BELTON — Tucked away near the Stillhouse Hollow Lake Dam is Chalk Ridge Falls, a hiking trail that offers adventurers five miles worth of hiking trails over some wooden bridges and through the woods to a small waterfall.

The trail has been a hot spot for those looking to get out of the house ever since Governor Abbott opened up public parks. When my friend and I went to walk the trail, May 11, the parking lot was full, causing people to park near the road leading out of the parking lot. It was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. However, we managed to get lucky and grab a spot in the parking lot after someone left.

It had been a while since we had walked the trail last and it was nice to see that they had cleared out some areas, making things more visible. The trees that did cover the trail provided much needed shade from the sun, though thankfully it wasn’t as hot as when we walked the Nolan Creek Hike and Bike trail.

The small waterfall was nice because there was a good amount of water running through it. When it gets drier here in Central Texas there’s not much water, so it doesn’t look as exciting. Several people were playing in the water and taking photos in front of the waterfall.

The whole trail provides great spots for photo ops with several photographers using it as a backdrop for many different types of shoots. I was inspired by several locations and hopefully can do a creative shoot once everything returns to normal.

Though there were many families with small children walking the trail, I highly suggest being careful with small children on this trail. There may be some areas where it may be harder for them to get around, such as the in-ground stairs, and there are some areas around the waterfall that they could possibly fall from. As long as parents are attentive to their small children, they will also enjoy the trail like the other small children we saw.

My friend enjoyed the Chalk Ridge Falls trail more than the Nolan Creek Hike and Bike trail because it felt more adventurous. It definitely was when we tried to take a shortcut and had to cross a couple of water covered areas.

I almost fell backwards while trying to stand on a rock when it unexpectedly shifted. Thankfully my friend was there to help me keep my balance and not fall into the water. That’s why I also highly recommend walking the trail with at least one buddy. If you choose to take the more adventurous route like we did, you could find yourself in a sticky situation.

I highly recommend exploring Chalk Ridge Falls, especially if you’re a photographer. It offers plenty of opportunities to test your photography skills.