that line the trail providing relief from the sun. Once you get to the end of the trail, the only way back to your vehicle is to climb back up Ranch Road
or ascend one of the other trails that intersect with this trail.
The easiest way to access the Ranch Road
Trail is to climb the Regnart Trail
and turn left on the Hayfield Trail
. When the Woodhills Loop Trail
goes off to the left, the Ranch Road
begins a steep descent downhill. The trail is a doubletrack dirt trail that descends steeply through the forest. After a tenth of a mile, the Woodhills Loop Trail
breaks off to the left and climbs uphill. The Ranch Road
Trail continues to descend through the shade of the forest. The dirt can be slippery, so watch your step. Parts of the trail may be washed out if it has been raining recently. After passing the .4 mile mark, the trail opens up a little and the Seven Springs Trail
crosses the trail. Deer can be seen feeding in the fields in the mornings and evenings. No matter which option you choose, either section of the Seven Springs Trail
will take you back to the Hayfield Trail
From here Ranch Road
levels out and descends to a dead end at the preserve boundary. The trail is less maintained and transforms from a wide dirt trail into two tracks with grass growing between them (essential two tire tracks). Less concealed than it was in the woods, the trail passes by fields on the left hand side until it emerges at a roundabout area and a large fence that separates the preserve from private property. At this point, your only option is to retrace your tracks back to the Seven Springs Trail
and either explore other parts of the preserve or climb back up Ranch Road
Trail to where you started. It's a good workout in this direction as it is entirely uphill.
Flora & Fauna
Deer and rabbits can be seen feeding along the trail in the evening while birds can be seen in the woods. Lizards or snakes may make their way onto the trail in warmer weather, so watch your step.