Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sterling Ridge Trail/Fire Tower/Sterling Lake Trail Loop from Route 17A

May 20, 2012
Distance: 6.9 miles
Time: 4 hours 9 minutes
Map: Sterling Forest Trails Map
Parking: Large dirt parking lot off of Route 17a - hikers sign, past gate
Restrooms: Porta a potty at parking lot, also saw another one near the lake
Post hike dinner: Sue & Hai, Yorktown
Directions: Sterling Ridge Rrail

The first part of this hike was trails. This was a very pleasant, moderate hike.
The fire tower trail was a woods road which theoretically you might see a park ranger truck on.
The trail by the lake allows mountain bikers, and we did see several casual walkers on it.
The final trail was a wide woods road, but no people, no chance of cars.

This trail was very ticky. We both had ticks attached to us by the time we got home. Between us and the dogs, we've pulled off around 100 ticks. We've never been on a trail with this many ticks. We bathed the dogs, and kept finding tick after tick after tick. After 30 minutes in the tub, I gave up. I'm continuing to pull them off of the dogs. This just must be the wrong time of year to hike on this trail.

Large dirt parking lot off of Route 17A. Room for plenty of cars. There was only 1 other car parked there.
Trail starts at the gate.
Very soon after the gate, turn right on the Sterling Ridge trail towards the fire tower.
Water! After yesterday's hike, we were so glad to find a stream today. It was another warm day.
Many sections of the trail were grass edged
Passing by the power lines
A bit of a view
The mountain laurel look like they'll be ready to bloom in June.
First view of the lake. We climbed up some rocks to get this view. But no need - there was a good view coming up.
We stopped a couple of times on the hike to cool off the dogs in the shade.
The lake overlook is a good place to take a break.
Hot dog, taking a rest in the shade
Towards the fire tower
Passing the orange trail
Arriving at the fire tower
I only got up 2 levels...the wooden platforms were making me nervous. Apparently the views on top are great.
Ranger station at the fire tower. Trail register in the mailbox.
Leaving the fire tower, head left on the fire tower trail. This is the trail the ranger driver their truck on to reach the tower.
At this point, I stopped liking the was a wide road, often with rocks just the right size to be really uncomfortable under foot.
At times the road got smoother.
Looking back at a gate we passed. At this point there is a very brief walk on a paved road.
Turn left on paved road.
The trail passes a huge lake - perfect to cool the dogs down.
The trail by the lake is very scenic. However, mountain bikes are allowed. We also saw many casual walkers on the trail. We leashed the dogs.
Head left on the Sterling Valley Trail, leaving the lake. The dogs were very upset.
The final trail was a wide woods road. Sometimes grassy, sometimes rocky.
Native iris growing underneath the power lines, which we pass again.
Returning to parking lot

Year to date miles: 156.6

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