I have had my sights on this trail now for about a year after seeing some beautiful photosets and great triplogs for the area . So Hike ARIZONA put this on the radar for me lol.
Longwinded back story-
I really wanted to do a backpacking trip in Colorado and Chicago basin seemed like an ideal location. I would have been fine with Chicago basin via purgatory trail however we opted for the train and 9L made arrangements for the train to Needleton via Silverton. Anyhoo, some health and weather issues thwarted our initial train/backpacking plans. Instead we came to Colorado, set up a nice basecamp and opted for day hikes instead. Therefore this is how we ended up spending a nice day exploring the Purgatory trail and Animas trail afterall ~^^
A few miles in on the trail in Purgatory Flats we came across a young man leading a group of 14 year old backbackers. They paused to let us pass so we found out they were returning from a few days camping Chicago Basin! He used some descriptive word (that I cant recall) that made their stay in C.B. sound wet and uncomfortable. They also looked relieved when we told them they only had two miles to go to the top! lol.
After Purgatory Flats the trail follows Cascade Creek for a few miles along a nice ledgy trail with a steep drop off and scenic views of the Creek below. The trail quickly descends into a basin and river access leading to a footbridge. Great views here of the confluence of Cascade Creek and the Animas River. The river basin has some camp sites so we stopped for a break. Across the river a pair of white water kayakers come ashore for a break as well. It would have been cool to see them hit the rapids but they outbreaked us. The site proved to be a bit mosquito-y so I got anxious and decided to hit the trail again. The next stretch of trail brought us across the railroad and then followed some fast easy trail next to the Animas. Vegetation along this portion is incredibly lush and beautiful emerald green and there are great views of the Animas. We passed a couple of tents along the way. After about 2 miles we paused again for snacks before heading back the way we came. Near the Footbridge the rain started to pick up again. On the way out we passed a large group of backpackers and made good timing back to the T.H. Rain and mist was pretty on and off the whole way out but by the time I got back to the car the sun was shinning again.
I loved this trail~ it was a memorable day.