Friday I took one of a few remaining vacation days that must be used by year-end. While the rest of the family was at school or work I decided to spend a couple of hours that morning hiking at Girdled Road Reservation. A light coating of snow fell the night before which created a beautiful hike.
One of the things I like about Girdled Road Reservation is that you can easily get a 5 to 10 mile hike in with minimal retracing of your steps. With Big Creek and its tributaries flowing through the middle of the park a hike will also provide a few good climbs. This hike was just under 5 miles and I only covered half of the park. The main trail is the 4 mile Oak Loop which is easily accessible from the South entrance. The Chickadee Trail runs from the North entrance to the Oak Loop Trail and is my preferred starting point. A trail map can be found on the Lake Metroparks website.
During the winter months the Oak Loop Trail is groomed for cross-country skiing. Hikers should avoid walking on the established ski tracks. The park system also creates a backcountry snow shoes trail with red plastics ribbons tied to trees. Last year it was a bit hard to follow and I blazed my own trail most of the way.
Girdled Road Reservation also has somewhat of a backcountry camp site that can be reserved year round. The site is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, firewood and a grill. The campsite is nestled in some Hemlock trees along the buckeye trail on a high bank overlooking Big Creek. You will need to walk about a half mile to reach the site from your car.
Below are a few photos from the hike on Friday.