Colorado

93 – Castlewood Canyon

I recall hiking the trails through Castlewood Canyon once years ago when the snow was close to knee high, but this time not only was there fresh snow, but the temperature was nine degrees when we began our hike – and by the time we finished, had fallen to zero. These were extreme temperatures to be hiking in, but we were prepared. We layered up and headed out.

Castlewood Canyon trailhead . . .

Castlewood Canyon trailhead . . .

Go here – http://www.parks.state.co.us/PARKS/CASTLEWOODCANYON/TRAILS/Pages/castlewood%20trails.aspx –  to see all the trail options through Castlewood Canyon. We covered them all except the last mile of the Lake Gulch Trail. Kent took this photo of me up along the Rimrock Trail. With a couple of inches of new snow on top of a layer of ice, I dared not venture too close to the edge of that rimrock as the drop down to the canyon floor looked a bit frightening, but how refreshing to be standing there under that big blue sky.

(pic by Kent) . . . along the Rim Trail

(pic by Kent) . . . along the Rim Trail

Here I look up at what remains of the historic dam along the Dam Trail. That dam broke many years before, flooding Cherry Creek and the surrounding valley all the way into the city of Denver.

(pic by Kent) at the historical dam . . .

(pic by Kent) at the historical dam . . .

This is the old homestead along the Homestead Trail. By this time, we could tell that the temperature was dropping fast, and portions of the trail were nothing but a sheet of ice so decided it was a good time to turn around and call it a day.

The old homestead . . .

The old homestead . . .

Cutting through the valley floor, we passed several deer. They watched us as we walked by, probably surprised to see people along the trails on such a chilly day.

Wildlife . . . along the trail

Wildlife . . . along the trail

Crossing the last of the bridges over Cherry Creek on our way back to the trailhead.

Another bridge over Cherry Creek . . .

Another bridge over Cherry Creek . . .

Castlewood Canyon is a great place to visit and I highly recommend a hike there if you find yourself in the Denver area looking for a place to spend a few hours. More information on the park can be found here – http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/castlewoodcanyon/Pages/CastlewoodCanyonHome.aspx.

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92 – Red Rock Canyon

In Colorado Springs to hike the trails at Garden of the Gods (See Hike #91 – Garden of the Gods) while visiting relatives in Denver, we learned of the new Red Rock Canyon Open Space so stop by their information office and got trail information so we could hike and explore the area.

Getting info on the trail . . .

Getting info on the trail . . .

An old quarry remained and after reading about its history, we climbed the steeped steps to have a good look around.

Climbing steps to the old quarry

Climbing steps to the old quarry

Huge cuts remained where giant slabs of red rock had been manually cut out and loaded on horse-drawn carts. Hauled to Denver, many buildings today have carved blocks and trim from that quarry. It seemed incredible to think about the weight of just one of those giant blocks of rock and the effort it must have taken to load one of those blocks up on cart. We climbed up on some of those cut out areas and looked out at the giant quarry. Absolutely amazing!

Exploring the quarry . . .

Exploring the quarry . . .

Back on the trail, we worked our way around the canyon, sometimes gaining in elevation  for a great view of the valley below, then would head back down to the canyon floor.

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

It being December, someone had hung a holiday ornament near the bench on this trail, aptly named the Contenplation Trail.

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

The red rock of this canyon is part of the same vein of red rock at Garden of the Gods, and like the unusual rock formations at Garden of the Gods, there were some here as well.

The Red Rock Canyon walls . . .

The Red Rock Canyon walls . . .

Here’s Kathleen at the end of the trail. Yeah, she made it!

The end of the trail . . .

The end of the trail . . .

For more information on the Red Rock Canyon, the old quarry and hiking trails, visit their website here – http://www.springsgov.com/page.aspx?navid=2090 .

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91 – Garden of the Gods

A trip to the Denver area does not seem complete without a visit to Garden of the Gods.

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

From easy to moderate in difficulty, miles of  trails take you past the incredible rock formations in the park.

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

Kent looks on in awe at the huge red rock formations.

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

As you can see, we had a great time!

(pic by Kathy) . . . along the trail

(pic by Kathy) . . . along the trail

For directions to the park and trail information, follow this link – http://www.gardenofgods.com/parkinfo/index_114.cfm.

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Categories: Colorado, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

90 – Spruce Mountain Loop

Visiting family for the holidays, we took to the trails under the beautiful blue Colorado sky. Here we are at the trailhead for the Spruce Mountain Loop at the Spruce Mountain Open Space with Kent’s sister, Kathleen.

Spruce Mountain Open Space . . . trailhead

Spruce Mountain Open Space . . . trailhead

Spruce Mountain is a 5.5 mile loop trail around a tree-covered mesa, wet meadows and rocky cliffs. Switchbacks led us to the top of the mesa where we had stunning views of the cliffs and distant mountains.

Switchbacks . . .Along the trail

Switchbacks . . .Along the trail

Here, Kathleen and I pose on the edge of a cliff. What a beautiful view of the valley below!

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

We reached Windy Pointand sat on the rocks looking out to Garden of the Gods in the distance as we ate lunch.

Picnic spot at Windy Point . . . along the trail

Picnic spot at Windy Point . . . along the trail

Such beautiful country, was great to be hiking there again!

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