Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Trail by Hauser Dam

Hiking in early spring can be problematic because of ice and mud.  Hiking on ice can be dangerous, even with the metal cleats that can be attached to the bottom of boots.  I detest hiking in mud.  Hiking when it is muddy makes hash of a good trail.  When the mud dries, the trail is an uneven mess and is ruined for everybody until the trail is flattened again by hikers.  Depending on conditions, this can be a very long time.
A March hike that I like is just across Hauser Dam.  Drive past Black Sandy Campground on Hauser Lake and continue to the end of the road, parking at one of the wider spots immediately before Hauser Dam.    To get to the trailhead, you walk across the dam itself.  The trail starts on your left just after you cross the dam. 
This hike takes you down the canyon below the dam to a Fishing Access Site near Nelson.  In years past, there were signs warning of rattlesnakes along this trail.  The last time I hiked here the signs were gone, but I always watch for rattlers.
The hike to the Fishing Access site is not long, probably close to a mile or less.  This hike is enjoyable in March because the trail is easy, flat and in a warm canyon next the Missouri River.   This stretch of river is shallow and calm, so we always see ducks, geese, and other water birds.  Bringing binoculars and a bird book is fun if you are so inclined.  I have never been overly aggravated by ticks on this trail since most of it hugs a steep, rocky mountain.  Because much of the trail is built of rocks, I like to wear high topped, sturdy hiking boots, rather than tennis shoes or a low hiking shoe.  The rock-built trail is usually very dry unless you pick the day of a snow storm to hike.
Since the trail is not very long, my hiking partner and I have walked through the Fishing Access site and walked down some of the roads near it.  One of the roads leads to the Big Log Gulch Trail and the Missouri River Canyon Trail.  When we walk along the roads it is usually early spring, so we stick to the middle of the road and don’t bushwack because of the ticks I mentioned in my last post.
So, where do you like to hike when it is icy and muddy?
Camping near Boulder in early April. 


  1. I dislike the the muddy icy hikes, too. I've had to avoid a certain patch of path on my "hike" (really the easiest walk you could ever make) to work this week, due to our friendly snow fall on Monday.

  2. One of the things I like most about hiking in this area with you, is the memories that you shared with us about Grandpa and his growing years and experiences.

  3. I feel like a fair weather hiker :) I honestly can't remember hiking in the mud?