The Saint Francis Nature Path is a 1 mile loop around the area of the tree farm. It has an elevation gain/loss of 77 feet and takes approximately a half an hour to hike.
Start at RHQ Cafeteria and look for trail sign towards the tree farm. Currently there are white flags to mark the trail. When you walk around the loop, always keep the flags on the inside. Recommended direction is clock-wise to keep a smoother flow (and there’s no need to double the number of signs).
Start of trail when looking from the Cafeteria – there will be a sign here eventually:
What you see when you start out on the trail (in the summer!):
There are some benches along the trail. After ¼ mile, you will see the statue of Saint Francis sitting on a log on the left side of the trail:
At the top of the trail, there is another bench with two praying angels on each side on pillars. This is a great place to view the RHQ area from higher ground.
You also have a nice view of the often snow-covered Sheep Mountain. (10,556’, 3,217m.):
You continue the trail across a dirt road and into Mother Mary’s Grotto. The trail comes within 30’ of the Mother Mary statue:
Then the trail departs the grotto and follows a line of trees until it crosses a bridge over an irrigation creek. 100 feet after the bridge crossing, there is trail on your left going down the hill and across a road to our Buddha Meditation Point. There are two benches facing the Buddha, and Mol Heron Creek is flowing behind.
Always watch where you place your feet since the ground is uneven. Even if we do our best to keep the trail free from rocks etc., the animals kick new objects onto the trail. You can help by removing objects from the trail that might pose a danger. Always leave a trail in better condition than it was when you stepped onto it.
In this wilderness setting, the presence of gentle and some more dangerous animals is a possibility so be alert and prepared. (Yellowstone National Park has good resources on area wildlife and common precautions.) Bring sun protection and a wind jacket since weather can change with very little notice.