Relatively easy loop across face of Tremont Mtn. in the Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Dense pine forest interspersed with (seasonal Fall) golden aspen trees. This morning's hike was enhanced by the coral pink colors that painted the trail and forest as the morning sun reflected off some low hanging clouds.
Moderate 5 mile loop on well maintained interconnecting trails. Clockwise, the trail begins with constant drop to the canyon bottom, then proceeds up the other side along Ranger and Green Mountain trails. At the summit you have 360 degree views and a sighting disc to help ID the mountains in view. Lots of other opportunities for overlooks along the trail.
In this direction, you will encounter about 1/4 mile of moderately difficult climb to access the summit. Counterclockwise, the trail to the summit is much less strenuous, but the Long Canyon trail is a mile long ascent.
The entire route is through three covered forest, and makes for excellent early Fall exercise.
I encountered only a single runner along the trail this morning, which I found exceptionally surprising given that the trail head is so close to Boulder.
A 5 mile loop that provides a multitude of overlooks (City of Boulder), great exercise (1st mile is 1250+ climb) and mostly tree-covered trail. Note: The Lions Lair portion of this trek does NOT permit dogs (leashed or otherwise). This morning I encountered about a dozen hikers getting the "work out" on the in-out Mount Sanitas portion of the loop. Few continue along the "down" leg of the loop by taking Lions Lair.
Great views, easy to navigate and go early so as to avoid crowds. For the first half of the trek you will hear the constant flow of the spring below; look up and listen for the sound of the freight train traveling through the tunnels and across the open area connecting the peaks. Don't forget to look for the unmarked trail about 1/2 way through the upper loop. It will take you to stunning views of the Continental Divide (even in July there are snow-capped peaks)
Began at the trailhead and proceeded about 3.5 miles to Meyers Gulch. Followed portion of the Walker Ranch Loop trail up from the creek and over the ridge for a short while. Returned to top of "staircase" and then bushwhacked along South Boulder Creek but found it slow going navigating along the western side of creek. Returned via Eldorado Canyon trail.
A comparatively "easy" hike (in relation to many Colorado trails noted for serious grades and elevation changes) this trek alongside Wagner Ranch, west of the city of Boulder, was an ideal choice. Fall colors were at their peak, and starting out early meant I had the trail to myself. The reward of the inbound leg was fantastic views of the Indian Peak Wilderness to the west and (below) Boulder Canyon. I didn't see much wildlife along this two-track abandoned dirt road (beyond the occasional flutter of local birds) until 1/2 way on the return leg, when a group of some 8-10 mule deer spotted me, and deciding I posed no threat, proceeded to parallel my path for some way through the forest at a distance of not more than 15 feet. Add about .2 mile to your hike in order to visit the barn. The drive up and over Flagstaff Mtn., alone, is worth the trip as long as you travel before the weekday hiking crowds arrive all along the six mile roadway leading out of the city center.
Autumn Foliage ObservationSubstantial Lots of golden Aspen whose leaves had not yet begun to fall; golden, red, yellow and orange grasses. Wild berries and flowering "weeds" along the path.
Easy to moderate (due to length) hike with relatively little elevation change (This IS Colorado, and the hike unlike many other mountain hikes in the Front Range in that respect). The total distance encompasses two circular routes (Benjamin Loop & Canyon Loop) connected by a .75 mile link. It is essentially what can be described as a trail designed for mountain bikes (and, thankfully, on Wednesday and Friday, those bikes are prohibited). Great scenery throughout the trail, but better portions are on the Benjamin Loop. If you're tired from hiking up mountains in the Boulder area, give this trail a try.
Autumn Foliage ObservationNone Mid-September it has thus far remained warm and Autumn Foliage is only beginning to show.
Even before arriving at the parking area, I was "greeted" by a huge bull moose not more than 10 feet from my vehicle. The trail is well-maintained and is heavily forested through the trek to Mitchell Lake. Once at the lake, depart the trail for a short distance in order to fully appreciate its span and the talus slopes that descend to its shoreline. Returning to the trail I continued the ascent up to and above the treeline, all the while listening to the waters that flow from Blue Lake; and, eventually spotting the lake itself after yet another rise in the trail. The trail itself ends at the lake, but skirting the water's edge I could continue up to the glacier. The vegetation at this elevation is low and dense in spots, clearly indicating I had entered into another climate zone. I passed fewer than half-dozen fellow hikers, but imagine the weekends are more popular. Given the relative remoteness of the area, I had expected to encounter more wildlife; but, all-in-all the proximity of that moose was enough for one day. This trail is definitely worth the effort expended, and I plan to return.
The trails around Thetis Lake and nearby consist of well-maintained (partially "paved")main routes which are marked. There are also innumerable unmarked trails through dense foliage and which connect either to the main trails and/or nearby local roads.
I haven't posted the GPS tracks. No GPS is required, although some of the marked trails have confusing signage and you should have a general idea of which they are (or a map of the Regional Park). Elevation changes throughout the trail system are minimal and consist of mostly short up-and-down hills. Despite close proximity to the suburban neighborhoods, I found the trails nearly devoid of man or beast on weekday mornings.
This was a wonderful change from desert hiking with lots of greenery, and very little by the way of obstacles. You can avoid the $2.25 per day parking fee by taking advantage of parking along Highland Road (off the pavement) and entering the park (as well as Pike Lake and McKenzie Lake)via the trails which terminate along that road.
Although Thetis Lake is the primary trail, I found the more northern trails in and about the park to be of greater interest. Easy hiking, with surprisingly ample solitude.
Began a loop hike at the Tomahawk Mine and proceeded along a wash just northeast of the location of the former mine. The wash follows a fairly straight path northeast until it finally connects with Cottonwood Spring Road. I then turned south and returned to the point of departure along FR3512 and easterly on FR1356. This 4 mile loop provides some interesting points through the wash which has relatively little catclaw or other vegetation to impeded your progress. A leisurely, quiet hike providing an enjoyable morning.
Decided upon a loop hike including the Dynamite Trail. Area has relatively little blooming flowers when compared with other desert hiking in Goldfields or Supes. If you're concerned with running into a diamondback, this hike is for you. Trails are wide enough for a jeep in most places and no critter can cross your path without being seen well in advance. Other than the "loose rock" climb/descent across "Goldmine Mtn", Peak 2374, this hike was relatively easy and not particularly interesting.
Hiking 2 days ago left me with the distinct impression that the desert was about to "bloom". this morning was the explosion of poppies sure to come after the rains of previous weeks. I took the "long way" around to reach the slickrock home of the arches and meandered, through "meadow upon meadow" of Mexican Poppies and violet ??'s. The surrounding hills were covered with green (soon to become dried brush) and the slickrock was a warm yellow in the morning sunshine. Just a totally great morning for a desert hike.
This is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining hikes you can take for so little distance covered. Once you leave the floor of White Canyon and begin to scramble among, over, under and through the boulders which choke the mid-to-upper reaches of the canyon, each turn becomes an adventure. The group I led today enjoyed the mildly-strenuous (for seniors)climb in what turned out to be an excellent weather morning. Would have gone farther had time permitted; but, any distance is worth the effort.
Weather was just perfect for today's hike. We took a counterclockwise loop beginning with Bluff Spring Trail, up the Terrapin Trail and then turning west onto the Weaver Needle Crosscut. After a couple of "ups and downs" the trail connects with East Boulder Canyon by taking a nearly "vertical plunge". It's about as close to canyoneering as one can get without actually needing technical equipment. Saw only one other couple until we reached Fremont Saddle. But we did see three different faces of the Needle.
Decided to take a round about loop and wound up bagging 4 arches including 2 unnamed arches, Checkmate Arch and the 4-holed Golden Eye. Not a bad morning for a quiet hike. Attached GPS route is a circuitous loop beginning near Javelina Mine Trail and SR88.
Saw quite a few "winter visitors" on the trail out to the old town site of Reymert. This place is loaded with history and provides a fitting terminus to a hike through the washes from Cottonwood Canyon Road. On the way back, I visited the "Sugar Shack" which remains stocked with "groceries", a comfortable bed, time to imagine another era when mining was the predominant thought on one's mind. This is not the most beautiful of landscapes; it is rough and rocky, but there are myriads of trails to trek in the quest of hidden mine adits. The area provides an historical vista of "what it was once like in the wild west". I noticed that one or two of the adits I was able to enter in past outings have since been closed or filled in by the BLM- another sign of the times.
Terrific morning to go an find the Sunset Arch. This little gem is impossible to spot from SR88 despite the fact that you are looking right at it. Poised in a west-southwest direction, it becomes apparent as you take the clockwise route up and over a short string of peaks to the north of that one which houses the arch. Scrambling up and down loose rock was preferable to hacking through the vegetation in the washes. Definitely a hike worth the effort.
Great morning for this hike. Since I was under some time constraints and hiking solo, I opted to explore the ridge rather than go all the way up to the summit. Rather than employ the posted GPS route, I drew my own using a satellite image and topo map. As you might suspect, the trek up the south-western slopes of the ridge provided fantastic exercise; but, fortunately the trail along the ridgeline is easy to find (in places the ridge itself is no more than 30 feet wide). My return route was down the ridgeline but toward the south-eastern end the cairns disappeared forcing me to navigate amongst lots of loose rock. As I made my way back down it became apparent that the slope is subject to constant weather erosion as rocks and dirt in many areas appeared new to the neighborhood. Even the faint game trails looked as though they were only recently engineered by the "Wildlife Construction Co.". Nevertheless, this is a "must do" hike with terrific views, solitude and a chance to spot the wildlife down below.
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.