backpacking
26 days ago

So the AllTrails directions sometimes leaves a bit to the imagination, I guess depending on your platform (iPhone, Samsung, etc). The directions I got for this trail took me to a gate & a barn. After asking some neighbors, we figured out what road I most likely needed to take & I arrived at “a trail head.” Not the one shown on the AllTrails site, but close enough. If you decide to make this trail from the spot I did, turn AT the SIGN that says “Brushy Creek Guest Ranch 1 Mile”. I didn’t go down the road to the Guest Ranch road, so don’t know if that is where AllTrails intended the directions to take me. I suspect since cell signal is hit/miss, it made my phone’s GPS off. By the way...there are few spots with good cell signal in this trail! It took me a minute to find the trail once I arrived because you have to cross the creek right away whether you go the south/west route like I did, or the south/east route. Suggest taking water shoes because water is about 2” too deep to wade wearing mid-high hiking boots & the gravel is a little rough on tender feet. Clear cold water, tho. Creek is beautiful! Trail is lightly traveled by hikers, but heavily traveled by equestrians. I saw 2 riders when I started, but NONE on the whole trail until almost back to starting point when I met about a dozen in 3 different groups heading out. Trail is pretty chewed up in spots from hooves (muddy, punched with hoof holes, etc). Take note the NPS’s idea of a “white diamond” is rather vague. Most cases it looks like they just scraped the tree bark into a diamond shape & called it good enough. There are only a few actual sign posts & one says it’s for the white diamond trail, but it actually isn’t. Don’t know what they meant there, but it’s confusing. Recommend following the trail map rather than the signs until you get around to the north swing of the loop. Didn’t try the Red Diamond trail (yet), but it’s shorter. Once you cross the 2nd creek crossing, the trail splits. One side is RED & follows the creek north-ish. I stayed on the WHITE, which took me thru a close/creepy section. If you’re lucky (& have a strong heart), maybe you’ll get to enjoy the sudden & totally unexpected chorus of a flock of hoot owls. Once you reach the primitive camp clearing next to another part of the creek, to continue, stay on the road for about a mile. The trail map says the trail goes into the woods, but it wasn’t clearly marked & there are so many new trails cut by the equestrians that it just wasn’t worth the effort to figure out. The NPS road is cool, tho. Once you get up to the top of the ridge, the trail turning left is clearly marked. At that point is where I started seeing equestrians from the Guest Ranch. You’re only about 1.5 to 2 miles back to start. Terrain is nicely varied & interesting. All in all, I enjoyed it very much & will be back to backpack/camp in the primitive area down by the creek. It’s a good trail to train/do a shakedown for longer backpacking trips.