One of the highest peaks in Central, Hodge's Hills is an excellent day hike for the moderate hiker. The terrain is not the easiest, but it certainly isn't the most difficult hike of all time. Sturdy weather/ waterproof hiking boots are probably preferred to sneakers. Moisture is a common element on many portions of the trail, as are wet rocks. There are a number of different routes to the summit, to my understanding, but I will direct one that begins with woods roads and utilizes a atv/snowmobile trail to traverse the wooden part of the hike, giving way to the rocky barren peak of the hill. Lots of potential for wildlife sightings, although my bulldozer of a dog probably scared off anything in ear-shot. This is an excellent hike to do with your dog off-leash. It offers amazing 360 degree views of Central, I hope to camp near the summit next Summer, hopefully on a clear, large moon night. I have a feeling it will be really nice up there.
18 km West of Grand Falls- Windsor, approx. 8 km East of Badger. Directly across the road from the Riverfront Chalets (shout-out!) on the "Aspen Brook Resource Road (sign). Travel up this road for 8 km. The road is in pretty good shape, so you shouldn't be concerned with a car. You will know you are close after you come to and drive along the shore of Cornfield Lake. About 500m from the waterfront, you will come to a branching road to your right, take that. If you have more than one vehicle, you should park at the intersection. If it's just one car continue up the road to the right for maybe another 500m until you see a parking spot to your right. If you come to a pretty steep and rocky incline, you've gone to far. Return to the parking spot and park there. Do not block the road.
Hike along woods road. You may run into some atvers as there are cabins in the area. You will want to take your 3rd left. At this turn, you should be looking almost directly at Hodge's Hills. Continue along this road for a couple kms, until you come to a little clearing on a small hilltop. Please feel free to take advantage of the marginally awesome rock reststop I have built 50 ft from the road in the clearing. This is a good opportunity to rehydrate or take a washroom break before the more serious hiking starts. Shortly after the reststop, you will cross a small bridge, then you will want to take the marked snowmobile trail 20m ahead to you right.
This trail is rocky and is usually wet, so be aware of your foot placement. I utilized my hiking poles for this section for just a little added stability. Continuing along this trail, apart from a few small forks which reconnect withinin 50 ft, your next stop will be breaking out of the woods to the rocky hilltop.
There is plenty of exploring to be done at or around the summit. Be careful for a number of very sharp cliff edges towards your left (as you stand and climb towards the summit). I hiked it in early fall, and a t-shirt was plenty during the hike, but you may want another layer when you break out onto the rocky top.
There is an open communication shed at the top, which can offer some shelter if the weather turns quickly. A fine spot to escape the likely wind while you have a lunch. There are plenty of large rocks around, and many people build things. Be careful walking past them if the wind is strong. I will be trying this hike again this Winter on snow-shoe, although I do not know if I will be able to get into Cornfield Lake in vehicle then.
Certainly one of the best day hikes I've ever done in Central and cannot wait to do it again. I would liken it to a shorter Green Gardens hike, with the Gros Morne summit landscape at the top. Please remember to pack it in, pack it out. Hike on!
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