Adventures that start at Gravel Pit Road (Rd 400)

Stroller-Friendly for Strong Runners--Easy walk/hike

All adventures described here begin from the gate of road 400 at Gravel Pit Road.

 

Parking and Directions: Drive east on Highway 20, 2.3 miles. Turn right on Gravel Pit Road and park near the yellow gate--do not block the gate.

Stroller-Friendly for Strong Runners--Easy walk/hike (avoid 420 loop)

 

Popularity: Another of our lesser-known jewels, this road is usually fairly empty, despite its pleasing proximity to a gurgling creek; well-maintained terrain of dirt, clay, and gravel; and the surprise trestle bridges you will find at the 3 and 3.5 mile turnarounds. I have encountered an occasional dog walker, mushroom picker, dirt bike or cyclist; but not every time. Rolling hills throughout.

 

Options

 

  • As you begin descending from the gate, there is a gate on the right that leads to a road that runs above the creek and appears to terminate behind people’s property. I have not found a looping trail yet, but it looks like it connects back to the main road at some point. This is a pleasant way to add 1-2 miles onto your adventure. The mileages listed below assume you do not add this road on.

  • At about .5 miles, there is a road to the left (road 420) that gives you a roughly 3-mile-loop. It is very hilly; but fun, quiet, and beautiful. The mileages below assume you did not add this loop on.

  • At approximately 3 miles, there is a gate and bridge to the right. This trail is one mile uphill that connects to road 450 off Simpson Lane as referenced above(at roughly 3.5 miles up 450). 2-Car Option: This could provide a two-car through journey of about 7 miles if you parked at the Simpson Lane pull-out (2 miles up Simpson Lane on the left) and Gravel Pit.

  • At approximately 3.75 miles, there is a gate, bridge, and fork. Continue straight for single-track. This used to be a road but has been dug up apparently. It used to connect back to Highway 20 at the 5-mile marker, but I haven’t checked it out since it was torn up. To the right is a road that becomes very steep for a long period of time, and I haven’t seen where that ends up yet. There is some single-track right next to the creek, but it gets very messy and I found it impassable after a time.

  • Total mileage options range from almost 2 (down to the creek and back) to 12 if you take both side roads (410 and 420).

Gate

Don't be deterred by appearances: Adventure awaits! You begin with a lengthy descent as you enjoy the sounds of trickling water from Hare Creek offshoots. Watch out for poison oak!

410 path

At .23 miles, you will see a path to road 410 on the right hand side. A sunny, sandy road that winds behind properties, this is a nice little add-on, but it does dead end.

A sunny view

You will continue to descend for a mile. At this point, the road begins to flatten and follow a more gradual up-and-down pattern.

Hare Creek

Enjoy the sound of trickling water as you run alongside Hare Creek offshoots. Downed trees stretch across the creek, offering many tropical and mysterious images.

Forest terrarium

Amid the expanse of trees stretching and arching heavenward, I feel like like I'm inside a terrarium! You may mistake a butterfly for a fairy when the light is just right.

The sun breaks through the trees

There is a fair amount of sun exposure on this trail, and since it is a couple miles up Highway 20, you might find sunlight here when the coast is still foggy.

There's only one way back:

Up! Remember that mile descent you started out with? Whew!