Three Little Hikes
Neil Wiley

Sometimes a little hike fits you and your family best. Here is a three-part hike you can do in a few hours. How easy? Well, one of my fellow hikers did it on one leg, literally.

I learned about these trails from the Environmental Committee of the Valley Womenís Club. They sponsored a series of hikes this fall. Mount Hermon resident Johnson Boothby led us on some short but interesting walks.

To reach the first of our hikes, take Highway 17 south to Mount Hermon Road. Follow Mount Hermon Road 3.5 miles through Scotts Valley to Felton, turning left on Graham Hill Road. Just before you reach the railroad tracks, turn right into the old San Lorenzo Lumber parking lot. On the right side of the lot, look for a dirt road. This is your first trail.

In a matter of minutes, you are walking through a nice forest of sycamores and pines. In a half mile or less, you reach the San Lorenzo River and a viewpoint overlooking Felton Dam. You can walk back the way you came, or turn left at the first trail. It will take you to the Covered Bridge Stable, and just beyond the stable, the Covered Bridge itself and a nice park, complete with play equipment and picnic tables. The stable owners are friendly, but please be quiet and donít feed or disturb the horses.

If you are feeling more ambitious after a picnic in the park, return to your car, then drive up Graham Hill Road past Roaring Camp Railroad. Park off the road in a clearing across from an entrance to Mount Hermonís Ponderosa Lodge. Cross Mount Hermon Road and proceed uphill to the entrance. (Be careful crossing the road. Traffic moves fast.) Follow a trail uphill to the right. It becomes steeper and steeper, but the climb is worth it. You are on top of the actual Mount Hermon. At the summit, youíll see a large Christian cross, several benches, and a view of Scotts Valley and beyond to Mount Umunhum and Loma Prieta.

For the third hike, return to your car, and drive back down Graham Hill Road to Conference Drive, the main entrance to Mount Hermon Conference Center. Drive past the visitorís center to the next large parking lot on the right. Cross the road to find Sequoia Trail. (Donít be too proud. You may need to ask for directions.) The trail takes you down into a mysterious, dark canyon filled with giant first growth redwoods. Little bridges, catwalks, and well-worn paths create a fragile trail through magnificent forest and back and forth over the creek. You may get lost in the maze of trails, but if you are lucky, youíll find a pretty little waterfall at the confluence of Bean Creek and Zayante Creek.

The people of Mount Hermon are friendly and welcoming, but remember that this is private property. It is also a place where many people are looking for a spiritual retreat. If you are polite and quiet, you shouldnít have a problem.

Although these hikes are short on solitude, they pack a lot of natural experiences in a short walk. And sometimes, shorter is better.


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