Awesome hike early in the morning
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Distance: 3.00 Miles
Here's how you get a 4.5 enjoyability and a 4.5 solitude!
Arrive at the Loop Trail trailhead (west side) before dawn! Just as it gets light, proceed. We saw bucks in the velvet, does, fawns, and raccoons. Hill country is very cool, weather wise, in the early mornings. We continued on the Loop Trail and then went north through the Walnut Springs campground. Followed it around to where it crossed the Loop Trail again, but took the Echo Canyon trail back toward the Summit Trail.
We were the only ones hiking; everyone else was still sleeping. Because of our early start, we stayed cool and got to see wildlife you ordinarily wouldn't see. Then as soon as we got back close to the summit trail, you could see a line of folks just starting up to the summit; but we were already done and smiling! They looked so HOT. It was so nice, we did the exact same hike the next day!