Hurd SP - Orange Trail
|Hiking||3.20 Miles|| 4 Hrs ||0.80 mph|
|604 ft AEG|
|I walked the Blue, Yellow and Orange Trails of Hurd State Park, to create guides for each of them. I finished the Red and Green Trails a while ago, and those trails were used to access these.|
It was a gorgeous day in mid-August. Temperature at the start was 68°. I was also testing out my new Kota UL pack, trying to figure out the best way to pack it, so I was carrying more weight (17 lb) than usual. A good place to park is the picnic pavilion, but unfortunately, someone has barred the door of the outhouse I mentioned earlier. There is another in the group camp area nearby.
I headed out on the green trail, just far enough to get to the blue trail. I rousted a couple of deer. The blue trail runs along the rim of the ravine and stays near the crest of the ridge as it descends. Pay attention to the blue blazes, as there are numerous side trails. After a sharp switchback, there is a clearing, and the trail begins to climb again. Beware here it is easy to lose the blue trail and an unmarked sharp turn to the right. The Blue Trail ends at an intersection with the Red Trail, where I turned right and headed to the Yellow Trail.
The Yellow Trail leaves the Red Trail near where they both meet the road. There is parking there. The trail is wide as it climbs the hill. It looks like it was an old jeep trail that went up to Split Rock. This area is mostly second growth, but there the remains of a few majestic old trees. The trail intersects with the Orange Trail almost at Split Rock. To stay on the Yellow Trail, turn around and backtrack a few yards and hunt for a trail descending to the left. It is hard to spot but becomes clear as soon as you are on it. At the bottom of the Yellow Trail, I turned left on the Red Trail, to head down to the Orange Trail.
The Orange Trail descends more than I expected through a beautiful open forest of deciduous trees. I thought it would climb directly from the Red Trail, but it descends, then climbs smartly up to Split Rock, which is a great place for lunch. It is unfortunate that there is so much graffiti there, though. At the top, the Orange Trail meets the Yellow Trail (I was here before), and then continues near the ledge with more views off a side trail. Continuing away from the views of the river, the Orange Trail follows along another ridge for a short distance. The trail seems to vanish at the end of the bare rock, but it is there. Just look around and you will see it. After leaving the ridge, the trail descends smartly down to the main road at an intersection with the closed gravel road going over to George Dudley Seymour State Park.
There is no parking at the end of the Orange Trail, but there is an unblazed connector that will take you back to the parking area at the picnic pavilion.