We first came across this little trail on the Hiking Project, then found a description of it on the Forest Service’s website (#1001). This description is one of the longest and most effusive we’ve seen recently on a USFS website, so we decided to go see this trail for ourselves. We also hoped that now we’d miss any lingering snow (there was none) but still be in time for a few wildflowers (we were).
We were unable to find a map of this trail before setting out (it doesn’t appear on the USGS or USFS maps for this area or on the USFS website) – but how hard could it be to find and follow a 2.1 mile trail? Ah, hubris, how potent is thy sting? Well, it helps to know that, at one time, there was more than just one linear out-and-back trail here. We learned this when we found an old map on a signboard in the Daley Creek Campground after the hike.
To get the full trail experience, we started where it officially starts – at the Beaver Dam Campground – which is closed at the moment – so we parked in a pull-out nearby along the road. From the campground the #1001 goes counter-intuitively south for a bit, crosses Beaver Dam Creek, and heads north. There used to be a footbridge across the creek but all that remains of it is a pile of old boards next to the trail. We crossed on a conveniently positioned log.
Very soon we came back to Forest Road 37, crossed it and, after some searching, found the continuation of the #1001 on west side of the road. Right after that we found a sign that pointed to the Daley Creek Campground (also closed at the moment) and the “Loop Trail.” Loop? What loop? Had we found that old map sooner, we’d have known that there is (or was) a loop option at the end of the trail, as well as an option here to go around the campground (go left) or through it (go right). We went left here on what turned out to be a sadly faded path that hadn’t seen any maintenance in a long, long time.
After picking our way over, around, and through the forest, and past Deadwood Creek, on this faint track, we came to another footbridge and another sign pointing toward the Loop Trail. As we’d later learn from that old map, we’d just completed the alternate path around the campground. From here north, the trail was mostly clear, easy to follow, and fairly well used.
Now that we were following a easier trail, we could fully appreciate the gurgling little creek we were following, the forest of tall, old trees we were passing through, and the various wildflowers strewn alongside the trail. Now the #1001 was living-up to the glowing description it got on the Forest Services website!
After a nice stretch of good trail, and about a half-mile below the first footbridge, we came to another one – still intact – over a seasonal creek.
The trail started to fade again soon after we crossed this bridge but we were easily able to follow it to another sign for the mysterious Loop Trail. Undaunted (tough but stupid… 🙄 ) we pushed on to where the trail used to cross the creek on another footbridge. That bridge is now a pile of kindling next to the trail and the log that looks like it spans the creek actually comes up a few (wet) feet short.
But we found another log that we could walk all the way across on, did so, and started searching for the Loop Trail on the western side of the creek.
We figured (rightly, based on that old map) that the Loop Trail, after crossing the creek, went south along the west bank of the creek to where it again crossed the creek to reconnect with the main trail. We wandered up and down along the west side but, aside from finding one cut log, were unable to find any trace of a tread. So we continued south until we found another big log to take us back across to the main trail.
We went back up the well worn trail to that first footbridge and then continued south on that trail right back to Daley Creek Campground (home of that old map). From there we made the short walk up Forest Road 37 to where we’d parked the car.
A short hike (2.7 miles round-trip) but one with a lot of interesting trail finding, log crossings, ducking-and-weaving around fallen trees, and swamp-avoiding. A mosquito got mushed when it failed to practice social distancing. The little creek was a delight, as were the wildflowers. We saw just two other hikers – far across the creek – while we were searching for the Loop. If you just want to enjoy the creek (a cool spot in summer) on a nice short hike, start at the Daley Creek Campground and go as far north as that second intact footbridge. 🙂 Or continue on, to wander the woods looking for the Loop. 😉HOME