Both of those left offshoot trails meet up and lead down to the Dry Creek River. There are three options to cross the river. The first two are a bunch of logs and rocks thrown together that can be crossed, but the third is an actual bridge with four straight logs tied securely together. Once you get across the river, head to your right, up the bank. It is a nice path, surrounded by pines. The river to your right is very picturesque.
The trail continues up the mountain. It sometimes waves a little higher up to the left and then returns back towards the river bank. There are a few parts that are somewhat overgrown and every time I have hiked this trail I have run into spider webs, but the trail is still pretty clear. You will pass some uprooted trees and a little log shelter. Also, near the beginning of the trail there are several fire rings. There are also multiple opportunities to look behind you and see city views.
Sometimes you get higher up from the river and can see it farther below on your right, but you aren’t too close to the edge. You can sometimes have a view of the mountains across the river. Because this is a lower elevation, there were far more wildflowers when I last hiked this mid-June, but there were still some hiking it now in late July.
When you get nearly to the very top, you can look across and a beautiful waterfall. This is not Horsetail Falls, but another falls that cannot be seen from the main trail.
Walk up the trail a couple minutes and you will see a few ribbons tied to show the trail. When you get just beyond this tree, you have two separate viewpoints. There is a trail between them, but it’s super sketchy. Instead, go to the one mostly straight, but slightly to the left and go to that higher viewpoint. After, retrace your steps back to the backside of this tree and head down that trail to get to the lower viewpoint. The trail to the lower viewpoint is a bit challenging, so don’t attempt it unless you have good shoes and feel safe.
If you hike the traditional trail up to Horsetail Falls, then you come out at an even higher viewpoint and from the other side of the falls. They are both great hikes, but I prefer the quieter, and more scenic north route. There is also another alternate route.
This hike is beautiful in all seasons. The fall leaves are spectacular and everything looks pretty with a dusting of snow! If you go when it’s snowy or icy, bring micro-spikes.
Stats: Distance – 4.25 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 2 to 4 hours
Elevation gain – 1,572 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks.
Bathrooms – None
Seasons to hike – April – November
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes
Other nearby trails are Horsetail Falls, Alpine Poppies, Three Falls Trail, Grove Creek Canyon, Ghost Falls, and Sensei Trail.