Long Canyon Trail / Sunrise Trail-Autumn Ridge Trail Loop

These trails are right near Lang Ranch where I hiked a few weeks ago.  In fact, due to a missed turn, I wound up repeating nearly all of the territory I covered on that earlier hike.   That meant I didn’t get to go everywhere I wanted, but I have another great hike planned in this area that will let me finish what I started.

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I began up Long Canyon Trail in the beautiful morning light.  In the distance, one of my original destinations, Bard Reservoir.

3     4   There are several great looking rocks in this area, many of which I saw from a short distance on my Lang Ranch hike.

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9   In less than a mile I reached the junction between Long Canyon Trail and Sunrise Trail.  These little anthills were a common sight on this day.

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I headed east with a plan to hike the short Meadow Vista Loop.

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Looking back at the sandstone boulders on Sunrise Trail.

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In the distance, clouds began to rise in cottony columns.  What were they up to?

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I missed the turn back to the area from which I had just hiked.  It was unmarked but I know exactly where it is now, it just didn’t seem to be the right trail at the moment I passed.  So suddenly I found myself heading back down into Lang Ranch.  I decided to keep going and circle back to Long Canyon on the same trails I had hiked previously.  The good news was that this day was much clearer than the last day I hiked here so I could now see what I had missed before.

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The top of the hill on the right in photo 1 is the prominent tree I hiked passed a few weeks ago.  I now had to do that again.  Because I was recovering from an injury last time I didn’t get to climb up to the tree.  On this day I would get my chance.  Photo 2 – I pass the rock wall in Lang Ranch.

24     25     26     Once I climbed high enough I found a faint footpath to the tree.  I figured I might rest beneath it for a spell.  But it turned out to be something of an optical illusion.  The “tree” is really more of a shrub, about four feet tall, which had a little puddle next to it.  There were some fine views from the tree – back toward the rock wall…

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…also to the west…

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…and northwest.

29   Clouds began to take over the sky, which was such a beautiful thing to see and feel.  They blocked out the Sun and refreshingly cool breezes began to blow.  What a relief!

30     31     32   Although I had just repeated about three miles of trail, I was determined to at least finish the top half of my planned hiked – Long Canyon Trail, Meadow Vista Trail, Sunrise Trail and Autumn Ridge Trail.  Shown in photo 1, Sunrise is the trail on top and Autumn Ridge is beneath it.  The two trails run parallel to each other and meet in a mile or so.  I headed back to the bench at the upper Long Canyon trailhead to rest and eat lunch.  It was really nice sitting on a bench for a change instead of on a rock or on the ground.

33     34   After lunch I headed up Sunrise Trail, which soon leveled off.  I passed more cool sandstone.

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There is a nice view of Bard Reservoir from this trail.

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In this photo you can see the two trails, Sunrise and Autumn Ridge, running side by side.  They converge over that hill.

38   I thought this was weird.  I like weird.  Clearly there was once barbed wire strung along the side of the trail.  The wire has been cut but the posts remain.

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Photo 1 – When I saw a rock to the left of the trail I climbed to the top for a nice surprise.  I was now standing on a giant wall of sandstone.  Several natural pools have formed.  They’re so perfect they almost look man-made.

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And to the side, tilted sandstone monoliths of love.

45     46   There is another bench at a high point on Sunrise Trail.  I think it’s better to go Sunrise to Autumn Ridge instead of the other way around because Sunrise has two very steep hills to traverse while Autumn Ridge only has one.  Looking down I saw multiple trails ahead.  The two on the right head over to trails in the direction of Bard Reservoir and were originally on my to do list for the day.  Instead, because of the Meadow Vista Trail mess-up, I took the trail on the left which connects to Autumn Ridge Trail.

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49   Speaking of that steep trail, it began my hike on Autumn Ridge Trail.

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I headed back, with views of the rock wall in Lang Ranch on my right.

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There is a nice view of one of my previous hikes, the tiny but terrific Tarantula Hill, shown in the center of photo 4.

55     56     57   Almost back to the first junction between Sunrise and Autumn Ridge again.

58     59   After another nice rest on the bench where I ate lunch, I headed down Long Canyon Trail to end my day.  I was really grateful for the perfect hiking weather.

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A couple of views from Long Canyon Trail.

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I’ll be back soon to finish up the bottom half of this hike.  I think this one totaled out at about 8 1/2 miles.

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