- Bob Falcone
Despite what's been reported, the trail is not finished at all. A lot of work is left to be done, with hundreds of feet of the trail still nothing more than a barely cleared path, and portions delineated by nothing more than flags and waiting for the path to be cleared. And in some places, switchbacks still need to be constructed. The mostly volunteer crews are working hard to make a great sustainable trail, but it just takes some time.
I was recently given permission by park management to hike the still-under-construction trail with a friend to get a preview of what users can expect.
When open to users, note that the trail comes off the North Talon trail at the far west end of the park, almost 3.5 miles from the Limekiln Trailhead. That means just getting to the Dixon trail and back will be more than a 7 mile trek. The hike has more than 3,200-feet of elevation gain, from Limekiln to the end of the Dixon Trail, and the Dixon Trail itself is more than 4 miles from start to finish, adding more than 8 more miles to the round trip. Our hike was more than 16 miles round trip, and we did not include either of the two loop trails still being constructed at the top of the peak. The hike took an excess of 8 hours including stops — and we are both pretty fast hikers.
Since back country camping isn't currently allowed in the park, hikers will have to ascend and descend the trail in one long hike. Take this into consideration when making your plans. Also, bicycles and horses will be allowed on the trail, but only for approximately the first 2 miles, ruling out a bike or horseback ride to the top. See the slideshow for additional information.