Paulist Fathers South

Paulist Fathers Retreat, South (10/19/2014)

Three weeks ago we visited this beautiful area, inhabited in the past by the Paulist Fathers, for the first time and hiked some of the trails just south of Ridge Road. Today, armed with this updated map from my friend and amateur cartographer Daniela, we headed back to explore some of the trails a bit farther south.

We parked at the small information kiosk on Sparta Mountain Road, where the Highlands Trail crosses (there is room here for 2-3 cars) and headed north on the HT into the woods. We took the HT to the Red trail (the beginning is denoted with a Red arrow on Daniela's map). The Red is a beautiful trail with more fall foliage than any other trail we did. Red eventually ended at a T-intersection with Yellow. We made a left here and headed north to the lake, making a left on Blue and then (shortly after) a right on Green, descending to the lake. (You have to be careful when hiking in here because many of the blazes aren't very clear, an aside from the Orange Lake loop and the HT, they're mostly painted tree rings, most of them very faded). When we reached the Orange trail (also denoted with an L, presumably for "lake") we circled the lake in a clockwise direction, continuing (after the buildings) east on the unblazed woods road east to White. We took White south climbing and climbing and climbing (we did this part three weeks ago as well), finally reaching a T-intersection and took the unblazed woods road south all the way back to Sparta Mountain Road. A 0.2-mile road walk (where only one vehicle passed us slowly) brought us back to the car.

Total distance hiked was 4.7 miles in nearly 3 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Kiosk on Sparta Mt. Road

Up the HT

[Photo by Laura]

Heading north on...

...the HT


Eastern Phoebe

Near intersection with Red

Heading east...

...on the very...


...Red trail

Most blazes aren't this good

[Photo by Laura]

Some cairns along the way

Giant blow-down

Don't forget to look up!

Huge amount of leaf drop

On Green...

...heading to lake

On bank...

...of Paulist lake

Lake loop blaze





...the bank

Orange trail skirts bank

Bright colors

Building across lake

Sassafras leaf


...into the sun

Swamp near northern bank

Boardwalk in swamp

Fall foliage

A path with views

Outside shrine

Very peaceful here

Climbing to...

...back of building


[Photo by Laura]

Bright red sweetgum

Old bridge wall

Woods road...

...heading east

White trailhead


...and climbing...

...on White

Leaf carpet

Blow-down hopping


More fall...


Back to...

...Sparta Mountain Road

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh