Your votes are in and the winner is MT. BALDY! (If you're wondering which vote you missed out on, head over to Instagram and follow us at @gomomgohike for even more hiking fun.) Growing up here, I have heard of this trail, and just never figured out where it was. When I finally went looking for the trailhead, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. What took me so long?! Also – I love exploring new places in my hometown and seeing how everything is connected. I had to go home and GoogleMaps a satellite view to figure out how it all wound together.
How to Get There:
Drive south on Hilyard. Turn left onto E. Amazon as if you were driving to Mazzi’s/Hideaway Bakery. Turn left onto Dillard Road. Drive up Dillard Rd for about 2.5 miles – turn left onto Hidden Meadow Rd. Turn left again immediately into the small parking lot.
This is a very versatile trail that you can make what you need it to be. I was given insider tips from a friend who lives within walking distance and runs this trail frequently. I will walk you through what we did and then explain what else you can do. From what I can tell, there are three options.
Option #1: Mt. Baldy
This is the shortest loop that is offered. It’s right about a mile round trip. The beginning of this trail is groomed gravel/packed dirt with beautiful views of the city and large, sprawling estates. This part of the trail is the steepest. It is a pretty steady climb. Thinking about carrying a little, it would definitely make you breathe a little harder, but it’s short and the perfect distance to see what you are capable of with littles.
There is a bench near the top that you can sit and look out over the city in a new way.
Just beyond this bench, you will see a fork in the trail. At this point, we went left. (I cannot speak to what happens if you go right – if any of you explore this direction, let me know in the comments below!) By going left, the trail turns to bark and you can loop back around and head back to the car. Turning around here, you will have hiked just about a mile and been rewarded with beautiful views.
Option #2: Spring Creek Blvd.
If you continue down the barked trail, it begins to wind around a bit downhill, becoming more woodsy and covered, until you reach the end of Spring Blvd. (This is the part that BLEW. MY. MIND. How the heck did we get here? Clearly I know nothing about this town.) At this point, you will see another trailhead and the path leads back into the wooded area.
Technically, you could just turn around and head right back up the way you came, but I love exploring and loops. So off we went. This trail quickly becomes narrowed and ungroomed and at this time of year, muddy. We did our best to walk on each edge of the trail to avoid as much as we could.
We followed this until it reaches a clearing and followed an even less marked trail to the left. It did look as if the trail we were on continued ahead (another area we did not explore). This wound through the meadow and then connected back with the bark trail. At this point, we were walking parallel to and just up above Dillard Rd. This quickly joined back with the gravel trail and dropped us back at the car.
Option 3: Dillard Rd.
From what I can tell, if you continued straight on the meadow trail, you will connect with Dillard Rd. My assumption at this point is that you would walk along Dillard Rd. back to your car.
Here’s what we loved:
Close to home. Easy to get to/find. Versatile. Accessible to all levels. Views. Kids loved that the "hard part" was right near the beginning and the rest was easy going, downhill/flat.
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Well marked parking lot
Passes Needed: NONE
Distance: .92 - 2.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 300 ft
Trail: Gravel and bark paths
Cell Service: Yes
Potential Dangers: None
Safe to Hike Alone: YES
Animals: Dogs must be on a leash
Carrier: Ergo or light carrier
Shoes: Running Shoes
Kid Shoes: Running Shoes
Backpack: Small/Something for water
In the pack: Bare necessities
While I stated that there weren’t any potential dangers and that it is safe to do alone, PLEASE do what feels safe and comfortable for you. As I said, my friend runs this trail often and has never had any issues. There are, however, signs at the beginning of each end of the trail to warn of cougars and bears. As is true of any uninhabited area, there are things you should watch out for and be aware of. Also – when we were in the meadow area, we began to hear an odd sound which later turned out to be a man, partially hidden in the brush, using a metal detector. This gave us pause and definitely startled us. While there were 5 of us and we were fine, this was a good reminder that you should always be cautious and aware of your surroundings whenever venturing out – alone or otherwise.
Jenna Eads is a full-time Special Education teacher, wife to a photographer, and mom to two kids ages 10 and 6. Their life is anything but slow or boring. She loves going on adventures with her kids and listening to them as they see and experience new things and new places. See all of her hike posts here.