Updated: Jan 15, 2020
When the snowstorm has passed, the sun is out, and the dogs are wound up and ready for some outdoor time, we head over to the trails at Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park. There, over 20 miles of perfectly snow-packed paths are easy to access and provide a great winter playground.
We parked at and started from the Founders Park Drive Trailhead. We trekked up the initial hill, passing by the start of the Founders Valley Trail. We stayed on the entire mile-long Far East Trail, following the curves of the hillsides along the way. We passed by numerous other trails stemming from the Far East, including Wagoneer (which we had explored just weeks before). The Far East linked up with many other paths and provided lots of opportunities to further investigate the park, if one were so inclined.
The Far East weaved in and out of the afternoon shadows. On this rare occasion we had the entire trail to ourselves, save for the intermittent rabbit darting in and out of the brush. This, of course, added very much to my dogs' excitement and enjoyment of the adventure. About half way through the Far East we found a nice tree to sit under for a water and treat break, before continuing on our path.
When we reached the end of the Far East Trail we followed Founders Valley East back south. This was mostly downhill and fairly short, as Founders Valley East is less than half a mile long. After that we decided to conquer one last spur and took Founders Village East out of the park. From there it was just a short jaunt down the sidewalk to where we had parked earlier.
The entire hike took about 75 minutes. The girls had a great time. They trotted along, ecstatic to be out exploring, noses excitedly driving them on. Enthusiasm kept them moving at a brisk pace, stopping on occasion to bury a snout in the snow (no doubt enjoying some hidden treasure trove of smells).
We very much enjoy coming to this park in the winter. We do not, however, visit there during the warmer months due to rattlesnakes. There are actual warning signs upon every main entry into the park, and I can personally attest to having seen one (it slithered across my path in the summer of 2017). We only hike here in cooler months, when the conditions allow.
This hike was not terribly strenuous, but it's definitely a good amount of exercise. The initial climb up the first hill was one of the toughest parts, but even that wasn't too bad. The rest of the trail was fairly easy, even in snowy conditions.
The Far East is one of the park's main trails, and wide enough for two dogs to comfortably walk along it for the most part. It felt very much like the wilderness, even though the city was just a short distance below.
We had a lovely time enjoying the well-marked paths of Hanson-Larson Memorial Park's trail system.