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  • Aria Zoner

Signs on The Hot Springs Trail Explained

Although there are no signs officially marking The Hot Springs Trail, there are plenty of existing signs indicating whether or not you’re on the right track. Learn about the different types of signs here and use them as you progress on what has been called by its creator “a wild overland journey across a landscape that few people have ever explored, much less connected as a single journey.” A journey that could quickly get shut down if you get lost.

So pay attention...

The worst kind of sign to see on The Hot Springs Trail


Signs on The Hot Springs Trail


During a journey on the Hot Springs Trail, there are 10 types of signs that can let you know you're on the right track.

1. Actual Signs

These kind of signs oftentimes contain keywords that are found in the Official Guidebook and are usually only seen when you’re in close proximity to a town.


2. Warning Signs

At the current moment, these kind of signs are seen periodically but when traveling on foot or by bike the obstacles that they warn of do not present any problems or issues.


3. Closure Signs

Follow instructions on these kind of signs and act according to the circumstances of the moment.


4. Blazes

These kind of signs indicate that you’re on a designated National Historic, National Recreation, or National Scenic Trail and are each unique in their color and design.


5. Junction Markers

These kind of signs usually indicate a trail junction and are typically seen in the wilderness and National Park sections of the trail.


6. Saw Cuts

When traveling on trails, make sure to be both mindful of and grateful for these kind of signs. At times they will be saviors of the adventure and the only indications that you’re on a trail.


7. Rock Cairns

*Please do not build new rock cairns while out hiking on this trail.

When I was designing the HST, I found signs of trail along all of the current XC’s that are recommended along the way:

  • In the Sespe it was twisted branches and saw-cuts from man, pushed down grass (mainly from bears!), and occasional rock cairns.

  • In the San Antonio it was a natural drainage that water uses when it rains followed by sky piercing rock stacks that were already there, likely made but by Basque herders.

  • In the Diamonds it was wild horse trails.

Each XC has its own story as to why it is used and routed the way it is. Utilize these kind of signs while traveling XC on the HST and you should be able to surpass them not just in good time, but in good company.


8. Interpretive Signs

Every now and then you’ll see one of these signs. When you do, take a moment and use them to learn a few things about the area that you’re traveling thru and you’ll see why this trial is awesome, for more than just the hot springs.


9. Billboards

No interpretation needed on this one, right?


10. Other Signs

There are other signs to keep an eye out for too while traveling on The Hot Springs Trail, such as:

  • Tree Candles

  • Trail Recess

  • Ribbons/flagging

  • Campsites

  • Wildlife (scat, tracks, nests)

  • No Trespassing Signs

All of which have been mentioned in the guidebooks where relevant.


In Summary:

Looking for the ultimate sign on the HST...that's the one you do in the summit register of Montgomery Peak - the highest point on The Hot Springs Trail!

Good luck and be safe out there!

Signing off,

Aria Zoner



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