Pinnacle Trail at Hamilton Creek
“The worst part of it is the continued false sense of hope,” Nate said as we entered into the second hour of the zig-zagging Pinnacle Trail, a hike that dragged out much, much longer than anticipated. Also uttered during this hike were phrases like “I HATE THIS TRAIL,” “Is it over yet?” “Never again” and upon finally seeing the clearing for the parking lot, “HALLELUJAH!”
- Scenery: 1.5
- Difficulty: 2 (physically) or 15 (psychologically)
- Length: 5 – 7 miles (different sources list different distances)
- Dog Friendliness: 2.5
- Convenience: 5
- Bonus Funtimes: -10
Scenery (2 out of 5): The trail was pretty basic without any notable views. For a good chunk of the trek, the trail meandered back and forth near the highway, which although not visible, the rumbling road noise was a serious drawback… and eventually became a taunting soundtrack, giving us occasional false hope that we were nearing the trail’s end. A scenic gully boosted the trail’s scenery rating from 1.5 to 2.0, but other than that there wasn’t much happening (aside from a decades-old overturned, rusted out car about 1/3 of the way into the trail).
Difficulty (2 out 5… or 15 out of 5): While not physically demanding, this trail mentally drained us. With what must have been 15 million switchbacks and curves, the trail seemed never ending. The guidebook listed it at 5 miles, but at a hike time of 2.5 hours it’s likely that the trail was actually closer to 7 miles.
Length: 5 – 7 miles
Dog Friendliness (2.5 out of 5): Ezra handled this trail pretty well, despite his aversion to bridges being in full effect. There were only two small creeks, which made keeping the pup hydrated a little more of a challenge… especially as we approached the 7th mile, when I pulled out my Camelbak to give him a few good drinks (from my hands… not the spout).
Convenience (5 out of 5): Very easy to get to, but once the trail starts it seems like it will never end.
Bonus Funtimes (-15 out of 5): The aforementioned sense that the trail would never end sucked any and all fun out of this trek. If you’re into mountain biking, this might be a better trail for that, but for an average day hike, we suggest popping across the lake and trying out the Volunteer Day Loop Trail.