This route offers some good views, solitude, and takes the runner through a great cross-section of local flora. The first part is on a rocky fire road before you turn off onto a singletrack that travels through oak, manzanita, redwoods, lake-side scrub, and even marshes.
To reach the start of the run, park at the dam and cross it. This route could be done in either direction, but I like having the climb at the beginning to get the heart rate up.
The first mile is a constant climb on Rocky Ridge Road
. This road is aptly named with a lot of loose rock and ruts. Tread carefully. At Stocking Trail
, turn right and follow the trail down through oaks and manzanita, past a marsh before intersecting the Kent Trail
. Veer right and follow the Kent Trail
through redwoods, past Hidden Lake, and through a tunnel of huckleberry bushes. At the right time of year (fall), there are delicious berries good for snacking on.
This long descent ends at the shores of Alpine Lake, where you'll turn right to continue on the Kent Trail
and head along the shore of the lake. This trail can be a bit tricky footing-wise, so be careful. There are places where there has been some erosion and there are a lot of rocks and roots in the trail. Also beware of rattlesnakes!
On the day I was tracking this trail, I nearly stepped on one, jumping over it at the last minute. If I would have had my dog with me I think it would have been a bad deal. Another reason to always keep your dog on leash! This trail intersects the Kent Fire Road
at the pump station where you'll run a gradual up hill section back to the start. Cross the dam to the parking for a nice cool-down.
Look for ospreys, which are frequently seen at these lakes.