Saturday, May 19, 2012

Enloe Creek Trail

Today was the day to hike Enloe Creek Trail.  I had not been looking forward to this trail for a couple of reasons.  The first reason was Hyatt Ridge Trail.  This was the trail we did last week that I declared the worst in the park.  The second reason was crossing Enloe Creek.  I had heard that the footbridge was out and it would be a wet crossing.

We saw some very fine trail building on the first section of Enloe Creek Trail
Total distance for today was going to be 11 miles with almost 4,000 feet of climb so we got an early start leaving the house a little after 7 AM.  The trailhead for Enloe Creek is at the junction with Hyatt Ridge Trail.  We got parked that the Hyatt Ridge trailhead and started uphill.  It is just a little less then 2 miles to the junction--all uphill, all on heavily used horse trail, but I’ll have to say it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.

We stopped to take a short break at the top of the ridge at the Enloe Creek Trail junction.  The trail drops off the ridge and down to Raven Fork.  The trail is similar to Hyatt Ridge Trail in that it is wide, relatively steep, and heavily used by horses.  As we descended, the roar of Raven Fork was almost deafening.  Raven Fork is mighty water--fast moving and pretty deep for a creek.  A steel foot bridge spans Raven Fork high above water level.

Just on the other side of the bridge is backcountry campsite 47.  This is a very small camp with room for only 2 or 3 tents.  A retired couple from Michigan were just finishing up breakfast when we arrived.  We chatted with them for a few minutes then began our climb to the junction with Hughes Ridges where Enloe Creek Trail terminates.

A waterfall on Enloe Creek far below the trail.
The trail beyond the campsite is a narrow footpath and gets much less use.  Today, it was overgrown in many places.  Not overgrown in the sense that it hasn’t been maintained, but overgrown with new spring vegetation.  We soon left Raven Fork and, as we wound around the mountain, picked up Enloe Creek.  Enloe Creek is pretty mighty itself and we could see several waterfalls and cascades, but were too far above the creek to get a good picture.

Looking for a rock hop
I had almost forgotten about the footbridge being out over Enloe Creek until we were at the crossing.  Holy cow!  Gene thought he could see a way to rock hop and tried crossing, but when he slipped and got his foot caught between a couple of boulders, he signaled for me to wade.  There was no way to keep dry feet; the water was up to my calves.  Once across the creek, the trail was so rugged there was no place to stop.  We just sloshed around with water in our boots the last mile and a half to the top.

The trail junction sign at Hughes Ridge was a welcome sight.  I spread out my poncho and got out of those boots.  During our long lunch break they actually started to dry some.

Since we were doing this hike as an out and back, we got to cross Enloe Creek on our return trip.  The second crossing didn’t take nearly as long.  We knew there was no way to stay dry so we just plowed right on in.  The opposite bank offered several rocks to sit on so we could empty our boots and wring out our socks.  I was actually looking forward to putting on dry socks.  I knew they wouldn’t stay dry because they would just soak up the water from the wet boot, but the idea sounded so nice.  However, when I dug in my pack for the dry socks, they weren’t there.  What a disappointment.

For those of you who don’t hike, you may be wondering why we didn’t take our boots off to cross.  Because the creek bottoms are covered in slippery rocks, it is much safer to cross with shoes on.  This morning when I was packing my pack, I forgot we had a wet crossing otherwise I would have taken my crocs to change into.  It was better to get my boots wet than to risk falling and breaking some body part.

We were not as thrilled with that 2-mile section of Hyatt Ridge trail in the afternoon as we had been in the morning.  It’s funny how we see things differently depending on how tired we are.  This afternoon, that section of trail was steep, rocky, and churned up by horses.  However, I still think I might need to amend my previous opinion of this trail.  It’s not the worst in the park, in fact, it’s pretty good.

We did see some wildlife today.  There were no bears or even evidence of bears on any of the trail we were on today.  We haven’t seen a bear the nearly 2 months we’ve been here.  It’s about time, don’t ya think?  We did see one small snake.  Gene stepped right over it without ever seeing it.  I was halfway over when I saw it.  Boy, did I do a little hop around.  We saw a wild hog today--right on the trail.  We see evidence all the time of hogs, but in all the years I’ve hiked here, today was the first time to actually see one.

That’s all for today. Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Like your waterfall shot. Looks like you had good weather, and it is always nice to be out hiking.

  2. Sounds like you had a great day with lots of adventure! A snake and a wild hog in one trip eases the lack of bears, right? Can't wait to read about your upcoming trail hikes farther north when you head out later on!