This a moderate to difficult hike in exertion. Not technically difficult, but there is lot of up once you reach the base of the hill. This review is mostly written for Scouts and Scouters beginning the track at BSA Camp Raymond. The first part of this trail to Dow Springs is very easy and good for anyone. The second part to KA Hill is very vigorous. Experienced hikers will need at least 1L of water, though if you aren’t used to the heat or elevation a full 2.5L bladder is a good idea. Also bring a small snack. I did this trail in about 2 hours round trip, but I was moving at a pretty good pace. Don’t do the hill if you have any heart conditions or compromised breathing.
To the trail: You leave out of Camp Raymond from the Northwest corner of Camp following the directions for the Dow Springs trail. Follow the cairns for about a mile and you will find the springs. Some of the cairns are a little tumbled down. I did a little trail work as a bonus service project, but there is still work that could be done.
At the springs you cross to the other side of the creek and follow the trail until you reach the Syamore Rim Trail Trailhead. The path is more obvious now, and still marked with stone cairns. Eventually you come to Forrest Road 56 and the trailhead. The trail to KA Hill continues almost straight across the road. It was a little tricky to find, but once you are on it, the trail is very easy to follow. It gradually ascends, until it hits the first cutbacks, and then there is a lot of up, climbing about 500 ft over the course of a mile.
After many cutbacks you get to the top which is marked by a sign. There is a crazy infestation of lady bugs right at the top which was both cool and creepy! From there you can continue down the other side, or like me, turn it around and head back to Camp. If you’re at Camp Raymond, and working on your 50 miler, this will net you 7 :)...Hike on.