Before I go forward, I have to pause and say....this is one of my absolute favorite finds! I'm dying to go hike more trails, watch the leaves change in the fall, or the snow fall in the winter, and load up a few deer to bring home to myThe View from the Back of Headquarters, which houses some of the friendliest staff members on Planet State Park.
zoo house. I can't do it justice, but here are a few of my highlights....with one lowlight.
The first full day, my cousin, Holly and I went on one called Rim Trail. It goes around the Rim of the mountain....novel. The trails were really clearly marked, and a great description of the ease of each trail were provided by the park. I didn't read it well, and there were some strenous parts of the trail. It was doable, but....I wouldn't take a small child with me on this particular trail just b/c there were some strange rock steps, but I think it's perfectly fine for anyone that can walk a few flights of stairs without emergency care needing to be called, or has passed the first four years of school, or anyone that doesn't worry about tumbling rocks! Rim Trail had some really great views, and it even passed a small spring. I might try this trail in the afternoon next time b/c the sun was rising, and most of the trail went along the East side of the mountain, but it was still pretty.
Later that day we headed down Gum Springs Trail. It went past a seasonal water fall (obviously, August is not this waterfall's season). It was straight down, and it ended at an old spring that used to be a water source for a resort that, once upon a time, lived on this mountain. It's a trickle now. We then headed up. Down is a little precarious, up is a little strenous. So....I stopped every once in awhile and inspected leaping lizards, frogs, stones, and imaginary creatures...anything to stop in the August heat of 100+, with the humidity of...who knows....near a river. You can also see Gum Springs if you go along Bench Trail (4 miles along the 'old road' around the parks that bikes can even ride along).
Other than the trails....we animal watched. They have bears, bobcats, and coyotes in the area, but we only saw deer. Oh my, did we ever see deer. Lots of deer. We never drove down a road without seeing a smattering of deer in all directions. They traveled in herds of anywhere from 2 to 10, and they towed along their speckled fawn. The park sold feed, and the deer usually let you get within about 5 feet of them. I really....really....reallly want a deer or four.
Another plus is the park pool. They have an awesome slide, there are lifeguards on 'duty,' but I'm not sure what their duty entails, they are present when the pool is open. Again, the pool has a great view of the mountain range, lounge chairs, towels, and did I mention the slide? It was great.
OK....the only teeny tiny thing 'to know before you go.' There is a lot of poison ivy. I saw it, and I brought the memory home with me. Itchy, itchy.. I'm allergic to planet earth, so this doesn't say much, but...it's there. Future Self, bring a bubble to float around in, you don't want anymore of this stuff! And there are lots of buzzing things. Seriously, buzzzzzzing is sort of 'the sound of the mountain.' Butterflies, dragonflies bees, wasp, and flies on steroids, this is their summer home. Maybe it was just August? On a good note....no mosquitoes. And I can get over the buzzing, but....it's something to remember. It still is a great place, minus the souvenir rash.
There are lots of things to see and do, we just scrapped the tip of the iceberg, or would it be mountain? They are known for their hang gliders, that like to take the leap from Sunrise Point. My cousin didn't leap....she forgot her glider. ;o) I hope to see some next time.