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Hobble Creek trail offers gentle climb

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Hobble Creek trail, near Springville, is approximately 4,849 feet at the dam and 5,137 feet at Rotary Park.

Hobble Creek trail, near Springville, is approximately 4,849 feet at the dam and 5,137 feet at Rotary Park.

Showcasing wildlife and wildflowers, family hikers and bikers now have a fairly new parkway destination in Hobble Creek Canyon near Springville.

Spring is a magnificent time to visit this trail offering possible views of deer, elk, quail, lizards, squirrels, pheasants, turkeys, hawks and a variety of songbirds and insects. Careful viewers may even see snakes, raccoons, beavers or a weasel. In addition to wildlife, there is a magnificent abundance of wildflowers to see, smell and enjoy.

Route markers provide exercise tips, offer historical information and describe viewing opportunities along the way. Recreationists are encouraged to arrive early morning or evening to see additional wildlife and be more refreshed at journey's end.

This route is fairly easy with gentle climbs and shaded benches and rest stops so visitors can enjoy the beauty of this area. The creek has self-sustaining populations of brown and cutthroat trout with a few rainbow trout still lurking in the waters. It is fun to watch anglers fish these waters during summer and fall months.

Finding the trailhead: Take the Mapleton/Springville exit 263 from I-15 and head 3.3 miles east through Springville on 400 South. As you approach South Canyon Drive, turn slightly right (south). In less than a mile, the road will become Canyon Road and then Hobble Creek Canyon Road after another 1.6 miles. Drive into the canyon until you see the small reservoir to the right. Limited parking is available. Please avoid blocking access to the Garth Killpack Shooting Range and do not park on the dam. If no parking spots are available near the reservoir, please continue farther (more than a mile) until you see a paved road branching to the southeast for the second trailhead parking area. This parking area offers a few picnic sites.

Historical notes: In January 1849 a group entered Utah Valley on an Indian trading expedition and camped along the stream banks near Springville. That night, the bell-horse slipped her hobbles and led the horse band to the mouth of Maple Canyon, where they were recovered. After tracking them down, the stream was named Hobble Creek.

Hobble Creek Golf Course first opened in 1967. It hosted the 1998 Utah State Amateur Tournament and is listed with 4 out of 5 stars in Golf Digest's "Places to Play."

The trail: Beginning at Hobble Creek Reservoir, a wide, paved path heads east into the oak with a gentle climb. The creek is refreshing to hear through the brush as you soon approach a bridge, which crosses Hobble Creek to the south. Before turning to the left, the path crosses a cement slab over a concrete irrigation ditch. Crickets chirp loudly and birds sing in the trees.

As the easy climb continues, you pass open meadows of wildflowers. Depending on the time of year, different blossoms will peak, offering a variety of fragrances and brilliant colors. In the fall, trees display their majestic colors making this a fantastic route throughout the year. Partial shade is welcome to travelers hiking during the heat of the day.

The trail turns north again, crossing a second bridge, and meets with the second trailhead. Birdhouses fill the trees during this next section awaiting a nest from those feathered vocalists in the nearby branches. Hikers now head east again and will see more sun as you approach the hydroelectric plant.

The journey now heads south and then east with another gradual incline. Passing a gate to prevent vehicle traffic, the path parallels the canyon road and soon crosses to the north of the highway as you capture glimpses of the golf course.

Climbing above the golf course, this trail becomes steeper than the other sections, but is still very manageable for youngsters. Less shade is available on this open section. As you climb, you soon pass the Kelly Ranch Historical Marker and soon arrive at Rotary Park.

Rotary Park is approximately one-half mile beyond the golf course and offers a lush green destination with swings and restrooms. Reservations are required to use the picnic areas available here.

Cautions: Be extremely careful as you approach sections of the cold and fast-moving stream this time of year. Maintain a safe distance from the water as well as from wildlife to avoid potential mishaps.

Elevation: Approximately 4,849 feet at the dam and 5,137 feet at Rotary Park.

Trail length: Almost 3 miles each direction.

Vegetation: Oak, sagebrush, milkweed, bladderwort, penstemon, sego lily, fir, cliffrose, river birch, maple, lupine, showy daisy, chokecherry, buttercup, wild carrot, cottonwood, Oregon grape, wild rose

Recommended seasons: Spring, summer, fall

Brian Brinkerhoff hosts Backcountry Utah — Utah's Outdoor Radio Magazine, which airs from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturday mornings on AM 630 KTKK. He is the author of "Best Easy Day Hikes — Salt Lake City" published by Falcon Press. For more information, visit www.backcountry-magazine.com