Hike Pratt Balcony

Details

Distance

2.2 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Joe Kiesel

Short secluded hike with great views of the Middle Fork valley.

This one can be a bit tricky to find. The trailhead is unmarked and is a bit hidden around a curve of Middle Fork Road so it is easy to miss. At about 9.80 miles from the junction of 468th St. and Middle Fork Road, look for two signs on the right warning of upcoming gravel patches (probably will be temporary as they these are the remnants from the road washout in early 2020.) The trailhead and a gravel pull-out that accommodates several vehicles is across the road between the two signs. When/if the signs are gone, this is really the only defined parking on the left in the area so if you hit the big dips in the road you have gone to far and if you are at Oxbow parking you have not gone far enough.

From the small parking lot, the trail (CCC Upper) heads to your left down the CCC.

At about a half-mile in there is a small split to the right (can be hard to see depending on the season), just before the creek (late summer there is generally no water in the creek, just a boulder field), that takes you on an old mossy "road". Eventually, the moss covered "road" curves right and generally turns into an easier trail. The trail is somewhat easy to follow but always be sure to look for boot prints, cut trees or slight indentions in the pine needles to keep you on the right path. 

Once there, you are greeted with great views of the valley (Mt. Garfield, Russian Butte, Mailbox, etc), a place to sit, and even an old grill to cook some food if you brought it.

On the way down there are some forks and splits to explore (old cabin) if you have a map and are good at following directions as the trails get a bit faint but for the most part will always return you to the "main" trail.

Note: Even though this is short, I wouldn’t recommend this trail for those not comfortable with route finding, thus the intermediate skill level rating. Also, there are some signs of people camping in the area.

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