The trail is paved and smooth, but way too steep to be wheelchair or stroller-friendly. Gravity could make the stroller careen downhill if you don’t keep hold tightly, so they are banned on the path. The trail begins at the Visitor’s Center with some informational panels.
The path continues up with a persistent incline. The yellow and red lines indicate places where rock fall from above is possible, so they ask you not to loiter in those sections. In the unlikely event that you do hear rock fall, crouch near the mountain wall and cover your head.
Within a few minutes on the trail you can already see the parking lot far below. The views of the mountains are beautiful!
At 1/4 of the way up the path there is the first of two tunnels along the path.
As you hike up the path there are informational panels and
There are also signs that indicate when you have reached another layer of rock on the mountain.
Soon you will arrive at the second tunnel. From mid-October through mid-May. The first part of the trail is still available, but wear micro-spikes if it is icy. You don’t want to slip.
This trail is also very beautiful in the fall. Because the winter gate you have a few weeks in mid-September and early October to to the whole path, or partially up the trail after it closes.
The lovely path continues uphill.
The trail is beautiful and a nice, smooth surface, but it is persistently uphill. It is classified as difficult despite it’s being paved because of the incline. All along the trail they have these checkpoint signs so you can make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too much. There are benches along the way so you can rest.
After a while you can look down the canyon to see part of the city below.
We saw a few little creatures along our path.
It was 90° the last time we hiked this trail, so it’s nice to have many shady sections. The morning is the most shady.
Can you see the bathrooms above in the first photo. You’re getting close!
Near the top the trail splits. This is because the cave entrance and exit are nearly 0.3 miles apart. Turn right to head up the hill at the sign to go to the cave entrance.
This photo shows the incline that is on much of the trail. This is from the sign to the restrooms that are nearly to the top of the cave. These are the only restrooms at the top, so if you need to go after your tour, you would have to hike back up to them.
The views and that steep path heading up the hill are impressive!
You made it! Here is where you will show your tickets to the rangers to join a tour.
I am giving more details of the cave in a separate post, but here are a few photos.
There are stairs and quite a bit of walking and maneuvering through the cave. You come out a different side.
Continue along until you rejoin the main path. Meanwhile, enjoy the beauty!
This is an amazing trail and provides a fantastic workout. Many people come here regularly in the early mornings to exercise. It is a great, steep trail!
Stats: Distance – 3.1 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 2-4 hours
Elevation gain – 1505 feet
Difficulty – Difficult
Trail – paved
Bathrooms – Yes (top and bottom)
Seasons to hike – May – October
Permits needed – $6 day pass or National Parks Pass (plus ticket needed to enter cave)
Pets allowed – No