BIG BEND HIKES - GRAPEVINE HILLS TRAIL / BALANCED ROCK
Usually when we plan a trip, we do a lot of preparation. For this trip, for some reason, we didn't do a whole lot of planning. I think it's because we were dealing with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas and we just didn't have a lot of time to plan. In hindsight, it was kind of fun to do it this way. We went in not knowing what we'd spend all of our time doing, but we were ok with that. On our first full day, we took our first hike. We decided to try out the Grapevine Hills Trail and Balanced Rock. This is a 2.2 mile, round trip hike with an 80 foot elevation gain. We didn't even research the hike much. We knew there was a 6 mile, very bumpy back road that we had to take to get to the trailhead, so we just went for it. Let me tell you, 6 miles on a bumpy road in a dually is an experience. Make sure you have a bathroom break right before you leave! It was definitely worth it though! Let me tell you though, once we took this first hike, we instantly knew what we'd be spending all of the rest of our time doing...hiking! We were hooked!
The drive to the trailhead and back probably took more time than the hike itself. Once you reach the trailhead, there's a small parking area. We were lucky to get a really close spot where the dually fit. If there are no spots, you basically just have to wait your turn for a spot to park. People are going in and out all day though, so we never had an issue with parking. The first part of the trail is a breeze. There's a slight incline and a clear path. The boys had fun exploring along the way. At the end of this section, you start some rock scrambling. This was actually a pleasant surprise for us because we hadn't read about this part. My initial reaction was fear that my four year old wouldn't be able to do it, but he did great! There were plenty of spots to rest on the way up and on the way down. Take your time, enjoy the views, and it's definitely worth the climb!
Here's one of my favorite pictures from our entire trip. This was taken at the top of the Grapevine Hills Trail at "Balanced Rock".