2.5 hours including lunch at the summit, dawdling at the waterfalls and taking too many photos of flowers. 4.7 mi / 1150 ft. elevation gain.
Fabulously sunny Memorial Day, windy and clear. First day of sun after a whole week of rain. We always go to Evans Notch for holiday weekend hikes, since our usual haunts can get crowded on big weekends. This was a fun and easy-moderate hike with only a bit of steep scrambles.
Starts out on a flat dirt road and goes up gradually. Lovely Rattlesnake flume off to the right, near the beginning. Small wood bridge gives a neat view of the flume from above, and there’s a side trail to walk along the edge of the gorge for a bit. A little further along the main trail is a turn-off for Rattlesnake Pools, a deep and remarkably clear swimming hole fed by another dramatic waterfall (I assume the some of the drama is related to the recent week of rain).
After those turnoffs, the trail got a bit steeper, rocky and mossy and wet as a beautiful stream runs along the left side. We saw lots of dainty, tall violets along the trail in this part. Then the trail dries up and ascends more steeply through thick beech forest, becoming steep and a little scrambly near the top as the woods change from beech to firs. Stone House Trail meets Blueberry Ridge Trail and then Lookout trail which loops around the summit, over rocky open stretches with lovely cairns, ample blueberry cover and scattered evergreens.
We were lucky to be there for the Rhodora shrubs in bloom so the summit was filled with their spindly, big pink blooms. We also saw lots of trillium and a few elegant white lady slippers. The view was splendid, towards the southwest, with a panorama of a thousand blue and green peaks and hills, a big lake front a center.
We had lunch at the top (great sandwich from Stow Corner Store) and continued on around the lookout loop until it brought us back to Blueberry Ridge trail & then back down again via the Stone House trail.
The descent was awfully buggy as the wind had died down. Nice outing and not too demanding, great time of year to be in the woods with everything abloom and unfurling.
We might like to return and visit the same summit via the White Cairn trail, which goes up from the same trailhead but looks to be steeper. Also could connect to other trails via the Blueberry Ridge trail, so it could be part of a longer trip.