Crimson Trail Loop Hike, 22 March, 2020

This was not a scheduled Cache Hiker event.  This can be considered the "shoulder" season, when there isn't enough snow at higher elevations for snowshoe or cross-country ski events yet lower-elevation trails are muddy and/or icy. 

Eight hikers participated. Dave P organized the trip, joined by Dave W, David W, Michelle, Jane, Kathy, Susan and Brent.  To assure proper "social distancing" during this period of COVID 19 restrictions, we drove in separate cars to meet at the Spring Hollow campground.  The hikers brought trail crampons to attach to their boots in anticipation of icy snow.  Dave P. led the group up Spring Hollow and the Crimson Trail to the top of the trail switchbacks, then another 100 vertical feet off-trail to the nearby ridge.  After considering the conditions on the ground (post-holing in knee-deep snow), everyone decided to go return to the Crimson Trail for a loop hike. 

People had been traveling on the trail all winter so the tread was mostly well-beaten icy snow with some dry areas.  The day was cold and so the muddy parts were still frozen.  We traversed along the top of the China Wall cliffs for 1.5 miles, enjoying views of the Wind Caves as we went, then stopped for a scenic lunch on a rocky area at the top of the cliffs before heading down.  We were especially grateful for our trail crampons and trekking poles on the descent.  An avalanche had run down over the trail there, leaving a steep, icy avalanche zone that transitioned to icy blocks in the runout zone.

We hiked all the way down to the intersection with the Riverside Nature Trail and followed it back to Spring Hollow.  Most of us took our trail crampons off for this portion of the trail, but it was icy enough that we probably should have kept wearing them. 

Trip Summary:
  • Eight participants:  Dave P (leader), Dave W, David W, Michelle, Jane, Kathy, Susan and Brent
  • Drove independently to Spring Hollow
  • Started hiking about 9:00 a.m, lunch was 11:30 - 12:00, and we got back to Spring Hollow at 1:50
  • Skies were cloudy, with a mild breeze.  Temperatures were well below the forecast of 50 ºF. 
  • Our GPS track shows about 4.7 miles with 2000 feet of ascent and descent. 

Thanks to Dave W. for the narrative, photos and GPS track, Dave P and David W for photos. 

Spring Hollow Creek near the start of our hike
Traveling along the Crimson Trail, above the cliffs of the China Wall
Wind Cave
We could see the Wind Caves across Logan Canyon
A steep trail section
There was a surprising amount of elk scat all along the trail
Our scenic lunch spot
Crossing the steep avalanche zone

Crossing debris and icy blocks in the runout zone
Our GPS track shows about 4.7 miles and 2000 feet of ascent and descent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.