“Trails used: Yellow Trail, Blue Trail, White Trail, Orange Trail, Red Trail.
— Steve Wilhelm
Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The park opens the gates at 6:30 AM- you need to be heading in when the gates open. (There is a camp ground inside the park and the park is open 24 hours if you are an overnight guest).
Those wishing to complete this long loop in one day should plan to arrive early! The full route first travels the Foothills Trail
(blazed in yellow) to the North TrailHead (Mile 7), then we take the Blue Trail
to Peavine Falls (Mile 14). From there, scouts usually take the White Trail
to the Orange Connector
and finally the use the Red Road
to head out to the overlook. Usually groups can be found at the overlook around 5 pm. To get back to your original parking spot, take the Green Trail around the 19 mile point if you would prefer to run back down to where you originally parked.
Need to Know
The Green Trail will take you back to your starting point but after 19 miles the steep trail down the mountain is very painful, having transportation up at the overlook to get back down to your starting point is a good idea.
We encountered many trail runners from the North TrailHead taking the Blue Trail
, but the full loop would make for a strenuous day!
This is the route that Troop 97 takes for its Annual 20 Mile outing in January. We take scouts aged from 11 to 17 on this strenuous route, and it usually takes us about 10 1/2 hours. Even if you're not a scout, the going is still a great longer loop. Especially if you're training to undertake the Appalachian Trail or other long-distance run, this is a great place to test your skills.
The route starts off on the Foothills Trail
with a lot of small up and downs. None of the elevation changes are terribly difficult on their own, but taken back to back and repeated several times will wear you out! I have added pictures of the spillway and views of Tranquility Lake, and slowing your journey here is well worth while. This is a very scenic part of the journey, and if time permits do take photos.
When you leave the North Trailhead, you'll want to get on the Blue Trail
. There is a pretty good clime to the ridge where you'll spend about five (5) miles. When you get to Peavine Falls on the Blue Trail
, you'll be traveling along the edge of a bluff where the falls are, but often there's not much time for observation if you are going to complete the 20 miles in one fell swoop. There are several stream and small creek crossing but most of them have bridges.
After you leave the falls area on the White Trail
, you follow the creek upstream a ways. When you get to the Red Road
, cross over and continue on the White Trail
which you'll continue to follow for a little over a mile until you get to the Orange Connector
At this point, take a right turn and head back to the Red Road
. The Red Road
is a wide service road/fire break and is not too difficult for tired runners to navigate. By the time you get on the Red Road
, you'll have gone approximately 17 miles.
Around mile 19, you'll come across a Green Trail that you can take back to your parking area. The Green Trail is steep downhill and very difficult after you have already negotiated 19 miles. We opted this year to continue on to the overlook on the Red Trail and have transportation available at that location to return us to our vehicle.
Flora & Fauna
We did come across the occasional deer in the early part of the day.