The Gavilan Trail is a short but sweet trail in the newly formed Columbine Hondo Wilderness area. The trail takes you through an idyllic mixed forest of aspen and conifers as it climbs to an elevation of 11 thousand feet.
The trailhead for the Gavilan Trail (Spanish for sparrow hawk) is located on a nondescript pull out along state highway 150, or Ski Valley Road. The trail starts with a little climb and then does not really stop climbing until you reach the ridgeline and the trail's ending point at its intersection with the Lobo Peak Trail. There is some private property bordering the trail for the first few tenths of a mile, but you enter the wilderness relatively soon. The trail starts off as a very wide path, but narrows to a more traditional single track as it climbs through the dense forest. The climb is certainly relentless, but the liberal use of switchbacks make it a pretty manageable climb. However, there was one particular long straight section in the middle that had me yearning for a switchback. At just over a mile in there is a sign indicating a quarter mile detour to some waterfalls that are worth checking out. However, the true magic of this trail is its last mile where the forest gives way to some scenic meadows and great views of its neighboring wilderness to the southeast, Wheeler Peak.
Once you hit Lobo Peak Trail you can return the way you came, or utilize the ridgeline trail to hit nearly every other trail in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness for a looping day hike, or more ambitious backpack.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.