Independence Trail at Pence Park

Distance2.48 mi
Elevation Gain738 feet
My Time1 hr 19 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownIndian Hills
Food NearbySit N Bull

I was looking for a shorter hike to do on a Sunday morning and came across Independence Mountain Trail. The trail was supposed to be a nice quick hike that barely made it an hour and a half but it really gave me my money’s worth.

The lower loop

The lower loop of this trail is pretty basic and straight forward. You can either take the north or the south loop and decided to take the north loop to begin and made my way to the right. The trail has some area’s of elevation but they are relatively short. The trail itself is in good shape with mostly hard-packed dirt and some rocks sticking out. You are walking through the forest and have good shade on this section as well.

The loop is only a half mile until you get to the spur to go up to the top of the mountain. If you aren’t paying attention it can be easy to miss the spur and continue down the south section. Luckily I met some new friends, Tyler, Danielle, and Anna, who pointed me in the right direction. If you skip the mountain you can continue on the loop and make it back to the trailhead after about a mile total if you are looking for an easier hike. Walking down the south section is fairly easy as there isn’t too much of a grade and the trail is in good shape. There are even some stairs built in for to make it a little easier.

A view of the north loop trail.  Some rocks to step over but a fairly well defined trail.
The north loop trail as you are getting to the mountain spur.

Independence Mountain Trail

The trail to get to the top of the mountain is less than a mile, closer to 8/10’s of a mile to get to the peak but it is surprisingly steep. In under a mile you will go up around 500 feet of elevation which ranks up there with some of the more difficult trails I have done. To add to the difficulty, the trail was really sandy and slick. I am glad that I had my hiking pole for stability but I still needed to rest several times as I tried to make my way up. You will gain 300 feet of the elevation in the first half mile before it does become a gentler incline until you get to the top. It is mostly shaded forest, especially when you get to the more level ground.

The top is where the views are. There are some smaller trails that lead around the top to different sides of the mountains but the nicest view is if you walk up the large rocks that you come to at the peak. Here is the view looking to the northwest from on top of the rocks at the peak.

The view from the top of independence peak.  There is tree covered foothills in the foreground leading up to snow covered mountains in the background.

There are some other nice views if you decide to circle around the top of the mountain that show the surrounding countryside as well as some ridiculously nice houses on the top of some cliffs. Here are the stats from today’s hike before we get to the gallery.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.48 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 738 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 8,225 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 19 minutes.

Effort

This hike was a lot steeper than I thought going in and it kicked my butt pretty good for being a relatively short hike. Here are the stats I recorded today on my Fitbit.

Stats from today's hike from my FItbit Ionic.  Today's hike I took 5809 steps.

Terrain

The lower loop of Independence Mountain trail is in good shape. It is a forested floor with some large rocks and roots sticking out of it but very easy to manage. There are even some places with some man made stairs built in to make it a little easier. The upper level to the mountain top is very steep and has patches with very loose sandy material.. The problem is that the steepest parts are also the loosest footing so I would recommend good hiking shoes with traction and some hiking poles would also be a benefit.

Access

Pence Park is located on Parmalee Gulch road. There is a small parking lot that fit about 15 cars. At 7:45 on a Sunday morning I got the last spot and people had started lining the street. There is a Port-o-potty at the trailhead. Along with the Independence Mountain trail there is access to Bear Creek Trail from this parking lot.

Wrap up

This hike is short but I don’t know that I would call it sweet. If you are looking for a nice workout it may be just the trail for you. The problem I had with this hike is there was a lot of effort without a lot of nice views. You are covered by forest for most of it which obstruct your view of anything but the trees. When you get to the top there are some nice views but many of them are of civilization. Now if you want a quick hike, the whole thing took less than an hour and a half, that is going to challenge you with some steep elevation gains in a short amount of time you might really enjoy this hike. It also would be a good tester hike to see if you were ready to do some of the steeper hikes that are out there. Overall, I enjoyed the exercise today, and met some really cool new people, but didn’t enjoy the hike as much as most I have done.

If you have a suggestion for a hike that you would like me to try, feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or you can follow me on the below social media platforms. I have also added this hike to interactive map that you can find here.

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