Monday, January 25, 2010

Go Take a Hike!

There are five hiking trails at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, ranging in length from less than one mile up to 5.5 miles. The trails are Crow Hill, Harris Creek, Haller’s Haven, Meadow Pond, and Old Trains and Terry Lane.

Last year, Doug Raasch, Refuge volunteer, put together an excellent trail guide series that is available on the Friends website. The following is a brief summary about each of the five trails:

1. Crow Hill Trail is ¾ miles, round trip, and is an interpretive trail, not handicap accessible – uneven terrain with steep grade. There is a 16’ observation tower. From the Visitor Center parking lot, travel west on Wildlife Drive for one mile from the concrete bridge. Turn south and follow the gravel road for ¾ of a mile.

2. Haller’s Haven Trail offers a choice of hikes: ½ mile to Dead Woman’s Pond, a 4 mile loop, or a 5-1/2 mile loop which takes you past Hagerman cemetery and to the Cedar of Lebanon. Wildlife is almost guaranteed around Dead Woman’s Pond. To reach the trail, from the Visitor Center, go north across the low water crossing, the road will turn left, just north of intersection with Hagerman Road; then take the first right turn, you will see a yellow gate that is the beginning of the trail. The longer loops include a mowed grass trail and an old road.

3. Harris Creek Trail is an earthen path, uneven in places. There are two loops: the lower loop is approximately 1¼ miles and is located in a wetland area; the upper loop is 2¼ miles. The entrance is just southwest of the Visitor Center, look for the rail fence marking the parking lot

4. Meadow Pond Trail is a gravel surfaced road; it is 3 miles from the beginning to end, for a 6 mile round trip. To reach the trail, from the Visitor Center, follow Wildlife Drive west to the yellow gate, where the road T’s. Parking is available at the trail head or in day use area to your right. Some consider this the best “all-around” trail.

5. Old Trains and Terry Lane Trail - three-mile round-trip trail is an old railroad bed with a level, gravel surface all the way. The trail entrance is at east end of Wildlife Drive; pull off the road and park by yellow gate.

Detailed guides to these five trails are available in print at the Visitor Center and online on the NEWS page at Trail conditions vary according to rainfall received and mowing schedule. During warm weather you will want to use insect repellant and watch for snakes.

Photo: One of two benches on Haller's Haven Trail, built and installed recently by Eagle Scout candidate Brian Scott.

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