“Fast” (less slow) Forest Park Nature Center Hike via the Heights Tower…

I wanted a break from running and I wanted to do something other than racewalking. So I chose a “hard effort” hike.
It was 18 F (-8 C) after being 52 F yesterday (11 C); that was to have an effect.

For one, cold weather plus my morning coffee makes my bladder fill up very quickly and the trail head building at the Forest Park Nature Center doesn’t open until the afternoon (hence, no open bathroom). But there are many ways to access the trail system and one way is to walk from Tower Park which does have an open bathroom; it is about half a mile from the Tower Park to the trail head (I walked just a bit extra to make sure)


Walk down Grandview Drive to East Grandview Terrace and turn left; you start a bit downhill but on your left, you’ll see an entrance to a trail.

See some photos of the trails here.

The spur to the trail head/park building is about 1.25 miles long (Pimitoui); plus there is walking across the street and parking lot. Then I did the outer loop (which my pedometer got at 3.5 miles; the official park district measurement is 3.2x). Start on the Valley trail, turn right on Lower Deer Run, continue on Deer Run, turn on Wakerobin, turn right on Bee Tree, follow Possum Path down to the Valley, go a bit, turn right on Wilderness to the end, then cross the parking lot and street again and return on the 1.25 mile stretch (Pimitoui Trial again)

Or, by this map: W, A, D, L, V, Q, S, T, W, plus the parking lot/street crossing.

As far as the trail itself: it is mostly dirt single track, there are a moderate amount of roots and perhaps a rock or two. It can get muddy. In terms of difficulty: I’d say it is just under “moderate” by experienced hiker/trail running standards. There are a few modest hills on this route. If you go hard you will work up a sweat.

The temperature change: yesterday and later last week, people on the slightly muddy/soft trail made footprints (when it was 52 F); those footprints “flash froze” and created ankle turning ruts.

Yes, I overdressed; I wore one sweatshirt too many. 🙂

One thing I noticed: hikers are almost always slender. I know that there are exceptions; I was once one of them when I was morbidly obese (I still hiked). But I mean: they are slender in a way that those who use the public gym and even those who are in the rear of the pack of the local 5K run/walks are not. I don’t know if hiking is slimming, or if hiking is an activity that attracts slender people.

January 20, 2013 - Posted by | hiking, Peoria, Peoria/local, walking | ,

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