Whycus Rim and Creek Loop
This trail is part of the Whycus Canyon Preserve. When I hear the word preserve, I think about canned jams. When I think about canned jams, my mind brings up the image of a Grandma digging around in the basement to find a jar of tasty paste to put on toast. I think that this trail fits right into that line of thinking.
When I pulled up to the trailhead there were about ten other cars. The parking lot can’t hold many more than that. A bunch of people were converging at the same time, people were grabbing their packs and getting ready for the hike. My first thought was this trail should be called the AARP trail. Me and Scrambler were the youngsters of the pile of people and even we are AARP members. That told me that this must be a pretty easy trail, it is. I would recommend this trail to anyone looking for a very nice descent and hike along a creek and then a short climb up and walk along the canyon rim. This would fit the bill for a family with some kids or a lazy early morning or evening stroll for anyone. I am going to start coming to this trail for a good trail run. This is a good trail for all the people. Just so happens we arrived during the senior tour is all. We had the trail to ourselves once we left the trailhead, didn’t see another person the whole time, it was fantastic.
Not far into the hike, you come to a gate. Right after the gate, the trail splits. We decided left was our preferred direction. You will hike along the rim for just a little bit before you start down into the canyon. It is on this portion of the trail that you find good views of The Three Sisters and Black Crater. The trail was fun. Instead of a straight shot along the rim, it twists and turns. It was so much twisting that I thought maybe it would start to bug me, but Scram was running ahead of me and I really enjoy watching him fly around the corners. I pictured how the trail must look for a six pound yorkie. He was not slowing down at all and reacting to what the trail offered. Like always, his joy was floating out of his body and I was right behind, soaking it in. I laugh a lot while running with Scram. The twists and turns were a great way to start the loop.
Another thing I enjoyed about the trail is how you drop down a little and then walk along the hillside for a few minutes before finally making it to the canyon floor. It was a nice touch, being halfway between the top and bottom. It felt like we were the roast beef in the middle of a sandwich, being hugged by tomato, and mayo on one side, and lettuce, and cheese on the other. Oh the life of roast beef. It could be like being a hair metal star in the 80’s, having music video babes to your left and to your right. Either way you are a piece of meat stuck between beautiful stuff. I’m hungry from the hike and have sandwich on my mind right now. I will stick to the roast beast comparison.
You will come to a sign at the 1.2 mile mark. We went left again, it takes you down to the creek.
Once you make the canyon floor, it is very pleasant. It is a nice place. The trail meanders through pine trees and some grassy sections. There was a short bushy section too. You will find great picnic spots all along the trail. The creek was really raging on this day from the melt off happening in the mountains. I bet in the summer it is perfect for wading around in.
After 2.1 miles, another sign. We kept the trend alive by going left. This section was my favorite part of the loop. It opened, and it had a very cool feel to it. I was able to take in the canyon on either side, the creek was alive, and the peacefulness of the little meadow, it felt like that spot explained the whole experience. No time to soak it all in, Scrambler was still running. He thinks a trail is best observed at break neck speed. It’s like speed dating. Before you even know that you’re sitting across from a maniac that wants to store you in little bits in her freezer, you’re up and gone and sipping on a margarita and about to lock lips with a chicken burrito at El Rio, the Mexican food restaurant of your dreams.
Soon the trail will head up and out of the Canyon. The climb isn’t so bad. It’s an old road, and not steep. From here on out it’s very easy making your way back to the trailhead. There is a fork in the trail that will take you through a meadow or you can choose the rim trail. We went left through the meadow. There was a quick detour along the way that is clearly marked that leads to a scenic lookout. At the lookout there is a makeshift bench that just begs for someone to occupy and enjoy. It was starting to rain so we beat feet. Soon we were at the Subaru and on the road. We clocked just over 5 miles and none of them were disappointing.
If you are looking for a nice day hike close to home, Whycus Canyon loop is a great choice.
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Up top before heading down into the canyon
Black Crater in the distance
Good views of the Sisters
Sign at 1.2 miles. Left takes you to the creek
You can't beat a walk in the trees
If these trees could talk, would they be yammering on about what happened on the last episode of Yellowstone?
I really like sections of trail like this.
Sign at 2.1 miles
A nice meadow
Valleys invite me to build a house in them. I bet the Whycus Perserve would really dig that.
You can see the trail that we ran down on the canyon floor in this picture
3.5 Mile signpost. This trail is very well marked, no worry about getting lost.