Raccoon Creek State Park
TRAIL DISTANCE - 4 miles
TYPE - Day Hike
We have hiked at Raccoon Creek State Park a few times, but we have never done it with snow on the ground, so we decided to try a short loop utilizing some of the lesser known trails. The original plan was to park at the Apaloosa Spur Trail parking lot off of Route 168 but once we arrived we knew that we had to change our plans. We pulled in with our Chevy Equinox AWD and almost got stuck. Luckily Mike is a very experienced driver, especially in the winter, so we did not have to call AAA! The trailhead there is not maintained in the winter; I just wish that they would have this kind of information on their website.
So we decided to drive over to the Park
Office and make a small loop from there. The loop we chose today was the
Forest Trail, Heron Trail, walking over the dam to the Heritage Trail,
and finally the Upland Trail back to the Park Office. This was a nice
short loop to attempt with some fresh snow on the ground, including a
coating of ice on top. It was pretty tiring stomping on through some of
the deeper/crustier sections, so we were both pretty drained after finishing
the hike. The trails were fairly well maintained, with just a couple of
blow downs to deal with. We saw no one at all so we had the trails to
ourselves today, but we also didn't see any critters at all. The Sioux
Shelters were a great place to get out of the elements and to take a lunch
break. It wasn't too long of a break though because after a while we both
started to get chilled so we knew that it was time to get back on the
With full bellies we got back on the Heron Trail and then crossed the Dam. This was a little disconcerting for us because we weren't exactly sure how to approach the Dam or how thick the ice was. The trail location wasn't real obvious, and we certainly didn't want to get our feet wet with still having almost 2 miles left of our hike. We carefully prodded with our trekking poles and finally found a route up to the Dam and crossed safely. Having never hiked this trail before it was a little confusing!
We arrived back at our vehicle
and noticed right away that it had snowed about another inch during our
hike today. We love hiking in the snow!