- Woodland Trail
- Distance: 10.2 miles
- Type: Moderate, out-and-back
- Elevation Gain: 2,263 ft
- Other: Dogs Allowed
- All Trails Link
I enjoyed such nice views at Old Baldy yesterday that I returned to the area to hike Woodland Trail to Skycraper Reservoir. To my surprise, this hike was significantly different from Old Baldy despite beginning just 3 miles south at Hessie Trailhead.
The previous day while driving to Old Baldy, I took note of the Hessie Trailhead parking situation. Just before 8am on a Thursday, there were a few spots left, so this Friday, I made sure to arrive just before 7:30am. Many cars lined the road, but I did find a designated spot which is important as illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed!
As mentioned, the Woodland Trail begins at the Hessie Trailhead along with several others. For the first two miles, it follows a VERY rocky, dirt road through the forest. While it seemed pretty shaded on the way up, it was not on the way down, thus arriving early for parking and hiking is recommended.
The road leads hikers by many glassy beaver ponds, a waterfall, and along a creek for 1.75 miles. Along the way are a few trail junctions to Lost Lake and King Lake. Be sure to keep a watchful eye for signs or utilize the All Trails app. As much as I mention the All Trails app, you’d think I’m an ambassador, but they don’t have them.
Anyway, at mile 1.75 the trail crosses the creek, turns through a meadow, and eventually changes into a single-track through the forest. This single track is very rocky as well. A definite ankle twister.
Most of the hike is a gradual ascent and with the gain in altitude comes wonderful wildflowers. They were prolific by the time I reached Woodland Lake. Woodland Lake is just a quarter mile below Skyscraper Reservoir.
I was so hungry by the time I reached the lake that I stopped for half my lunch and played around with a little photography. With clear skies, I wasn’t in a rush, but if the weather were threatening, I’d recommend going to Skyscraper Reservoir first.
Despite the man-made rock dam which hardly holds back the water that spews through the cracks, the reservoir is prettier. At a distance, a two-tier waterfall feeds the reservoir which is tucked beneath the granite peaks. It has a much more dramatic feel than Woodland Lake, though any time at a lake is a good time!
After I ate the second half of my lunch here, I turned around. Amazingly, despite the over crowded parking, I had both lakes to myself and only met two other girls along the way. Upon my return, however, I crossed paths with several fishermen that planned on camping for the weekend. There must be some nice trout, but I didn’t spot any like I did in Kroenke Lake.
The hike down was uneventful. With the exception of one marmot spotting, the wildlife skunked me. Regardless, Woodland Trail offers nice scenery! Just watch for rocks and don’t forget your water and sunscreen. ETB
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