Monday, December 7, 2020

Wading the Spicewood Springs Trail

 Another sunrise - another hike.

Those signs down there at the curve in the road mark the trailhead, which is about a mile from where The Van is parked since I once again left her in the campsite, for the Spicewood Springs and Spicewood Canyon trails.

Today's goal is the Springs trail.

Last time I was here, earlier this summer, the Springs trail was a bit crowded with people playing - mostly maskless - in the water. I decided then that next time I would hike this trail in the clockwise direction which would put me on the popular springs part of it early, before many of these people had managed to drag themselves out of bed and get organized.

And it worked. I had the trail completely to myself today.

OK. Maybe - in part anyway - that was due to the fact that it was just a touch nippy for your average Texan to be playing in spring water.

But regardless of the season or temperature, if you are going to hike the Spring trail, up there in yellow, you are going to be playing in the water.

In it's mile and a half length the Springs trail is never far from Spicewood Creek.

And though it's not clear on the maps, the trail crosses the creek at least a half dozen times.

And I'm not talking about jump-from-bank-to-bank crossings either because, within the inter-regional ambiguity of creek, crick, river, stream, and so forth, Spicewood is a pretty dang big creek.

Some of the crossings are relatively easy to spot,

others - not so much, with blazes 

that can be as difficult to spot as the camouflaged trails they mark.

It doesn't help that for some reason this trail is sometimes blazed with yellow rectangles, (Over there on the other side by the arrow and fairly easy to spot) and other times with blue diamonds. (really difficult to spot, especially at a distance in dim light.)

And when it's not actually crossing the creek, because of the limited real-estate available down here in the bottom of the canyon,

the trail can get a little rugged in places.

 But losing the trail once in a while, and even wading wide swaths of 40 degree water on a 40 degree morning,

is more than repaid with

with one incredible vista

after another.

But eventually, after one last crossing,

the trail settles down as it climbs up and away from the creek at the head of the canyon to intersect the Spicewood Canyon Trail up on the rim.

At that point I had the option of hanging a right and following the Canyon Trail right back down to where I started, or turning left and taking that segment of the Canyon Trail up to the road where I could pick up the Lemons Ridge and take it back down to the River Trail to close the loop.

I chose the latter.

There's nothing spectacular or outstanding about that segment of the hike, but sometimes a nice, quiet, contemplative hike is reward enough. 


  1. Good report. Wife doesn't like wading through water, so I'll be sure to put water shoes and extra socks in pack if I hike this trail.

    1. I used to carry water-shoes in my pack, stripping off my boots and socks, crossing, drying my feet, and getting re-socked and booted - now I just plow on through. If the water comes over top of my boots it doesn't seem to take all that long to dry.

      The biggest issue is the slick-as-snot bottom in some places, most notably, right there at the first crossing down by the mouth of the creek where a fall will tumble you over the rocks and down into the pool below.