At just under one mile, this short, easy hike winds through some of the earliest historical features of South Park, dating back to the 1920s. Traveling north on East Park Drive from the roundabout, look for the trailhead in the small parking lot on the left side of the road not long after the road enters the woods. This unblazed trail quickly descends to a shallow creek and crosses a bridge. A short walk leads to the Vale of Cashmere, which was once a series of five interconnected stone and earthen pools. It gets its unusual name from a beautiful place described in the poem, “The Vale of Cashmere,” by Thomas Moore (1779-1852.). This site now features the stunning remains of the largest pool and watercourse. The path follows along its stone walls up the valley, passing more of the Vale along the way, including subsequent pools and channels, though none as grand as the first. The trail winds through a sunny wetland area; stay to the right and cross a shallow creek. The trail then climbs back up towards the road, turns right and follows the creek downstream. Pass a small stone-lined spring and see views of the Vale below. The trail leads back to the bridge near the hike’s starting point. (Improvements to this area will eventually include additional stream crossings and walkways as well as improvements to the natural resources like wet meadow plantings and riparian restorations).
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