Keith Beaty and I are doing a warm-up hike in preparation for another hike later this week down to Horseshoe Mesa. Our hike today is a Dripping Springs - Waldron loop day hike like the one I did in 2006.
We drive down the Well Rowe Road until reaching the picnic table and then turn west on the old Waldron Road. After an initial wrong turn, we finally make our way down the correct road until reaching a locked gate where we park the car.
When I did this hike six years ago, you were allowed to drive all the way to the Waldron trailhead and park there. It's just over one mile from the locked gate to the Waldron trailhead, but we continue walking straight ahead on the old boundary road past the trailhead sign.
After another mile or so, we turn to the right on a very faint road and angle toward the west side of Dripping Springs. Pretty soon we reach the trailhead sign.
In late spring, it's easy to find a lot of blooming flowers.
We attempt a cross-country shortcut before the end of the road, but get cliffed out, so we make our way back to the road and walk to the end of it. We then start downhill and soon come to a galvanized post that may have held the trailhead sign at one time.
Then it's a lot of twists and turns as we make our way to the east high above Dripping Springs.
When we eventually start down, we come to some metal hooks with logs in them. We speculate that these were put here by Louis Boucher over a century ago to help his mules get traction on the slick rock ledges.
There are more blooming flowers along the way and a very pretty Redbud tree at Dripping Springs.
In just a few more minutes, we arrive at Dripping Springs. Another couple is there, so we get them to take our picture. There seems to be more water dripping from the overhang than when I was here last.
Just after leaving Dripping Sprints, we come to another set of the metal log holders like the ones we found earlier. I'm a little surprised that Boucher needed them here as this is a very flat location, unlike the steep rock ledges we came down on to reach Dripping Springs. We soon pass the Boucher trailhead sign and turnoff.
This part of the Dripping Springs Trail is almost flat and very easy walking. The views down the Hermit Gorge are quite good. I always have a hard time spotting Santa Maria Spring on the east side of the gorge, so Keith points out where it is.
We pass the turnoff to the Hermit Trail and start the uphill slog. In a few minutes, we reach the Waldron trail and turn right on it. I have seen trip reports with pictures of Petroglyphs on this part of the Waldron, but we never find any.
There is a huge clump of Small-flowered Milkvetch plants here.
I am a little pooped, so Keith continues on up the trail while I take a much slower pace. I slowly make my way up the steep switchbacks and eventually meet Keith at Horse Thief Tank, which, as usual, is bone dry.
Then it's just a few more minutes to the Waldron trailhead. However, it's a real bummer having to walk another mile uphill on the Waldron Road to our parked car at the locked gate. It's getting late and I'm glad to be back at the car.
This was a very good day hike. It is one I think you will enjoy and I highly recommend it. Our trip highlights were:
If you are doing this loop, I have the following recommendations: