“The crown jewel of HCSNA covering the best territory with terrain varying from extremely rocky to flat, packed dirt.
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This is one of the best trails in the park. The trail starts with a short, steep climb. After 3/4 of a mile, you'll reach an intersection with the West Peak Overlook Trail #5a
. You'll have another chance to visit the overlook again on the return leg of this trail, but if you've planned a different route, it is worth a short detour to the overlook.
Next, the trail descends through a dense section of cedar scrub, crossing the Wilderness Trail
doubletrack three times. Some portions of this trail are particularly narrow through the cedar and there are two or three particularly steep sections to navigate. From there, the trail continues through the cedar, roughly paralleling Bandera Creek Road for a short time. There are two bail options to the road if you've had enough.
Once the trail leaves Bandera Creek Road, it becomes more exposed to the sun but it is pretty easy hiking until you intersect and join the Wilderness Trail
for a short distance around mile four. The next mile until another intersection with the Wilderness Trail
is more difficult. You'll have a short but steep 100-foot climb on loose rocks to the top of a small hill. Then you've got a moderately technical descent down the other side.
After you cross Wilderness Trail
at mile five, you've got an easier section before you start a 170-foot, 10-12% climb on narrow singletrack, portions of which have a little bit of exposure (to falls), and which is of course also lined with friendly cacti and low hanging cedar scrub. At the top of this climb, you'll intersect the West Peak Overlook Trail #5a
again for your second chance to visit the overlook. Continuing on Spring Branch Trail, it's an easy hike down to the end of the trail ending at the main Park Road
Flora & Fauna
Cedar scrub, cactus, yucca.