09 December 2012
Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve - 8 Dec 2012
I visited two local areas today; the first turned out to be a bust, but the second was a total gem. Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve is a new preserve (only a few months old, according to the brochure in the box), built beside a new housing development being put in along Grand Ave in Saratoga. I went for a run here, and loved it.
The trails aren't very long, a total of 1.0 miles, making for a 1.15-1.20 out and back run. I went clockwise around the loops, and got to see some of the prettiest woodland trails I've seen in a while. Add to that the fact that it was drizzling the entire time, and it ended up being a magical day. My first time through I ran the entire way, hitting each possible bit of trail at least once. The trails are arranged as two lollipops (stacked on top of each other) with a dogleg down to the eponymous creek off of the second one. In order, they run as white, red, then blue (then red, then white, then out).
After coming to the loop portion of the white trail, and going left, I was immediately presented with a wide trail, double or triple track, carpeted in pine needles and curving just enough to be interesting. At the end of this is the intersection with the red trail, as well as a feeder trail going off to the right, which leads into and out of the road around the new development's stormwater pit. Following the red trail, you drop down into the floodplain of the creek. The short trail to the creek itself is pretty, especially at the very beginning, where a toppled tree presents a natural entranceway. The creek itself is roughly 10' across and not very deep. I didn't see any signs of life in the creek itself aside from plants, but it's the wrong time of year to see things. The temperature stayed in the 37-38 deg F range while I was out.
I headed back around on the rest of the red loop and then the white loop. This was the steepest portion, climbing out of the floodplain and then up along a minor hill until the trail leveled out again. Along the way I came across a stone wall that looked like it had been partially removed to make way for the trail. I made my way back to the parking lot, and then did the whole thing again, this time taking walking breaks to take photos and explore some.
All in all, it was a fun run. It's a tiny network, unsuitable for anyone looking to run any sort of distance, but I would say it's perfect for someone who is just starting out (like me). The beauty is captivating and motivating at the same time. This is also a perfect place to take kids for a walk in the woods.
I'd also like to say thank you to the people responsible for creating this preserve. Thanks!
Pics are here.