It was Friday so I knew I couldn’t park at the San Lorenzo High School so I began this hike from the main dirt parking lot off of Empire Grade Road about two miles above Felton. I headed up to the Lime Kilns and then was planning on doing the loop up to Big Ben and back down Fall Creek. However, once I got to Lost Camp I realized I needed to get back so turned around to back track.
About 100 yards from Lost Camp I spotted a trail headed down from the left of the trail. I decided I had enough time to go exploring a little. The trail was obviously built by someone. Although it was steep by today’s trail standards it was a good trail with shovel marks that showed someone put a lot of work into it. The trail traversed below the Lost Empire Trail and then turned back in one long switchback, heading down toward Fall Creek. It was a good trail but was covered with fall leaves so had to pay attention. Any false trails were covered up to keep folks on track. Whoever made this trail wanted to make sure people didn’t get lost! The trail went down steeply and ended at a large beam bridge over Fall Creek that met up with the Fall Creek Trail. It didn’t look particularly sturdy to me, and was narrow so I elected to rock hop over the creek — easy to do in August but much harder in winter.
I was now on Fall Creek Trail with the barrel mill site down the trail to the left. This trail is great and probably knocks about a mile off of the regular loop trail. Next time I will pay more attention to distance. I hiked back up Fall Creek to the Lime Kiln Trail and out to the parking lot. About 3 hours and 1,500 of climbing. Maybe 7 miles or more.