Weatherford's Little Treat
This fantastic lasso loop is formed by a section of the Weatherford Trail combining an unmarked but fairly obvious side-trail that parallels the Weatherford Trail. The side-trail intersects the Weatherford at two different junctions, so it is up to you to decide which way to take. My preference is to take the Weatherford all the way up to the second junction and save the best for the way back down, so that is how I will write the directions for the hike. The first junction is extremely obvious, take that one if you like!
Head up the Weatherford Trail taking special care to enjoy the early diversity of open meadows, plentiful wildflowers, and old growth ponderosa pines. Approximately 3/4 of a mile into the hike you will notice the very obvious first junction spurring to the right with a sign indicating the official Weatherford route is to the left. Veering left you will pass the first grove aspens before you reach the intersection with the Kachina Trail about 1.7 miles in. Be sure to stay on the Weatherford and head up into the second grove of aspens and the lower reaches of Weatherford Canyon. The aspens will close in and thicken up before opening up to a meadow. When you reach the register its time to stop and look for the second junction. Its obvious if you look for it, but not if you have your head down as you fly up the trail. In my opinion, the Weatherford is a top notch trail, but at this second junction starts the most magical section of trail in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. At first fern are overgrown and brushing at your shins while a moderately spread out section of aspens is intermingled with a few gorgeous old growth pines. Aspen Spring is located along this section. A meadow opens up but soon collapses into an incredibly dense yet powerfully majestic grove of Aspens that seems to go on forever. When you finally exit that thicket you will be back to the first junction with the Weatherford, and unfortunately just a short distance to your car. This is a short but incredibly sweet little hike, but you'll want to give yourself some extra time because it's impossible not to stop and little on a log and take in the majesty of lower Weatherford Canyon. This ain't a hike to set speed records on!
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.