Distance (round trip): 3.7 miles
Elevation Gain (round trip): 320 feet
Description: This pleasant day hike includes two of the most popular trails in the park. Springs Trail has lots of open areas with beautiful wildflowers in the spring, waves of golden grass in the fall, and breathtaking views all year. Along the trail, you'll pass several springs that once provided water for homesteaders and their cattle. Forest Trail meanders through sheltered woodlands with dappled sun and occasional openings that give you great views of Middle Ridge and Blue Ridge. At each end of the Forest Trail, you'll find a box with self-guided nature trail pamphlets.
Counterclockwise Route: Starting at the trail head close to the stop sign, follow Corral Trail until you come to the first trail junction. Take the right fork and follow Springs Trail to its eastern end. Cross the two roads (Manzanita Point Road and Poverty Flat Road) and continue on Forest Trail until you reach its western end, at "Grand Junction." At that point, you can head back on the road or take the short spur trail across the road, turn right at the lower trail junction, and follow the Corral Trail back to park headquarters.
Options: You can hike this loop in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. If temperature is a consideration, plan to be on the Springs Trail when the sun's warmth would be welcome and on the Forest Trail when shade would be best.
The Lion Spring trail head is about a quarter mile from the western end of Springs Trail. This short side trip takes you to a cozy, shady backpack campsite. If the site is unoccupied, you may want to stay there a while. You can take the short trail down to the spring and back and maybe have lunch at the picnic table or on the huge rock outcrop nearby. (Watch out for poison oak on top of the rocks.) The walk to Lion Spring and back adds about two-thirds of a mile to your hike.
Bass Pond. Bass pond is along Manzanita Point Road, about a half mile from the eastern ends of Springs and Forest trails. The small pond shrinks considerably during drought years, but it always has a fair population of small bass and bluegill and it's a popular fishing spot for kids. Watch for the pond on the south side of the road. The side trip to Bass Pond and back adds almost a mile to your hike.
Manzanita Point. The road ends at Manzanita Point group campsite 10, about a mile from the eastern ends of Springs and Forest trails. Along the road, you'll pass by the other nine group sites, and you might want to look them over if you're interested in putting a group camp-out together some time. You'll probably find most of the sites vacant, and you're welcome to use the picnic tables to have lunch or just relax. Several of the campsites have great views, especially site 10. The trip to campsite 10 and back adds about two miles to your hike.