Nice Peak Views
The trail starts off as you enter the National Forest. There are a few buildings to the right and then you're in a nice grove of aspens. Despite the buildings there is a lot of color here: wildflowers in the spring and aspens in the fall. After a mile or so the trail crosses a creek and you see the sign that reads "Lovell Gulch Trail Loop" 3 3/4 miles. From here the trail begins to climb slowly. I recommend taking the loop counterclockwise so that the steeper sections are downhill.
Once on the loop the trail follows the creek upstream and through a nice meadow. There are plenty of tall trees, flowers, and tall grasses making this section the most scenic. After a little over a mile there is a short steep section and the trail leaves the creek and ascends to a junction where you begin to loop back down the way you came. At the halfway point there is a dirt road to the right and the trail continues on the left underneath some power lines for half a mile or so. You may consider turning around and going back through the meadow if you want to avoid walking by the power lines.
After walking directly under the power lines for a while you come to some spots where there are excellent views of Pike's Peak and good resting points for a snack or some lunch. The views are however somewhat obstructed by power lines. From there the trail descends more steeply than in rose on the way up as you wind your way back to the trailhead. You'll see a small house in the distance as you approach the loop sign. Overall this was a good hike without too much incline. The elevation can cause some shortness of breath if you aren't used to it but there are much higher hikes in the area. Enjoy!
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Pike FS Details
The first mile is nearly level, leading North out of Woodland Park along the edge of the timber. Then it crosses a stream and forks where a sign describes the loop ahead as being 3 3/4 miles. Turning right and traveling upstream along a narrow meadow for about 1.5 miles. Climbing to the top of the ridge, it loops back to the West along the ridge, offering spectacular views of Pikes Peak and Ute Pass. The descent from this ridge is the steepest section. Turn right at the fork and you are on your way back.
Camping is permitted at undeveloped sites along the trail. Camping is recommended 300' from any trail or stream. Campfire permits are not required but please be sure your fire is dead out before you leave. Use no-impact camping techniques. Pack it in/Pack it out rule applies. Respect other trail users.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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