Peppered in lichen
In the mood for pine tree forests and a grassy meadow? How about an easy hike that has off trail flair to cut your teeth on. The destination for this hike is a three tiered 30' water fall that is peppered in lichen. It's seasonal but even dry it makes for a fun excursion that is a relatively safe place to practice some route finding skills and there is a very good chance that you might see some Elk. Given the many signs, I would say they frequent this area. I saw one myself, the antlers least.
The TH is a gate in the fence line 40ft. south of the sparse parking area. Once through the gate, scratch your head, turn around once or twice, and then forget about finding any trace of the trail here. Just make your way down hill through the pines, and once in the meadow just keep walking the short distance to a ravine that is maybe thirty feet from the treeline. Take a moment to mark your location so you don't miss it coming back.
The meadow area itself is a nice place to picnic and nice place for a quiet break from those long drives on the 260. About a 1/2 mile or more away is an old creek side rock wall that stands over over its own small falls when it's in season. From my own experience this a great spot to eat lunch.
To get there and to get to the main falls area follow this ravine westward. From the rock wall you can see a marshy area and the best way to get around that is on north, a little bit west of the wall there is a small foot path that appears and disappears almost as quickly. After the trail ends return to the creek and continue following that. Shortly the first of three barbed wire fences blocks the way. The top wire is covered with PVC pipe in sections, I am guessing to make it safer for the Elk to cross but it also makes it easy for us bipeds. The second fence is a tight squeeze next to a tree, the third fence is as easy as stepping over it.
You may notice some jeep trails on your way. Nature has reclaimed some, some are still in use. Some are short cuts, some will take you off on perhaps some other misadventures. Don't loose your bearings on the creek and if you use the jeep trails most of them parallel the creek but one heads due south, avoid that one. Also keep in mind that some of the surrounding area could be private land.
The dark brown rock of the falls stands in contrast to any of the surrounding features and is peppered in lichen. Enjoy the hike and keep your eyes and ears peeled for Elk.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.