Monday, May 15, 2023

Shady Hollow / Stepladder Loop Extended - 5/15/23

The South Loop Ridge from near Stepladder Trailhead

Heading into Tin Can Alley on Shady Hollow Loop

Canyon in Fletcher Ridge

South Loop Ridge from Trailhead
Recovering once again from injuries, I joined Ralyn and Odie for a slow 6 mile hike around the Shady Hollow  Stepladder Loop (Extended). It was so nice to get up into the fresh mountain air! We parked at the Stepladder Trailhead located across the Kyle Canyon Road traffic circle from the visitor center, Spring Mountain Gateway. There, we saw a few of our friends from the Lone Mountain Hiking Club and said "hi." Their hike was in the opposite direction to ours so we headed off up the trail at the end of the parking lot. Turning right at the loop intersection, we proceeded out the Shady Hollow Trail taking left choices at the first three forks. This sent us to join the Tin Can Alley Trail. You can tell you are on the Tin Can Alley by the rusted cans hanging on tree limbs. There are only a few remaining that we saw. We passed the Shady Hollow junction where the trail climbs up to Cowboy Washington Trail and continued up to the Showgirl junction and the Trough Trail junction. Climbing the hill, we finally sat for a break near the Cowboy Washington junction.

Blue Flax dotting the sides of Shady Hollow Trail

Odie surveys the Area

Stepladder Peak (R) from Cowboy Washington Trail

Descending the Stepladder Trail
 A left turn at the sharp fork will put you on this trail and soon, we found ourselves on the old Deer Creek Road asphalt. (There isn't much left.) The Cowboy Washington Trail continues down toward Stepladder Peak but we turned right onto the Stepladder Trail at the multi junction. This trail is a beautiful trail that affords wide views of the South Loop Ridge that flows off of Charleston Peak. The ridge is still covered with snow but the lower elevations where we were hiking had dry ground and perfect weather. Rounding the loop back to the approach trail where we began, we turned right and hiked down to the parking lot. There, we met up with a large group of Around the Bend Friends hikers who had just finished their 4 mile hike around the Kyle Canyon Escarpment. The fresh air was magnificent! And, it was so good to see everyone again!

Stats: 6.2 miles; 1250' gain; 3 hours

Dubious Duo

Panorama from Stepladder Trail of Kyle Canyon Escarpment

Around the Bend Friends at the Trailhead

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