Last weekend, I took my 7 year old out for a hike on the White Rock Rim Loop. I have been eying this hike for some time. I knew the tree colors would be peaking soon and was eager to go. The one part that concerned me a bit was the many "cautions" I had read about the bluffs and children. Then I had a nightmare that we took our puppy and she went over one of the bluffs too. In the end, it all worked out. Hubby ended up twisting his ankle the night before, so he stayed home with the other kids and the pup while I took Little Miss with me...she is my hiking buddy.
I will not lie. The drive there was a challenge. The first part of the drive was breathtaking due to the fall trees. And it was paved. The second part of the drive consisted of narrow dirt roads climbing a mountain. There were a few parts I was nervous on, either due to the lack of a shoulder or to the nature of the people who lived along the route (from what I could tell). But I was determined, so we pressed on.
Thankfully there was wonderful signage on the way up the mountain. Between that and Google Maps, I had NO trouble finding White Rock. Finding the hiking trail was a bit more challenging but thankfully it is not that big of an area. We finally found the parking spots for the trail. There were some bathrooms (nothing fancy) at the site. Then we headed out for the 2 mile hike.
This is the first sign that greeted us.
Not only is there a warning about the cliffs but also one about black bears. I would love to see a bear at some point but I don't know that I want to be on a cliff when I do. :)
We hiked down a trail (very wide) that had numerous picnic tables along the way. I was beginning to wonder where we were headed when this view greeted us.
I was a bit confused about which way to go. The trail was not clearly marked (though there was a definite trail once we found it). Thankfully we saw some people who gave us a brief description of where to go.
The trail really does consist of walking around the rim of White Rock Mountain. And the view was just breathtaking. There were several high cliffs. I would be very cautious about taking young children. I think we could have taken the youngest but we would have held his hand the entire time. My 7 year old is very cautious and would only step out partway on the cliffs. I was a little braver which is a bit ironic considering my fear of heights. I would have been a wreck if the puppy had been with us even on her leash.
There were several areas that made me think there could be a creek or some running water but it was very dry when we were there.
Along the trail there were pavilions every so often with benches and rails. It was nice to stop and truly take in the view.
The colors were beautiful.
We also enjoyed the rock formations along the way.
At one point, we had to cross the road (one of the few "non scenic" parts of the trail) but thankfully it was marked with signs. What was interesting to me was that this trail marker was kind of in the middle of nowhere. Not sure why.
At the end of the hike (or could be the beginning depending on the way you hiked it) there was a pavilion with an incredible view. One neat thing was the direction/mileage markers along the "rock railing" of the overlook. It was neat to see how far we were from other places in the state. The funny thing is that this shows us as being about half an hour from home (if we could have gone straight there) but with the roads and curves, it was an hour and a half drive.
I imagine this trail would be incredible at sunrise or sunset.
I would characterize this trail as easy except for the hill out (though it wasn't as steep as others I have been on). It was fairly even all the way around. The part of the trail that was more difficult was that the plants were overgrown. We often had to push our way through plants that crowded the narrow paths. It is probably one of the more dangerous paths I have hiked with a child though I didn't feel like my daughter was in danger. I just encouraged her to stay to the side and away from the edge. As far as scenery goes, it was an amazing view almost all of the time. Well worth the drive (though I did have to have a carwash afterwards). We (daughter and I) give it two thumbs up.