Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Summer's Day Hike in Holmes Forest

Trail through a fernery
Wide well-maintained trail

Instructional signs

Forest creature

First wild rhododendron bloom of the season

Wildflowers in the forest

Scenic vistas
Holmes Educational State Forest is about 15 minutes from Ash Grove, just on the other side of Dupont State Forest.  The 235 acre forest has rock outcroppings, streams, scenic vistas and is a mixture of hardwoods and softwoods.  Educational programs are its primary mission.  In addition to ranger-led programs, they have an old firefighting helicopter on display, a fire tower, talking trees, and signs on the trails telling about the forest.
I hiked the "Demonstration Trail", a 4-5 mile loop.  The trail starts at the Forestry Center, near the parking lot, which is in the Crab Creek valley.  There is a 400' elevation gain in 0.7 mile on the trail, so while it's not extremely steep, it does take some work to get to the top.  The trail is well-maintained and has steps on some of the steeper parts.  It is a great hike to take by yourself or can be a fun outing for the whole family.