Keep following the trail...or the crowds. This was the only other group we saw who let their dogs off leash - and we came across a lot of crowds.
The faster one.
Always a few minutes behind...I'm turning into an old man!
At the next trail sign, you want to make sure to follow Hamms Gulch Trail.
This is where things start to get interesting...
We can't resist windy dirt paths!
The trail starts to wind its way down to a creek.
Before slowly making its way uphill. You'll hit another trail gate. Keep following the signs for Hamms Gulch.
This is where the trail starts to get really good. Oh, and harder.
This is also the most covered part of the trail.
I may be getting slower, but the humans are still the slowest.
Clouds kept coming and going but we don't mind the overcast. It felt like we were in a Jane Austen novel. Very English country side feel.
Steady incline and lots of switchbacks. Hamms Gulch was our favorite part of the hike, especially after a wet winter. It's very green, lush, and the perfect temperature. It's also one of the quieter parts. We still ran into other folks and doggies (all leashed), but it wasn't too frequently.
When the sun peaked through the clouds we got the most amazing light.
As you get higher don't forget to look around and behind you every now and then. The view starts to peek through the trees.
I'm a pretty big guy, but not this big! The switchbacks can get pretty steep.
Technically, you're going to follow Lost Trail to start making your way back, but just follow signs to Windy Hill Summit.
We lost cell reception along this part but it's ok because there are so many clear trail signs.
You'll know when you reach the end of Hamms Gulch. The trees start to thin out, the brush gets drier, the wind stronger and all you start to see is open sky.
This part of the trail also gives you some options for a snack/lunch break. We chose to stop at Bob's Bench, since it's always nice eating with a view. Although, it was quite chilly so we had to eat fast. Well, at least the humans had to eat fast. I always eat fast.
The whole way down is a mix of hard packed dirt and gravel, which can get very slippery, especially when walking with your pup, on leash.
Water break! Well, at least for the pups...
This is also the busiest part of the trail. There was always either a group in front of us, or behind us. Very dog friendly, as well, although all on leash.
Since there's a clear view all the way down, Mom would alternate between on leash and off. Since my recall is pretty good it's easy, but if you're not sure, then you definitely want to keep your pup leashed.
The other reason Mom risks getting a ticket is because it's actually so slippery here, since it's so dry, that it's safer to walk with me off leash, but I'm a pretty big guy. If you have a smaller pup I don't think it would make that much of a difference.