Trailhead: Logging museum at White Pines just outside Arnold
Length: 4.5 miles one way; 9 miles round trip
Time: 3-4 hours round trip
Getting there: From town of Arnold, take a left on Blagen Road and proceed for one mile to the trailhead at the Logging Museum.
If you do this hike in May, as I just did, you will be greeted with a cacophony of dogwood trees in blossom with their pretty white flowers. The rest of the year, the dogwood trees, usually no more than 20 or 30 feet tall at most, settle in the background of the forest here, overshadowed by the much larger sugar pines, cedars, and ponderosa pines. But once a year, during this brief time in late spring, the dogwood trees take center stage in all their splendor.
As you walk along the gentle rolling hills along the well-maintained trail, you will leave behind the dogwoods. What’s next? I began to notice some oak trees, and then maples. I’d been on this trail before and never noticed them before. The oaks and maples are few and far between, but if you look for them, you will see them, a striking contrast to the taller and more plentiful sugar pines, cedars, and ponderosa pines.
Stay on the main trail until the 3.6-mile mark, where you will see a trail that leads to San Antonio Creek. Walk along the creek for about a quarter mile and then you will see a small unmarked trail that leads up to the lookout. After scampering up a rocky path for about 100 yards, you will see the falls below. The falls are spectacular and well worth the hike, but on this Saturday, it was difficult to stay for too long as there were quite a few hikers there, taking photos and whatnot. It’s a popular destination on this trail and the space to view the falls is not very big.
When my wife and I returned to the main trail, we thought about hiking another mile to the Top of the World, the next attraction on the Arnold Rim Trail, but then thought better of it. It could wait for another day. We returned toward the Logging Museum, content. It’s a lovely hike in late spring, after the melting of the snow, but I think it would be just as pleasant even in the summer. The canopy of trees provide shade for the majority of the hike, while occasionally offering some open sunlight as well.