First time hiking the challenging Splitrock Reservoir Loop.
Farny Highlands – Blue to White (Four Birds) – loop around Split Rock Reservoir. 10.5 miles. 11am to 4:30 pm. 50 and sunny. Crisp in the open and near the water, comfortable in the woods.
Trailhead: 287 to exit 43, Fanny Rd to Powerville, left on Valley, R on Rockaway Valley, stay left onto Split Rock and follow to Parking (road turns into gravel).
Clivus composting toilet and trail kiosk (never seen maps in it). Follow the road back until the Blue blaze on the left.
Complete hike details, photos, and video on our Splitrock Reservoir page.
Trail is usual rocky Highlands with a lot of mild up/downs with views of the Reservoir. Veers away for awhile then crosses woods road several times.
Later, the trail skirts the backyards of large houses, similar to how houses encroach on Pyramid Mountain.
A yellow McMansion cut all the trees on the trail in order to get a view – including several trees with blazes so look all the way across the scattered mess of chopped trees to find the trail.
There are several viewpoints including Indian Cliffs before the trail heads down and around the north end of the Reservoir. Pass over the woods road and continue with a lake on your right.
Pick up the WHITE (Four Birds) trail and head left toward the water… the trail continues R as well. Follow WHITE and ignore other blazes – don’t think they are trails but are some other markings.
Trail is more rocky and the elevation change is more on this side of the Reservoir. There are a few minor water crossings, then at the end one that can be tricky after a lot of rain.
After a final uphill, arrive at the road, turn left and follow it down the gravel road and over a narrow bridge to the lot.
*A perfect fall day yet saw no one on this trail the whole day. Would not recommend for fall hiking if there had been recent rain- leaves were newly down and it was slippery enough without water.
Also, the trail was well blazed, but hard to follow with the leaf cover. The East side BLUE trail was especially hard to follow.
*Interesting: Several placards on Four Birds trail with a code number to give your location if you needed 911. Never seen that on a trail before.
Removed from hike description 9/2015 as it no longer applies:
Notes: When we did this loop in Nov. 2008, the Splitrock Trail blue markers were frustratingly hard to find; they still are.
After that experience, and reading a blog at Gone Hikin’ who had the same issue, we opted to see if the markers were easier going the opposite way around (four birds then split rock).
It was slightly better trying to find the markers in this direction, but it was still a lot of confusion.
And speaking of markings… Four Birds is WHITE, but Splitrock is in 2 shades of BLUE, and tend to be faded. We also saw add-on markers: faded thin orange plastic tape and white thumbtacks (!).