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.
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.
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.
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