Three Meadows Trail is one of those hikes that gets the heart thumping, the blood pumping and allows one a pat on the back when finished. The trailhead begins at a pull-off just before the new cemetery on Mesa Vista Drive in Ashcroft. Round rocks that spell the word “hike” have been placed near the trail and a lovely hand-made sign further along points the way.
There is no gradual lead-in to this trail: it heads uphill from the get go. As it winds its way up through the first curves and sagebrush, one can see that the locals have spent some time on the trail, as steps have been dug into the dirt to help in the ascent.
As the name implies, there are three meadows along the length of this trail, all at a higher elevation than the one before. As the first meadow is reached, one can stop, catch their breath, and take in the vista below. Geocachers will also be familiar with the first leg of the trail and this first meadow, as it is through it that the “Ashcroft Mesa Viewpoint” geocache in the GeoTourism Adventure Field Guide Volume 1 is reached.
The well worn path leads across the relatively flat, bunchgrass covered meadow towards the bottom of the next incline. As the trail weaves its way through sagebrush, rabbit bush and bunchgrass, the view changes to reveal more of the valley below. Moving through the second meadow and up again to yet a higher elevation and the third meadow, the view now includes Barnes Lake ahead of you and to the left, the Granule plant. You feel like you are on top of the world here. A great place to sit down, have a drink and a snack and take in the vista around you.
Each season this vista changes. Between new tufts of green grass in the spring a myriad of colorful wildflowers poke their heads. Summer’s heat browns the bunchgrass while showcasing the beautiful yellow blooms of the prickly pear cacti. Fall, with the ever changing orange, yellow and bronze pallet leads into skiffs of white snow with clear blue skies as a backdrop.
This is an easily accessible and exhilarating hike and a great way to enjoy time with friends and family.