DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
767 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

no dogs

hiking
2 months ago

The Tarwater Loop is a great outing, if you don’t mind hikes that end with a long uphill walk. The best way to do it, especially on a hot day, is to start on the right side of the loop - take the Tarwater trail DOWN and come back UP via the shaded Shingle Mill Trail. Along the way you’ll see some interesting remnants of the past – the old garage (not a cabin) was just one of the outbuildings on this former cattle ranch that long ago was a big producer of local cheese. A section of old steam engine remains on the Shingle Mill Trail – evidence of the logging operations that continued up into the 1960s here - and a great place to stop for lunch or snack. There is NO RIVER as claimed in the All Trails description; only Tarwater Creek and you will only encounter it by taking a slight detour off the loop from the Old Haul Road towards the Canyon Trail. I’ve done this hike many times over the years and love it all seasons but the trail can be terrible muddy in winter & sometimes trail sections get closed so check the website before driving out. I've taken older kids on this hike but don't recommend for under 6 years. This is a more primitive piece of the park with no restrooms, water, or picnic facilities.