There are days when I’d like to be in the park and out on the trails from sunrise to sunset. Those first few warm days of spring ring a bell, or the mild January days we’ve been lucky enough to have this winter. There are other times, however, like when it’s frigid cold or when I only have an hour to spare, that I want a fulfilling outdoor experience without the all-day time commitment.
This is where the Flats Trail, one of my favorites, comes into play.
It’s short, but oh so sweet. This trail runs from the Flats Picnic Grove right down to Floyds Fork, winding through a riparian forest which makes it a great place to spot water-loving trees like sycamores, silver maples, and box elders. It’s a straight shot to one of the most beautiful sections of the stream – Floyds Flats – an area shallow enough to walk out onto the smooth limestone creek bed and fish, look for fossils, or just enjoy the calming sound of the water. The Sara and W.L. Lyons Brown Bridge can be spotted off to the right and in the winter months, you can see hikers walking along the Black Willow Trail just across the stream. If you’re lucky enough though, you’ll get the place all to yourself so you can pretend this serene area is your own little oasis.
If someone asked me how to get a quintessentially Parklands experience in less than an hour, I would tell them, without hesitation, to check out the Flats Trail. It’s a wonderful spot to bring kids. Pack a picnic and sit at the Flats Picnic Grove looking out over Distillery Bend, then set off on your adventure through the trail. Keep an eye out for critter tracks, let the water run over your feet, look at the bridge architecture and see if you can spot the “leaping deer”, and be back to your car in under 45 minutes.
You’ll want to stay longer though, I promise.