Jul 13, 2013 · 9:00 AM
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This is a beautiful hike that starts along a bubbling stream; not as well known or well-hiked as the rest of Henry Cowell. One of my personal favorites.
HIKE DESCRIPTION: We'll begin on Fall Creek Trail along the central canyon of the park. We'll climb the Big Ben Trail to the Big Ben tree for a rest break. Then we'll descend on the Lost Empire Trail. We'll pass the Barrel Mill area and take a short, easy loop past the lime kilns using the Cape Horn and South Fork trails. Moderate hike of about 8.6 miles, steep in some areas, about 4-5 hours. Elevation maybe 1900 feet?
DIRECTIONS: Head south on CA 17 towards Santa Cruz. In Scotts Valley, exit at Mt. Hermon Road. Drive northwest on Mt. Hermon (believe it is a right turn after exiting freeway), about 3.5 miles to Graham Hill Road. Turn right onto Graham Hill and after just 0.1 miles the road ends at a light at Highway 9 in Felton. Continue straight across to Felton Empire Road. Drive about 0.6 mile and turn right into the poorly signed (please look carefully, easy to miss, especially if blocked by a parked car) trailhead parking lot. NO facilities, go in Scott's Valley before you get here.
CARPOOL: 8:15 at the Los Gatos Park and Ride. From Highway 17, exit on Saratoga/Los Gatos Road and go two blocks. The park and ride is just past University Avenue (but before Santa Cruz Ave.) on the right.