Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sporty Sunday: Hiking Empire Mine State Historic Park Loop Trails

Working our way along Empire Mine State Historic Park’s trails was more of an explore than a hike. With the exception of a few stretches on the Osborn Hill Loop Trail, there were too many mining artifacts along the route to simply put our heads down and march. Usually, I finish the hikes more quickly than the published “time on trail.” This time, though, we returned to the car in 3.5 hours, rather than the predicted 2 - 3 hours. If we had allowed time to explore the fee area of the park (Empire Mine proper and the visitor center), we would have needed another 90 minutes.

The Hardrock Loop and Osborn Loop Trails are easy walks that cover most of the parks acreage and visit multiple former mine sites. The rusted machinery and enormous concrete foundations are fascinating to explore and quite picturesque for photo ops. This is a great hike for those interested in California’s mining history and not looking for a strenuous workout (although, the loops are perfect for trail running!)

I’ve bookmarked this park for a return with Beefy. We’ll probably limit ourselves to the Hardrock Loop because most of the mines are along that trail. Then, we’ll spend the remainder of the time exploring Empire Mine, the visitor center, and the grounds of the former mine owner. (Oh, and taking pictures.)

Source: Evans, Stephen L. "Empire Mine State Historic Park Loop Trails." Top Trails Sacramento. 4th ed. Birmingham: Wilderness, 2012. Print.

Length: 4.47 miles

Water: Little Wolf Creek was gurgling merrily (including a small falls!) but I do not recommend allowing your pet to drink from it or exposing yourself to the water. Portions of the park are closed due to heavy metals (byproduct of mining) and I didn’t feel that the water was safe.

Use: Moderate to heavy. The trail is popular with runners and dog walkers. Horses are also allowed and there were 4 or 5 horse trailers in the parking lot when we returned.

Differences from published description: I found the trail directions confusing, so, instead, I just always took the trail to the right. Once, this led me on a short spur to the park boundary, but otherwise kept me on the two loops.

Jasper’s rating: 3.5 paws out of 5.

Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!

No comments: