Note: This article is specifically about the red trail in Franklin Gulf Park.
See Take a Hike in Franklin Gulf Park for an overview of Franklin Gulf Park and a map of all trails in the park.
Future articles will detail the other trails in the Park.
After the narrative detailed description of the trail there is a summary list that can be printed for taking on the trail.
Detailed Description of Red Trail:
The red, orange, and green trails, start at the parking lot on Larkin Road. To the left is a picture of the view of the start of the trail looking toward the back of the parking lot from the road (click on the picture to open a larger version.)
Shortly after starting on the trail (about 100 yards in) you’ll see a red blaze on a tree. Just ahead on another tree is a red directional arrow pointing to the left (as shown in the photo to the left.) To your left is a slightly overgrown forest road which is the end of the green trail if you follow it clockwise, or the beginning of the green trail if you follow it counterclockwise.
The main red trail goes straight ahead – DO NOT follow the red directional arrow pointing to your left (south). If you follow that arrow it will take you to the edge of a stream (just 120 yards.). That red spur trail does not appear to continue beyond the stream.
Perhaps the person who marked that trail merely wanted to direct people to the stream, which can then be followed (when not flowing with water) to its junction with Franklin Gulf (at the point where the red and orange trails cross Franklin Gulf.).
You can also use that short red spur trail to cross the stream and follow the bushwhack track in the southeastern corner of the Park. Just remember that bushwhack tracks are not marked by blazes or a trail on the ground, so you will need a map and compass or a gps to follow the bushwhack track or to create your own bushwhack track.
Proceed straight ahead past the red directional arrow.
At 300 yards the red trail splits from the orange and green trail. The orange and green trails go to your right, as depicted in the pictures below. The red and orange trails will rejoin each other at the .55 mile mark on the red trail.
The green trail breaks off from the orange trail shortly before the red and orange trails re-join each other.) The orange trail proceeds up and over a small hill. The red trail winds along the edge of a ravine.
The red trail continues to your left.
It is marked with a few red blazes and also with yellow blocks nailed to trees as depicted in the picture to the left.
At .3 miles on the red trail you will pass one of the many geocaches in the Park. This is an above ground geocache that looks like a birdhouse, shown in this picture just to the left of the base of the tree.
This is also a cross over between the red and orange trails. If you walk up hill to the right of the tree, in about 10 yards you’ll find the orange trail.
Continue on the red trail.
Just past the .5 mile mark the orange trail will re-join the red trail from your right.
At this point there are red, orange, and white blazes on a tree as shown in the picture to the left.
The white blazes will be found interspersed with the red and orange trails.
When following either the red or orange trail, use the white blazes to stay on the trail if you don’t see red or orange trail blazes.
Follow the combined trail. In about 100 yards you’ll come upon an old stone chimney.
This is the approximate location of a “cabin” shown on the 1961 survey map of the Park.
You can still see what looks to be a stone foundation of the cabin.
At the .65 mile mark the orange trail goes to left on a short loop. The red trail continues straight ahead along the side of the steep ravine. The orange trail will re-join from the left in less than 100 yards, then split off again to the left just after the .7 mile mark. This second split of the orange trail is marked with orange blazes and yellow wood blocks. It is a switchback that avoids the rather steep (but short) decent of the red trail at this point. In 200 feet down the red trail, at the bottom of the hill, the orange trail (and yellow wood block markers) will again re-join the red trail.
In 200 yards, at the .85 mile mark on the red trail, you’ll reach the confluence of the stream that has been on your right and Franklin Gulf.
You need to cross the stream which is very easy to do except in times of extreme high water.
In the middle of the steam is a pile of rocks, known as a cairn, to mark the trail across the stream.
Looking across the stream, you will see red, orange, and white blazes marking the continuation of the trail:
After crossing the stream, the red and orange (and sometimes white) trails take a sharp left turn then begin a steady climb.
At the .9 mile mark you will see an old stone water vault in the ground to your left.
There are a couple of logs sticking up from it.
Although the vault would be aesthetically better looking without the logs in it, they serve to alert people to the hole that might otherwise not be seen.
At the .95 mile mark the trail levels off a bit. This is where the orange and red trail split for the last time before meeting each other on the other side of the power line easement. The orange trail heads off to the left up a hill. The red trail heads straight ahead, and is marked with alternating red and white blazes.
The red trail reaches the edge of the power line easement at 1 mile from the parking lot.
The path across the easement is generally easy to spot.
There is a dark red blaze on a small tree immediately adjacent to it as shown in the picture to the left.
At about the 1.1 mile mark the trail comes to the edge of a small ravine (about 4 feet) that could be crossed, but it is unnecessary to do so because the trail turns left (south) along the ravine to a point (200 yards away) where there is an easy crossing of the ravine, marked by the white blaze on the tree shown in the picture to the left.
The orange trail joins from the left (south) immediately after crossing the ravine.
At 1.25 miles the red and orange trails reach the snowmobile trail:
Summary Red Trail Description
|0.00||Start of trail at parking lot off Larkin Road.|
|0.06||Ignore red arrow pointing left (south). Continue straight on red trail.|
|0.10||Orange and green trails split to the right. Bear left to stay on red trail, which winds along bank of ravine and is also marked with yellow wood blocks nailed to trees.|
|0.30||Geocache near base of tree on your right.|
|0.55||Orange trail re-joins the red trail from the right. White blazes start to appear with the orange and red blazes.|
|0.60||Stone chimney, site of old Larkin cabin.|
|0.65||Orange trail heads off to right on a short loop. Bear left to stay on red trail.|
|0.68||Orange trail re-joins from the right.|
|0.71||Orange trail (and yellow wood blocks) leave to the right on a switchback. Red trail bears left down short hill.|
|0.75||Orange trail rejoins red trail from the right. Combined trail turns left.|
|0.86||Combined trail crosses the confluence of the unnamed stream (on your left) and Franklin Gulf on your right. Be sure to follow the trail over the last little hump before descending to the stream. There is a cairn (pile of rocks) in the middle of the stream bed making the trail. Look for the red blaze on a tree on the opposite bank to continue on the trail. Upon reaching that red blaze the trail makes a left turn then starts a steady climb.|
|0.90||Pass an old “well” on left. Could be a well, or maybe a privy vault.|
|0.95||Red and orange trails split. Orange trail goes to left up hill. Stay on red trail to right (first visible blaze is white, then a red blaze at edge of power line easement.)|
|1.02||Arrive at edge of power line easement. Cross by following narrow path through brush and weeds.|
|1.08||Arrive at edge of ravine. Trail takes left turn going up the side of bank top a crossing point.|
|1.12||Trail turns right to cross ravine. White blaze on tree at ravine crossing.|
|1.13||Orange trail joins from the left.|
|1.20||Arrive at snowmobile trail.|