One of the first hikes I ever remember going on with my dad was on the Elk Creek trail. We were camping down the road, and he and I went for a short, probably couple mile, hike. While my adult self would love to say this is where my love of hiking started and only grew from that day on, it was not until I was an adult when I really fell in love with hiking. However, I still think of that hike as a beginning.
As I started searching for hikes for us to do around Cody, this one continually came to mind. As with many trails in the area, it is an out and back that is all uphill going in and all downhill going out. It is also a heavily used horse trail, which does add some wear and tear on the trail. However, it was close to town, gave us a reason to go up the North Fork, and follows the Elk Fork, providing lovely sounds of water for much of the journey.
While being able to see water down below for much of the hike was a real treat, the views were really where it was at. Seemingly with every small gain in elevation, the views continued to get better and better. Being that this was our first hike in Wyoming, it set the bar pretty high.
We also happened to time our hike perfectly with the peak of wildflower season. We were spoiled with so much color popping up along the trail all around us. The Indian Paintbrush alone was a sight to see.
We only hiked in about 2 miles, making our roundtrip about 4 miles. There is not much shade, and it was hot. Daisy did great, but we do our best not to push her too much. However, Grace Creek crosses the trail as it heads down to the Elk Fork, so Daisy took full advantage of wetting her paws and cooling down. On our way back to the truck, we got Bird out of the pack and let them both play in the water for a few minutes. There were very few people on the trail, and we all needed a short cool down.
Returning to this trail after what must be about 30 years was really special, especially since it was our first hike in Wyoming. It really felt like coming full circle. My love of hiking may not have thrived from that first hike here so many years ago, but the seed was certainly planted, it just took a little time to germinate and grow.