This hike started on the Sunset Trail on Sugarloaf Mountain and ended along the promenade on Hot Springs Mountain. My husband Rick and I were going to hike up Sugarloaf Mountain on the Sunset Trail (Section 2) to see the “Balanced Rock” but the trail had too many weather ruts and loose rocks for his newly healed ankle. We decided instead to head down and pick up the Sunset Trail (Section 1 aka Stonebridge Road Section) on the old Fordyce Estate at the Cedar Glades Road trail head.
It was a beautiful hike along the trails as the early morning sun lit our way. There were wonderful wildflowers I had not seen on other trails in Hot Springs National Park, they included Slender Bush-Clover, Rough Buttonweed, Goldenrod and Drummond’s St. John’s-Wort. Rick spotted a young Male Box Turtle moving slowly across the barely groomed trail, he had a lovely colorful face. Flying Grasshoppers sprung up from the trail with each step forward, some had yellow wings others black with white edges. Although the Bird song was varied and loud they were tantalizingly out of sight high the the Forest canopy. As we finished our hike on the Sunset Trail a Sharp Shinned Hawk flew over us and toward Sugarloaf Mountain… to be continued.
I adore hiking on rough trails and always mange to navigate my way to my intended destination, even when the trails are not well marked. However it may not appeal to hikers intending to complete a trail in a specified time frame to keep back tracking. If you are planning to hike section 1 of the Sunset Trail (see Map below) contact me, the trail is unmarked in many key spots. Several trails not mentioned on maps take you off the Sunset and away from the trail head that connects to section 2 of the Sunset Trail. I left an arrow marker made from sticks but that could easily be disturbed by weather and wildlife. The red circle slash markers on the official HSNP map below refer to the access road that cuts across the old Fordyce Estate not the trail forks mentioned in my blog.
Much Love to ALL,
Note to Park Staff (if you are still reading my blog):
Please add trail markers so hikers can stay on course if they are hiking the entire Sunset Trail. It is particularly confusing below the concrete water reservoir at the 3 trail fork (not on the official map below), the one going straight leads away from the trail head, hikers need to stay left. The red circle slash markers on the map below refer to the access road that cuts across the old Fordyce Estate not the trail forks mentioned. One off the forks another leading away from the trail head has a storm ravaged abandoned homeless camp you may want to clean up as it is located in the middle of the trail.
A quarter mile in from Cedar Glades Road trail head on Section one of the Sunset Trail we spotted a pack of feral dogs being lead by a large grey pitbull. Although they ran from us, you might want to get them off the trail before there is an unfortunate incident with a hiker and a leashed dog.