SHERIDAN — If you’re hoping to go from your front door to the outdoors quickly, you’ll now have another option with Hidden Hoot Trail — the latest addition to a growing suite of non-motorized recreation trails built and maintained by Sheridan Community Land Trust.
Running along Gillispie Draw and nestled between Hidden Bridge and Kendrick golf courses on the west edge of Sheridan, Hidden Hoot Trail takes users along 3 miles of natural habitat in a peaceful setting close to home.
The natural-surface, single-track design is perfect for hiking, biking and running. Its lollipop design allows users to loop back to where they started in a manner similar to SCLT’s existing Red Grade Trails.
“This trail was built to accommodate beginners while still being quite an enjoyable experience people with advanced skills,” SCLT trails manager Tami Sorenson said. “The many features throughout the trail add fun for all.”
Hidden Hoot Trail is the first realization of a longtime priority for Sheridan Community Land Trust to expand Soldier Ridge Trail into a looping system of trails that provides additional access to lands west of Sheridan. Adding diversity to your trail experience, Hidden Hoot incorporates an environment that’s different from Soldier Ridge Trail.
“Hidden Hoot Trail creates new opportunities for people to experience different habitats and ecosystems just outside your door,” SCLT Executive Director Brad Bauer said.
From the trail, you’ll see wetlands and the wildlife that call it home — deer and antelope, pheasant, grouse, eagles and hawks, and you may just see and hear something making a hoot.
This trail also advances connectivity to other recreation entities in the area, connecting to the Sheridan Pathway, Black Tooth Park and two local golf courses.
Bauer noted that Hidden Hoot Trail would not exist were it not for the generosity of Sheridan Heights Ranch, which allowed SCLT to build the trail on its property.
“Unlike Red Grade Trails, which is on public land, Hidden Hoot Trail is almost entirely on private land, which gives people a wholly new opportunity to enjoy these lands,” he stated.
While the public is allowed to access private property to use the trail, they are not allowed to stray off the trail. That provision goes for four-legged guests, too, as dogs are required to be leashed at all times.
Bauer explained that’s to ensure the abundant wildlife and cattle that share the land are as undisturbed as possible.
Hidden Hoot Trail also marks the next step in a contiguous trail system on the west edge of Sheridan. Next year, SCLT plans to build additional miles of trail that will connect the west edge of Hidden Hoot Trail to The Classic Soldier Ridge Trail, making more unpaved, non-motorized trail available for people to enjoy for a morning run, an after-dinner stroll or a weekend ride with family and friends.
Grand opening event set for July 17
While the trail opened July 2, Sheridan Community Land Trust invites the public to a Hidden Hootenanny sponsored by 307Environmental.
The event is scheduled for July 17 from 4-7 p.m. at Black Tooth Park.
The Hidden Hootenanny will be the grand opening party for the trail. There will be a ribbon cutting with the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce at 4:15 p.m., guided hikes at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., and free hotdogs, cupcakes, chips and drinks.
Hidden Hoot Trail was built thanks to the generous support of SCLT’s donors, private foundations, the city of Sheridan, Sheridan County and dedicated volunteers.
To get to Hidden Hoot Trail, follow Sheridan Pathway south from Black Tooth Park about 0.7 miles until you see the trail entrance.
For more information and to view and print Hidden Hoot Trail maps, see the SCLT website, sheridanclt.org.