It was a solid 8AM downpour and my hooded and hard-hat-ed hiking companions with shadowy faces showed the look of a long winter but I wasn’t about to scuttle the planning behind this trip – after all we’re on a scouting mission!
We drove the recently re-graveled FS 28 – careful on the corners – it’s very soft. The drive was approx. 45 minutes to Bon Jon Pass where the rain stopped than 5 minutes to the Mt Zion Trail Head. We made off down trail scouting trail work for youth crews – the Quilcene Ranger Corps and the SKY crew of Jefferson County. The timing couldn’t have been better, just after heavy rain, trails reveal their drainage issues.
Sleepy Hollow trail was created from old decommissioned logging roads with overall project goals of fish enhancement. It is also the proposed Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail route that will take you to the Buckhorn Wilderness. There are many removed culverts and grading changes particularly crossing Gold Creek. The hike is 2.5 miles down to the 2830 road access. But you would want to continue the next 100 yards to see where the lions’ share of reconditioning occurred on Gold Creek. If inclined, hikers could follow the trail up the far bank and continue onto the intersection with Gold Creek trail 4 miles beyond.
The hike is simple and meandering with occasional trail sections between old dry road sections, trail segments with little springs, than more old roaded sections where nature is returning on the road edge. 20 year alders, fir saplings, hemlocks and occasionally cedar. Plantings were also made with shore pines and these hardy trees are reaching 6-7’.
Those familiar with Rails to Trail conversions will notice that logging roads can become more like trails with enough time and some excellent drainage work by hand crews. This is truly were the adage “time heals all wounds” fits. The second growth forest is filling in and fresh scrubs are attracting wildlife. We saw fresh bear scat. I suspect that in 100 years, this quiet little Cindarella of a trail will be as popular as the Mt Zion hike and a lot easier on the quadriceps. Mountain biking a loop down the trail, out the 2830 and than up the 28 to the Mt Zion Trail head would be the way to enjoy this trail.
Regional Coordinator Olympic Region
Pacific Northwest Trail Association
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