There was a nice dusting of snow all along the trails – perfect for hiking or fat biking. Although, the variable weather might mean cross-country skiers and snowshoers could be disappointed in the state of the trails. If you’re planning on going skiing here any time soon, I recommend you call ahead for a report on snow conditions.
We decided to head along the Red Oak Trail and then hook-up with the Hilton Falls Trail to go visit the crown jewel of the park. I wanted to see the falls in their semi-frozen state and catch a whiff of campfire in the crisp-air… Because to me, that is one of the best smells ever in the winter.
We’ve only done the Red Oak Trail once before, and it was on an incredibly hot summer day. Seeing it under it’s winter cloak was a nice way to rediscover this part of the park. We also discovered that it was not a busy trail. We had it almost entirely to ourselves, with the exception of a family of bikers and only a couple of hikers.
To say we relished the quiet of the forest would be an understatement. For much of this section of our hike, we only heard the crunch of our steps, the chatter of chickadees and the distant knocking of woodpecker in the forest. We were surprised to come along the top of a creek and falls feeding the reservoir in the distance below us. I have to admit, the peace of the area, combined with rushing sound of water was the highlight of this hike.
Once we were on the Hilton Falls Trail, we were reminded of how popular this park can be on a nice weekend. The campfire was blazing at the falls, and visitors were snapping pics of the swollen, partially frozen river and falls. It was nice to see families roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, and people sharing their treats with newcomers – and strangers – to the fire.
We spent about two hours enjoying Hilton Falls and ended up with rosy cheeks, well stretched muscles and a very-tired little dog – all ingredients for the perfect afternoon outside in the winter.