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Darren Stephens reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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CampingGreat!

Hiked the Eagle Rock Loop with my dog, River. Starting out from Little Missouri Falls at 7am, heading counterclockwise, we hiked the Athens-Big Fork Trail and the Viles Branch Trail, stopping at the wide water crossing at Little Missouri River to camp (5pm). I like to get the 5 major ascents over with on day one, so I can cruise on day two. Started day two at 7am and hiked back the the ‘Falls’ by 1:30pm. This section is a more leisurely hike than day one. Met about 25-30 friendly people on the trail and 8-10 dogs, some not so friendly. We had to leash up a few times due to this, but no worries. I was pleasantly surprised that there was very little trash left behind from previous hikers/campers. Proud of River! It was her first time to “loop” and we did it in a day and a half (16.5hrs). I have been coming here for many years and highly recommend trying the loop. Do it at your pace and be sure to take in all the beautiful sights!

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Jessica Allbritton reviewed Shores Lake Loop
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BackpackingGreat!Rocky

Great little loop for an easy overnighter! Rocky with a few good climbs & good access to water most of the time. We went clockwise starting at Shores Lake (CCW would make the climb up White Rock a bit mlre challenging). Definitely take the spur to White Rock and check out the views & store up there if you're hungry!

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Cory User reviewed Butterfield Hiking Trail
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BackpackingMuddyRocky

We went clockwise. It was about 11 miles to junction then 6.5 out the next day. Very rocky and a lot of steep climbs. Lots of pretty views plenty of water.

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Sara Santillanes reviewed Johnson Branch Trail
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Hiking

I got so lost

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Carl Reed reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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HikingBlowdownMuddyOff trail

Took 2 1/2 days to walk the loop. Walked counter-clockwise starting at the Winding Stairs parking lot to potentially do the biggest water crossings early as rain was predicted. First 12 miles or so going this direction is pretty flat. Many, many places throughout the loop to camp as many previous visitors have carved out campsites...too many in my opinion as some of these were a blight on the environment with people leaving trash and gear behind (sad). No need to carry much water as it is abundantly available! The trail is considered hard and I would agree for those new to hiking for those experienced hikers more like moderate. The Little Missouri River intersects the trail many times requiring numerous water crossings which I thought was a highlight! Bring water shoes unless you plan to hike in wet shoes which is not advisable. In places the trail is poorly marked but had downloaded the AllTrails map which came in very handy at times. Also there are a number of places where trees have fallen across the trail so be prepared to go over, around and even under these obstacles. The peaks which required 300-400ft of climbing on average were challenging but no overwhelming difficult. Overall the trail experience was good but over-use and a lack of trail maintenance have taken a toll on the trail. My opinion there are better loop trails out there.

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Stanley Shortes reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 10, 2021
Hiking

challenging hills and some flats. Well marked and beautiful hike.

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Harley Ludwig reviewed Shores Lake Loop
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Hiking

The trail is a bit longer than what all trails has it listed, definitely go up to the top of white rock mountain for some killer views

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Andy Conrad reviewed Butterfield Hiking Trail
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CampingGreat!Rocky

Great trail. Garmin logged as a 15.3, but we did explore some of the interesting rock formations, and the river in a couple of spots. Beautiful scenery. The Redbuds and other trees were in full bloom, not to mention the thousands of wildflowers that were blooming as well. Camped at Rock Hole and enjoyed the sound of the creek as we went to sleep.

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Jason Bushnell reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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Hiking

Hiked 4/1-4/3 with my brother. Started at ABF - Northern terminus, hiked south to Spirit Rock Vista and camped—nearly all the hills done on Day 1 (8.8 miles, plus all the way up Brush Heap Mtn). Day 2 hiked all the way just past Little Missouri Falls (15.5mi). Finished the last 5.2mi on Day 3. Excellent weather; highs in the 60s lows in the upper 30s/low 40s—the last of early spring weather in the south. The river was nice and low for us. Just 4 mandatory-wet crossings, and all on Day 2. Almost like we planned it that way...

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Tru Gates reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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HikingBugsGreat!Rocky

This trail kicked me and my buddies a**’s! Tried 28, made it 21! Hiked 4/4/21-45/21

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Brian Romero reviewed Johnson Branch Trail
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Hiking

Very nice trail, a lot of wooded areas and great scenery. Could be marked better but we enjoyed it.

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HikeOn!~~~ Vogel reviewed Redding/Spy Rock Loop Trail
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Hiking

Redding Loop/Spy Rock Trails make a very rewarding dayhike or overnight camp! I hiked it in 8 unhurried hours (including lunch & a power nap up on Spy Rock). DESCRIPTION: The trail is well marked with signs & blue blazes that point/tilted in the direction of the trail (see foto). I recommend hiking the loop clockwise (pack water) up the west side to the Spy Rock Trail junction. Hike 1/2 mile to Spy Rock (there are nice campspots up there if you packed water), enjoy the fantastic view, then hike back to the Redding Loop Trail. Continue clockwise down the east side of the loop to several delightful pour-off falls (see foto) (maybe dried up in the hot dry season) PARKING: Very limited in the Redding campground unless you pay $3 for a Day Use Permit. So I suggest parking in the parking area just off the paved highway onto the gravel road #1003N about a mile from Redding Campground. (See foto) Then start your hike by crossing the highway to the north and following the blue blazes on the west side of the Loop trail. PS: I recommend hiking this trail in the spring or fall for cooler temps & lower humidity. Enjoy your adventure! HikeOn!~~~

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Danielle Stratman reviewed Redding/Spy Rock Loop Trail
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Hiking

I parked at the little parking area right as you turn off for the Redding Campground by the sign. This let me skip the initial little spur and just do the Redding loop and out-and-back to Spy Rock. I did the loop backwards from the map, and while it was a pretty walk through the woods, it wasn’t pretty enough to justify 2.5 miles. Then when I got out to Spy Rock, it was a nice view but nothing special. I would have just taken the gravel Mountain road up to it if I knew what to expect. That road is just a little ways from the turn off to Redding campground and the loop trail actually crosses that gravel road a couple times. After being a little let down by Spy Rock and my dog being a little hot, since even though we were in the woods there was almost no shade, I decided to make the way back quicker and just took that gravel road down to where I parked. Maybe the other half of the loop I didn’t do was the better half? But based on what I saw, I wouldn’t do again or recommend to others.

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Lance Boyd reviewed Butterfield Hiking Trail
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BackpackingGreat!

Rocky McRockerson! Just when you think you have walked on a lot of rocks, but wait there’s more! Seriously though it’s is rocky in spots! It’s a fun yet challenging trail in places. Lots of great campsites along the way. We stayed at Junction Camp. There is a beautiful spot all the way at the end. Definitely recommend this trail.

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Kyle Ferguson reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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HikingGreat!

Awesome trail, great times. Hiked 4/1-4/3

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Parker Meinecke reviewed Shores Lake Loop
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BackpackingGreat!

Fantastic camping spots along the stream!

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BRETT HARVELL reviewed Shores Lake Loop
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Hiking

Wife and I planned on a 2 night backpacking trip that turned into a 1 night. We had to start at White Rock Mtn. (I'm glad we did) because the Shore Lake recreation area was closed due to covid. We started our hike on the west side of the loop first which was absolutely beautiful with some technical areas crossing the creeks. There are several great camping spots on that side of the loop. on our second day we started hiking around 9:30 am and made our way to the East side of the loop thinking we would find a nice place to camp but that was to no avail. We saw one spot that was being used so we trekked on which by this time we were close enough to our vehicle we finished our hike at 6:45 pm. It was a very long day so we definitely had a love hate for the east side. Going up the moutain to White Rock was very steep. We were told it's the steepest and longest lincline in the Park. Next time we will start our hike on the east loop and finish on the west loop. This would be a beautiful hike in the fall. The loop mileage of approx. 15.5 does include the OHT portion of the loop based on our Garmin watch.

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Andrew Harris reviewed Butterfield Hiking Trail
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BackpackingGreat!

This is a great hike. We went clockwise but I might suggest going counter clockwise. Come down mile 14 / 15 was hard on the last day. I would rather break off that hill the first day and have a gentle slope down on the last day. Plus going clockwise from mile 1 there is a river crossing at 1.5 miles. There are a lot of water sources but I would guess that later in the year many of them will dry up so plan accordingly. I usedna purification pump alone the way and every time we needed water. We completed the round trip in 3 days / 2 nights. Rock Hole camp site was nice. There are several other sites along that same section of the trial. The Junction has a lot of sites and space. We came across several other hikers on the way but not overwhelming. A great hike and a must do. We will be returning soon to hike more of the the trails at Devil's Den. Enjoy the newsletter break area in the area of mile marker 10.

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Jamie Weir reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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BackpackingGreat!MuddyRocky

Had a wonderful 3 day/2 night trip around this loop (3/13-3/15). Started in the SE parking lot, hiking in around noon on Saturday. Hiked about 10 miles per day with plenty of time for some nice, long breaks to enjoy the scenery along the way. Hiked out around 5:30 PM on Monday. I would estimate there were over 15 water crossings throughout - VERY glad I brought some sandals to switch in/out of to avoid soaking my shoes on the higher crossings. As many reviews state below, there are plenty of water sources along the way and no need to keep more than 2L of water on you at a time, as you can fill up every couple of hours at least. Lots of other hikers/campers on the trail. If you are looking for a more remote/isolated hike, this is probably not for you. Trail is marked with white markers/dots sprayed onto trees, but can be easy to miss in a few places. DOWNLOAD THE MAP BEFORE YOU GET TO THE AREA. You will need it on the trail and I lost service several miles before even arriving to the forest. Only had service briefly on a couple of the peaks (I'm Verizon, my friend has T-Mobile and he didn't have service ever). A couple of the peaks were pretty strenuous, but nothing someone in decent shape couldn't do. I'm a pretty novice hiker and found this loop to be a nice challenge, but never felt out of my league at all. Highly recommend to bring trekking poles for additional support going up/down peaks and through the water crossings. Weather conditions were pretty good - days in the 60's, nights in the 40's. Was overcast most of the time, and often drizzly. We got one evening of a really intense pour down (lasted maybe 3-4 hours of crazy rain/wind). Luckily, we were aware it was coming and able to get our camp setup and bodies/gear in our tent before it really hit hard. Honestly enjoyed every bit of the weather - made the trip all the more exciting. The scenery was beautiful, in my opinion. I loved all the water crossings the most. All the green surrounding the streams and the sound of the running water was magical! I even took a dip in on the last day and it was so refreshing! It was overcast the entire time we were hiking the peaks, so didn't see much in the way of landscape from above -- not sure if this trail offers views like that, or not. Didn't see any wildlife other than a few birds, squirrels and small fish. There were a couple of abandoned tents along the trail - not sure what those were about. Overall, I recommend this loop for anyone who is looking for a mildly challenging, but not so private adventure! As long as you do your research, prepare for the weather, and bring the right gear (and attitude), you'll be fine!

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Jake Lee reviewed Eagle Rock Loop
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Backpacking

Great experience (Mar 28-29, 2021)! Weather was perfect, not a cloud the whole time, and temps from about 40 to the high 60's. It had been about 3-4 days since the last 2-inch rain storm so water levels were good. I'm 45, 140 lbs, with a decent motor and half-way in shape. This was my first solo hike so I had a little anxiety, particularly for the night. But everything worked out great. I started at the NW parking lot at 12:30pm and headed south over the 6 hills/mountains, and finished up at 3:40pm the next day. I did 13 miles the first day, and 15 miles the next. I was moving fast because I only wanted to stay one night. But boy did my legs and feet feel it the second day and after. This time of year, most of the deciduous trees are still pretty bare but on my first solo hike, I wanted to be able to see through the forest a bit (I know, silly). I had a full moon on my only night and that was awesome too. I used trail-runner shoes with the ability to drain water, and walked through all but the first water crossing in them (which saved a lot of time). I do get blisters and not the greatest ankle support, but this is what I'm used to... I probably need to research other options. I probably ran into someone every two hours. The 6 peaks were a big time workout but not as bad as I had expected and were not as high as I thought they'd be from the compressed elevation map. But still, I think I need to spend a couple weeks on the stair-stepper machine before I go next time so my legs feel better on day 2.

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Tyler House reviewed Shores Lake Loop
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BackpackingRocky

The whole loop itself is actually 20 miles long. The east side is a 7 mile trail that connects to the oht for 5 miles then connects to the west side for 6 miles. All trails need to re edit this portion because people actually expect 15 miles but don’t understand that it’s actually 20 miles. There are plenty of trail markers but no mile markers. Great hard trail, great views!

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