Hike 12: Hacklebarney State Park | Riverside and Windy Ridge Trails

One of the goals I set for myself when I started the 52 Hike Challenge was to complete 52 unique hikes. I’ve been able to accomplish that task so far, but have had to change plans a few times based on my schedule or (as with hike 12) the weather. I don’t mind hiking in the rain or snow, I actually enjoy the solitude that it provides, but since I’m only going to do each hike once – I want to make sure I hike each spot on the best day possible.DCIM117GOPRO

Since the rain clouds would block the views of the hike I had planned for this day; it was a great day to hike the Riverside and Windy Ridge trails at Hacklebarney State Park.

Hike 12 stats:
Date: April 2, 2016
Weather: 45°F, raining
Location: Riverside Trail to Windy Ridge Trail – Hacklebarney State Park
Distance:  3.02 miles
Time: 1:33
Total Ascent: 384′
Highest Elevation: 677′
Highlights: Lamington River
Park Map: Hacklebarney State Park Map

DCIM117GOPROHacklebarney State Park is one of the places that I often recomend to friends who are new to hiking; the payoff is amazing for very little effort. The Riverside Trail follows the Lamington River along a paved path, providing wonderfully easy access to waterfalls and boulder fields that would typically require greater effort to reach.

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After the first mile, the Riverside Trail continues along the river, but the pavement ends and turns into a real trail. My nephew did this trail last summer with me; he was three – you can do it too.DCIM117GOPRODCIM117GOPRODCIM117GOPROI took the Riverside Trail (red blazes) to the end, where it meets with the Main Trail (white blazes) which junctions with the Windy Ridge Trail (yellow blazes) a few yards further. I made the left and took the Windy Ridge Trail until it rejoins the Main Trail back to the parking lot.DCIM117GOPRODCIM117GOPRODCIM117GOPROThe Windy Ridge Trail has a decent hill climb, but the whole section of trail is only a half mile long and is relatively easy. I stopped by the ranger station on my way out, but nobody was home – the sign is pretty cool though!DCIM117GOPROSadly, the accesability of this park makes it very popular for folks who don’t care too much about the impact that their presence has on the land. I picked up 4 plastic water bottles and a bunch of candy bar wrappers during my hike; which I recycled when I got home. Please remember to pack out whatever you bring with you; and start using reusable water bottles!

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