Grimes Glen – August 29, 2020

We walked 1.5 miles in Grimes Glen and briefly went to the West Hills Nature Preserve.

Grimes Glen remains the best little hike. We’d wanted to go the prior weekend, but it would have had to be on Sunday, and we were worried that the parking lot would have been full by the time we’d gone. This is one of the features of this hike – there is a fairly small parking lot at the trailhead (maybe 15-20 cars), and there is no additional parking until a fair bit down the road, so while this is a quite popular little hike, it can’t get too overcrowded. Anyway, we pushed it off until this following weekend and were successful, leaving somewhat early (on a day that dawned rainy), and finding the parking lot with only a few vehicles around.

a kid and a tiny cave

It is an out and back creek walk, about a mile and a half total, that leads to two great waterfalls (if you climb up above the second waterfall, you can apparently continue up the creek to see more, but that requires a rope-assisted climb, and we weren’t doing that). We had done this the prior year, but at that time, Levi really didn’t want to walk in the water, which made it harder, and I hadn’t brought my water shoes, which made it harder. This year, Levi was pretty happy to walk, and I brought my Keens, so we were in a much better place.

The walk goes over a small bridge, goes on trail for a bit, and at that point you basically have to head into the creek. The water is never too deep, although it’s occasionally a little fast, so you do have to be a little cautious of your footing. But as we told Levi, always be careful near water, because it can be tricky! There are other bits where you can stay out of the water if you want, but it’s so much fun to walk in the water! The first waterfall is on the left about a third of a mile up the trail, and it’s gorgeous! It can be climbed up a couple of ledges without too much work, but heading too much further up would be a bit foolhardy.

Levi and Nathan ascendant, first falls

Continuing up the creek, you just don’t have to go all that far before coming to the second falls. Unlike the first falls, which comes in from a secondary water source, the second falls is the main creek itself. It comes down in a main cascade with a small side piece and has a lovely pool at the bottom (which apparently sees some use as a swimming hole on hotter days). There is a tiny cave on the right side, and you can see all the many many layers of slate on the side walls of the canyon. To the left, people have hooked up a rope such that you could in theory climb your way up and continue up the creek, but that’s far less kid safe, so we’ll be saving that for a future year.

Bowl of the second falls

We clambered around a bit at the second falls to get a few good photos and just enjoy the roaring white noise and delight in the spray, and then we turned back. Levi decided somewhere in here that he didn’t want to walk in the water any more (possibly we were talking about it too much, dunno), but by that point, he could stick to the side mostly, so that was fine. We looked at the first falls again for a bit, continued on, and almost back to the start stopped for a minute or two at a delightfully scenic picnic table (slightly off the main trail and on a bit of land that felt almost in the creek). Overall, a quick and easy and successful walk.


On the way back home, we stopped to briefly explore the nearby West Hills Nature Preserve, run by the Nature Conservancy, and appreciated that it was a nice remote, empty tract that we might want to explore a little more another time. The access is a simple turnout off a road, and I don’t think it’s highly visited. There is a nice trail maintained, but other than that, the heavy undergrowth seems pretty entirely impenetrable. It’s a swathe of land that they’re managing as it returns from farmland a century ago to regrowth forest.

From there, we headed home, stopping to get ice cream and pick up beer from Other Half. Total success of a summer Saturday morning.

For posterity – the social distancing signs are becoming a lot less ad hoc

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