Backpacking Spy Rock Loop

Last week my mom and I went on our very first backpacking adventure! We’ve wanted to go for a long time now, but weren’t sure where to begin. Everything online told us we need hundreds of dollars worth of gear before we would be ready to embark on a hike that lasted more than one day. We rebelled! We didn’t buy anything (except food) for our trip. We took the gear we had. I carried my things in an old jansport backpack. And guess what? We had a great time!

The trail we chose was the Spy Rock Loop which connects to the Ozark Highland’s Trail from Redding Recreation Area (a super nice campground with access to the Mulberry river). Spy Rock is an incredible view that’s definitely worth the climb. The hike could be done in a day if you left early in the morning, but we headed out around 2:00pm and got to the top with plenty of daylight left. There are two little campsites with fire rings at the top of Spy Rock, but it was pretty gusty so we headed back down to make camp somewhere lower. The info we had read ahead (linked above) told us there was a campsite near a waterfall on the East side where we would be coming down, but we couldn’t find it (it is probably just overgrown). We finally decided to step down from the trail and camp in the trees. After we ate some dinner (luckily we didn’t bring anything we had to cook) we hung our trash and food up near the trail and settled into our hammocks. In the morning we ate overnight oats and broke camp. When we got back to the trail from where we had camped there was a big fresh pile of poop which we decided not to try to look up until we got back to the car. The hike down was short and easy. Charging my phone in the car I googled “animal poop” and discovered that the scat we had seen was most likely from a bear! Luckily it passed on by, but next time we will definitely buy one piece of gear: bear spray.

Have you hiked this loop? How did you do it? Got backpacking tips? Let’s hear them!