HQ Trail to Upper Falls to High Shoals Falls Loop
This trail is a loop of several trails in the park. This loop consists of the HQ Trail, the Upper Falls Trail and the High Shoals Loop Trail on the Park Map. It is a moderate trail that passes by several campsites. The trail is a park maintenance road for the entire trail so it is nice and wide and easy to follow. It follows the river a good bit of the way and offers great views of the river. If you take the trail in a counter clockwise direction, you will get a good view of the Big Bear falls near the beginning of the trail. This is a small waterfall that is definitely worth some pictures. The trail is listed as a 4.1 mile hike. If you are interested in making this a very streneous 6.5 mile trail you can add the Shinny Trail to this, for a much larger loop. Check out my Shinny Trail for that track.
When you enter the park be sure you drive all the way to the end of the road to the largest parking lot. The trailhead to many of the park’s trails is here. Take the Hemlock trail that goes along the river to get to the trailhead. The trailhead to the Headquarters trail is past the river crossing on the right, it is clearly marked with trail signs. Travel up a moderately steep road to the Shinny creek campground. The Headquarters trail crosses the bridge at the campground. Here is where you really start the hardest part of the trail. You will go up a steep incline most of the way with some small areas of lesser incline, although never really level. When you reach the intersection for the Upper Falls trail take a left and start your descent. The down incline is much steeper than on the Headquarters trail, making this a bit easier direction to travel.
Most physically fit children can be successful at this trail. Proper foot ware is highly recommended.
Sights to See
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