Confession time – as someone who likes to take pictures along the trail and gaze up in the trees for birds, we usually try to avoid trails that include mountain biking. I don’t want to stir up the hikers/bikers debate here, just acknowledging the trails can sometimes be a little tricky when there’s mixed-use. However, Six Mile Run is one park we make an exception for. The rolling terrain, carefully crafted switchbacks and wooden bridges that the bikes enjoy are just as fun to hike on and shouldn’t be missed.
How To Hike Six Mile Run
We began this visit at the Canal Road trailhead for the Blue Trail. The beauty of multiple visits to a park in different seasons is you really do see different things. On this day, not far along the trail on our right we saw towards the Maintenance Building, in a field normally obscured by tall weeds, a wonderful statue made of found items. Pretty soon this view will be blocked from the trail so this was a treat.
Continue on the Blue Trail. As you wander these 3,000 plus acres, offering 6 multi-use trails, it’s almost easy to image yourself back in 1702 when the colonial settlement here was home to these forests, streams and farm fields. This area was supposed to be flooded out and used as a reservoir (hence, the name). After Round Valley and Spruce Run proved to be sufficient to supply the growing areas water needs Six Mile Run was spared and we are the beneficiaries.
About 1 mile in there will be a juncture, stay to the right on the Blue Trail. You’ll pass through scattered cedar forests. The switchbacks are a lot of fun as you slowly rise through elevation changes. Once you cross the stream with the metal bridge, look for the Red Trail Marker on the right. The Red Trail is a long beautiful stretch along the river with really nice elevated views from about 5o feet up.
When we visited in the Fall, I found the largest patch of mushrooms I have ever encountered. For those interested in mycology, this park is wet. In addition to a wide variety of mushrooms there are vernal pools teeming with frogs and salamanders. This Spring visit the air was filled with the strange sound of the little wood frogs mating calls echoing through the forest.
Abandoned Farm on Site
Another unique feature to this park is the abandoned farm site. If you enter off Amsterdam Drive you can take a side trail off the Red Trail to get there. The house, silo and barns still remain. I hesitate to give more specific directions as the farm has gotten a lot of graffiti this past year and it’s a shame to see this beautiful place not being respected.
Six Mile Run is special park. It really seems to have been designed for the mountain biking crowd. So many parks are not bike friendly it seems only fair that the bikers get something that it truly a home for their passion. In order to “share the road” we find the best times for hikers to enjoy this special place is during the weekdays, if you can. This park is too pretty not to be enjoyed by all. John Muir was so right, “of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”