Did the Crouching Lion hike finally for the first time this weekend and it was definitely worth the time. Before doing the hike, I searched around different websites trying to find the trail head – that by far was probably the most difficult aspect of the hike. In actuality, once we got to the base of the “lion” there are parking lots available that provide access to the trail head(s) and it really isn’t all that difficult.
After leaving our car in the small parking lot, we crossed the road and walked to the left. There was a “Do Not Pass” sign and right after that sign were two “keep out” signs. A path leading into the trees was easily visible, carved out from all the previous hikers so we followed that. Most of the sites I looked at stated that there were pink ribbons marking the trail but we didn’t see any. Instead, we just kept following the trail whenever it led up. The trail itself is comprised of mud and tree roots, there was some ducking and weaving that needed to happen to avoid whacking our heads. We saw the first rope about 5 minutes into the hike and knew we were on the right path. After reaching the rope, the rest of the trail was very easy to follow. We took caution here since the climb was steep and the ground was muddy but there were enough handholds and things to grab onto to get by. We even stopped along the way to turn around and admire the view.
After about another 10 minutes of the huffpuff, we reached the first clearing. The first thing we noticed was the memorial set up for the girl that fell a few months ago. It kind of reminded us that there were dangers up along the ridgeline of the trail. We continued forward and the trail split where we could head left and hike along the lion’s back or head right to get the overall view. We went left first along the path and it was easy to follow the trail all the way to the lion’s head. Some scrambling was involved but it wasn’t anything serious. The biggest danger is stepping to close to the edge and getting hit by a gust of wind but for the most part we stayed in the center to take all our pictures and started towards the other side. During the entire time we were hanging up there, there was a glider who just hovered above us which was really cool.
From the other end of the trail, we were able to view the entire ridge line and it was definitely a sight to behold. Steep drop-offs on this part of the trail could make a bad ending but again, we stayed towards the center of the trail and there were no issues.
In all, it was a quick and easy hike that took about 30 minutes to really get to the end of the trail but soaking in the view took us up to about an hour. Highly recommended.