In October my husband and I took a lot of weekend hiking trips. One of the places we went to hike was Devil's Lake State Park. We loved it so much, we went two weekends in a row to see more! The first weekend we hiked the East Bluff Trail starting on the north shore side to the Balanced Rock Trail (in case you missed that post, you can see it it HERE). When we came back a week later, the weather was more than thirty degrees colder, but the fall foliage was more vivid than ever.
The main reason we came back is because I really wanted to see the famous Devil's Doorway. Now, we didn't want to hike the same trails again, so the second time around we parked on the South end of the lake. We took the Grottos Trail, then climbed up the CCC Trail, and hooked into the part of the East Bluff Trail that we missed the weekend before to get to Devil's Doorway. Then to get back to our car we took the East Bluff Woods Trail back down the bluff, and once again illegally hiked the railroad tracks (ha ha).
Grottos Trail looked exactly like it sounded. It's a 0.5 mile trail that runs along the base of the East Bluff. Walking this trail in the fall felt like I was walking through a magical forest. I kept waiting for the fairies to pop out at any moment, but unfortunately I didn't see any.
Here you can see fallen rock from the bluff behind me.
The Grottos Trail is described as "easy to moderate". I would definitely agree with that. It's a wide, level trail through a cool forest. I'm sure it would be very refreshing on a hot summers day.
But, the easy part of strolling through the magical forest has to come to end, as now we need to get up that bluff to get to the top of the East Bluff Trail. There are two ways up, and both trails are described as "Difficult". One is the "Potholes Trail" (which is the steepest of the two) and the other is the 'CCC Trail". The Potholes Trail would have cut our walk on the Grottos Trail in half and taken us up the bluff faster, but I was enjoying my magical little forest fairy land, so we stayed on the Grottos Trail and took the CCC Trail up.
The CCC Trail is only 0.3 miles but it is a difficult trail so it takes one hour to climb.
It is a steep, stone trail. The stones can be very slippery, especially when the pine needles and leaves fall on top of them. There are no railings or barriers to protect you from slipping, so a walking stick is recommended.
The rock formations and sheer cliff walls are amazing!
But perhaps the most amazing thing of all on the CCC Trail is the jaw dropping views...especially in the fall. Every time you think you couldn't possibly see a more breath-taking view you round a corner and there's another one.
All I could do was praise the Lord! Praise the Lord for the beauty of His magnificent creation. Praise Him for His goodness, praise Him for His faithfulness, praise Him for allowing me to just be here and see such incredible beauty. I felt I was in heaven, as I couldn't imagine heaven being more beautiful than what was before my eyes right now.
The next two pictures give an idea of what this trail was like when we start to reach the summit. You are literally climbing rocks on the side of a bluff, and the majority of the time, you have to keep looking down so you don't fall and slip. But every now and then, you have to stop, and just take a breath and enjoy the view.
Here's a close up of the trail shown above.
And this photo shows how precarious this trail actually is. You definitely don't want to take small children on this trail. A lot of people ask why I hike with ski poles. Although similar to ski poles, these are actually walking sticks. They come with five different tips that you can change out depending on the terrain you are hiking on. I have the rubber grips on the poles on this hike. I use the poles to secure to the slippery rock and help lift me up onto the rock plus balance me. I seriously do not think I could have made this hike without these walking poles. My kids purchased them from Amazon for me.
Devil's Lake State Park is very popular for rock climbing and we saw several rock climbers out when we there.
Do you see the rock climber in the middle left of the picture below. I admire anyone brave enough to do this!
Once we reached the top we were now ready to be on flat land and just enjoy the views!
This portion of the East Bluff Trail is 0.6 miles.
I love this picture because it looks like I'm standing on the edge of the world. It is high, and it is steep, but I assure you I was very safe or I would be standing there as I'm terrified of heights!
Now I said at the beginning of this post the main reason I wanted to come back to Devil's Lake was to see the famous Devil's Doorway. I have seen so many pictures of it in my life, but for one reason or another I was never able to see it in real life. This time I was determined to finally see it in person and it did not disappoint!
To get to Devil's Doorway you have to take a short, but very steep 0.1 mile trail back down the bluff. Again, without my walking sticks, I don't think I would have been able to do it, but I did and it was so worth it!
And here I am celebrating because I FINALLY made it! Yay!
Well, now that we made it to the top and finally saw the famous Devil's Doorway, it was now time to return back down the bluff. Since we took the East Bluff Trail the weekend before, this time we decided to take the East Bluff Woods Trail back down.
This is a 1.3 mile trail entirely in the woods, so it's the perfect trail to hike in the fall. It's described as easy/moderate because there is one steep incline (or decline depending on which way on the trail you're going) on the northern most end.
When we reached the bottom of the bluff, we were once again on the wrong side of the lake from where we parked our car, so we had to hike the railroad tracks back. I have no idea why they just can't put a trail on this side of the lake.
Next week I'll be back with more fall hiking adventures!
Have A Great Day! Amy
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