In just a few miles, hikers will encounter old-growth trees, seas of ferns, wetlands, shaggy clumps of moss, and various creatures that inhabit this peaceful reserve.
A number of the bridge crossings can be quite slippery when wet. Be careful!
From the kiosk at the parking area, follow the wide gravel path as it heads into the forest. Very soon, you'll reach a slightly obscured wetland complete with a viewpoint and bench. A few roots enter the tread, but the going remains very easy as hikers climb a gentle slope lined by tall cedars.
Keep left at the sign for Main Loop Trail
before switchbacking down to a low bridge over a marshy area. The trail doubles back and rounds a large, mossy boulder before reaching the intersection with the Geneva Pond Loop Trail
. The pond can be added on as a nice detour that will lengthen this hike by 1.2 miles.
The Main Loop Trail
continues to wind through a patch of ferns before eventually beginning a well-benched climb that explores small valleys and seasonal streams along the edge of the hillside.
The climbing continues to steepen, but the path is well constructed and obstacles are few, allowing for lots of opportunity to appreciate the area's tall trees and myriad of lush ferns. Higher up, the trail climbs steadily above the forest floor, where small shallow ponds fill with rain. If you're traveling quickly, you'll begin to feel the sustained climbs before the trail levels off on a wide hogback ridge.
A gentle bend in the trail brings hikers to a less-prominent hogback that soon transitions into a climb up the next ridge. Keep an eye out for a small grass-filled pool that murmurs with small, serenading frogs.
Ahead, the sign for the Sudden Valley Connector
is planted just before where the trail enters a long, sustained descent along the edge of the hill. While the grade varies, the descent continues for quite a while, becoming rocky lower down. Where it levels off near a marshy area, both the trail and corridor become wider. An easy climb brings hikers back to the Parking Area - Main Loop Connector
. Veer left on the connector to reach the parking area and the end of the hike.