Looking for something to do with some free time while we were in the Hoover area. Hoover is known for it's stores and restaurants but we were wanting to get out in the nice almost Summer weather. We had been to Aldridge Gardens the weekend before and wanted to check out something else. I searched parks and found Moss Rock - I checked for reviews and searched for all the info I could find - I did see some pictures of beautiful falls and paths and read about the boulders - I grew up climbing rocks and trees and thought it would be nice to see the boulder field. I had also noted that there were 3 entrances listed and several trails - there was a map that you could print out but I don't think if we had printed it out it would have been any help to us because of the lack of markings - hard to count trees to turn at. I decided since we wouldn't have all day to explore everything that we would just take a smaller trail - There was only a could mileages and I thought those with out distance listed they must be under a mile. I knew we would not be doing any rock climbing and thought we would start out at what seemed to be a shorter trail and walk up to the High Falls - there are several falls promoted even a loop mapped around some of them - this one was alone and had a few other landmarks near by. I decided if we could only do one that would be nice but if after this we wanted to do or see more we could take other trails -- I expected to find well defined trails and some signage that would direct you to the different sites promoted. It was in the middle of Hoover and not known for anything more rugged than finding a parking place at the Galleria. Oak Mountain is not too far away but it has been a recreational park long before the city grew up. We parked at Simmons Middle School - found the trail entrance and started down the steps - that should have been the first clue the steps were a little tricky seems most had made a new 'trail' beside them - they were at an awkward pace of moving on and also the filled in dirt and rock wasn't level with the framing wood. We got to the trail and could hear or see a few other people in the area or on another trail across the creek but did not come in close contact with anyone else until much later on the trail. This trail was completely wilderness, the beginning of where we entered the trail here was well worn and obvious but farther down the path it was hard to detect between planned trail and animal path or where water might have worn down the vegetation. I grew up walking or hiking in the woods and my family also made their on paths thru trees and rocks and up steep hills so this was refreshing to be out in what appeared to be "The Woods" but I had not expected it to be this rustic of a hike. We had not come prepared with clothes or shoes to meet nature face to face and battle our way thru it. Be Prepared dress for this. There had been some recent rains and I had hoped the falls would have a good flow and be great for some pictures but there were a few places on the trail where nature made streams down the hill out of creek beds and had crossed the path and had most of them not dried up it could have been tricky walking over. It was still slick and muddy. The trails were listed with colors on the map, we were suppose to be on the white trail and then merge to the orange one - the trail at times became not more than some thinner growth patches and on a few occasions there were places that you had to decide which was the correct direction and which was a different path -- there was a couple places that gave a distance count to a location and other trails but no other markings on this one = well there were two pieces of white plastic wrapped on a limb to a tree in different spots but had no idea if that was trail markings or just trash blown around. There were spiderwebs that you often encountered if you were the first in line. We came to an area close to the creek and then back up the hill and reached another fork - not sure which was the way to the falls we took the direction back toward the creek, we had to cross the creek over rocks there and then followed the orange trail back over to some large boulders across the creek again. The trail had been longer than we had expected and even in the shade of all the trees it was still getting warmer of a day than had been expected so we had begun sweating and getting heated = Be Prepared take water or other things to cool with. Once we started toward the boulders and not being able to hear any water rushing, we decided not to go further - mainly because we weren't sure if we were on the right trail or on an uncharged path and after climbing over and under more if we did find the waterfall there might be nothing to it - there was some water and small rapids waterfalls we had seen but not sure if enough was still left from recent showers to make it worth struggling further -also my husband isn't as big of a nature person as I had been. So we decided to turn back and to follow the orange trail which we could see had orange dots along the way on trees or rocks and easier to follow - a few times when animal paths crossed the planned path we could look ahead and see where the orange path went - we did see another distance sign for rock landmarks but the arrows didn't make it easy to know if it meant stay on trail or go up in the woods - signs were very small and hand painted. Be Prepared bring or wear insect repellent. This path was not much bigger in places than the other side of the creek but at least was marked - there was not a lot of places to stop and rest - the rocks and trees were damp - the orange trail did have better markings - at one point we crossed back over to the white trail back to our parking place. There are other trails but we didn't try them because we were more tired than we expected since we weren't properly prepared for this trail. There is a wider trail that is managed by company checking the powerlines and other trails might have been easier to take. We were looking for a leisure walk not a full out hike. We may have passed some of the landmarks but they were not marked well enough to know for sure. It wasn't a fear of taking an unmarked trail and never finding our way out because in some areas you can hear nearby traffic so you aren't that far from the hustle and bustle of the world outside but you are in a different world in the Preserve. The bigger concern was wasting time trying to get to something you wanted to see and never knowing if you were going the right way. We did drive around to find the other entrances to see if we could see more from the parking lots there - we did find one of them and from the looks of folks there they were prepared but we couldn't see the boulder field. We did find a new little subdivision of very fine homes and a little cluster of businesses and a very large Town Hall and grass mall area. One of the places we discovered while trying to look up info about the area is a Family Style Pizza Bakery located there. In the future we might try to go back and try one of the other areas some of the pictures were very beautiful but we will choose better weather and also Be Prepared!
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