Waiting for the right time for an adventure? Try hiking the Webster Preserve, this one mile hike to the cliffs above Valley Falls will surely take your breath away, and open you up to an exciting adventure away from it all.
Take the quick route up the long step-like trail that leads you along the edge of the valleys cliff, through a massive birch, pine and oak forest. Stop for a quick look at the valley on the left that will slowly disappear below you. As you work your way to the top, water will become a necessity; as the only water that will be found comes from an underground stream flowing through the rail-bed of the Hop River Trail System. Nothing can compare to a hike up hill for the sheer exercise and then throw in an adventure.
No trail is better suited to an adventure, as on many a quiet morning's this Examiner has seen coyote, red tail fox, and herds of white-tail deer; as well as black racers, a mink like creature while hiking the dozens of trails in this area. Witness the birds of prey, big owls, red tail hawks, and even turkey buzzards. Don’t be surprised if you hear wild turkeys or pheasants making lots of noise out here, as this is a protected area free of hunting.
As you make your way up the red and blue trail which starts at the short parking area below the sign; you will cross the Hop River trail and turn left or cross over the trail and head up the fire road. Although not as pretty as the ledge trail it is easy going for a big group.
But this Examiner suggest you take a break at the bench overlooking Valley Falls pond and waterfalls below. After a short rest which you will most likely need; take a left at the big rock behind you on the blue trail. Travel a 100 feet or so up the Hop River trail and a blue and yellow trail will appear on your right, marked with dark black earth. It runs up along the cliff line just above the Hop River Trail. It may not be long but you will definitely notice plenty of places to both relax and stop for photos.
Don’t let that first over-look fool you; it gets much better. So keep on moving up and when you reach the summit, you'll find a huge unbroken rock sticking up at an angle. Here this maybe the highest point of this side of the Valley, But certainly not the highest mountain as you look both in front of you and behind you; there are mountains much higher.
Now that you have reached the top; head for the cliff with its sheer drop off. It has plenty of areas to sit and enjoy the birds as they fly in front of you. Stay away from the cliff's edge, if vertigo is a problem for you. As this is the place that people get hurt at. Remember you do not need to be so close to enjoy the valley below.
Years ago in the 70s a heavy ships anchor rope made a great swing and could be found in the valley below. In the 80s some one lit fire to it and the swing is now gone as is the big oak tree that held it. From this cliff you could see people swinging on the swing down the in the valley below.
Accept for that one thing, there is not much that has changed in this Examiners days walking up here. They update the trails below Webster Preserve often, but this one has never changed. The valley will turn shades of green and yellow, different flowers will bloom; bringing out picture perfect color which will fill the tree tops. This Examiner will be here to capture the moments to share with my subscribers this spring.