Winding Up Windy Hill

Over the past 2 years several people told me I’d enjoy Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. I finally made it there! And they were right.

Switchback on Hamm's Gulch Trail by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015
Switchback on Hamm’s Gulch Trail by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015

The first weekend, I ran up Meadow Trail to Skyline, across Anniversary and Lost Trail and down Razorback Ridge (about 11 miles). This weekend I ran up Hamm’s Gulch, across Anniversary to the summit and down Meadow Trail (about 6 miles). The peekaboo views from Hamm’s are gorgeous.

View from Hamm's Gulch Trail by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015
View from Hamm’s Gulch Trail by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015

Shaded single track rules on Hamm’s and Razorback Trails. Meadow is a dirt road exposed to sun and so steep in places that you can’t even run down it. Lost Trail is at times almost lost because of overgrowth.

Moss at the Top by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015
Moss at the Top by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015

In a dry and dusty land there is mud! Near the top of Hamm’s Gulch and in places along the Lost Trail, the path is saturated with water. By the time you get to the top, it’s back to the brown land we’re familiar with.

Anniversary Trail by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015
Anniversary Trail by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015

And thistles, which grow only in abundant sunshine, flourish.

Busy Beetles on Thistle by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015
Busy Beetles on Thistle by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2015

If you go, I recommend bug spray, a hat, sunscreen and shoes that will work for mud or dusty gravel. At the top wind sweeps over the mountains so a foldable lightweight windbreaker is also handy. There’s a small dirt parking lot with space for about 15 cars along Alpine near the back entrance to the park. At the entrance there are paper maps you can take with you.  Enjoy!

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