We originally planned to hike the Dry Creek trail and continue on the Big Hollow trail to Observation Peak but had to alter our plans a little.
Neither of us had ever hiked these routes so this was a new adventure. It was a bit over-the-top, too, since it was about 16 miles out-and-back with about 3,400’ EG. It was a very nice day, though, Monday the 20th with comfortable temperatures in the middle to high 50’s.
This trail got a complete log-out in May and except for a very short distance near the north end, is unburnt. The excellent trail condition and easy grade make this a good choice for a family outing.
The Dry Creek trail, # 194, is a mostly flat route that goes four miles along the west side of Dry Creek. It starts a few feet north of the start of the Trapper Creek trail, # 192. It ends at the junction with the Big Hollow trail, # 158. Most of it is built atop an old steam-era logging RR grade, so with one exception where it must climb over a small rocky ridge, is very evenly graded. It has a total rise of about 300′ from start to end so one hardly notices the elevation change. Adding that extra small rise over the ridge and the total EG is only about 450′.
The area was hit with a major windstorm in Sept. of 2020 and many trees were blown down over the route, but all have been sawn out when we hiked it. The northernmost part of the trail has a short area of burned forest from the 2020 Big Hollow fire but by far, most of the route travels through a forest of at least a hundred years old with a few older trees.
This was the worst of the blockages that the clean-up crews had to tackle.
A typical view of the route.
June was a great time to do this trail with all the fresh spring foliage.
You can see the cut where the RR went through a small ridge:
When we got near the junction with the Big Hollow trail we were met with a surprise: No bridge over Bourbon Creek! Well, to be perfectly correct, there was bridge, but not a very well built one:
Kel made a tentative venture out onto it and thought that she could do it but decided she might have trouble on the way back after tiring out from another 8 miles up and back from Observation Peak. She sat down on a log and made a great frowny face. She graciously said: “Go ahead and do Observation, Don, I have a book in the car”. I decided it would be best to go to plan B: Check out the rest of the Dry Creek Trail to the junction with the Big Hollow Trail and see if we could do the rest of the hike from the Big Hollow TH off of road 30.
I could see by the condition of the trail on the other side of the creek that few had crossed the log jam:
I continued past the junction with the Big Hollow trail and found that to access it from the other side one must cross another stream and on a not-so-sturdy bridge. This thwarted “Plan B”.
We decided to call it a day and come back later with some tools to fix this crossing. See report: Big Hollow Trail to Observation Peak. (coming soon)
This hike ended up as 8.7 miles out-and-back with 450′ EG. It would have been about 7.8 but we did a little off-trail exploring. Hike # 64.