Sunday, May 5, 2013
Colorado Trail Seg. #1, S. Platte River to Strontia Reservoir View
Colorado Trail Segment #1
South Platte River to Strontia Reservoir View
Pike National Forest
Date Hiked: May 5, 2013
Distance: 8.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 1,993ft
Elevation Min/Max: 5,983 to 7,537ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.400245 N; 105.167679 W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
CO Trail Seg. 1 Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From Denver, take Hwy 285 South to S. Foxton Road. Follow Foxton Road through Reynolds Park till you hit the S. Platte River. Turn east and follow W. Platte River Road through a small town to the Gudy Gaskill Bridge and the Colorado Trail Trailhead. This hike heads east along the Colorado Trail and starts across the street from the Bridge.
The Colorado Trail may stretch all the way from Durango to Denver, but hiking portions of the trail can result in a wonderful day hike. This stretch is a good example of this. The trail is very well maintained and easy to follow, although you gain almost 2,000 feet in 4 miles, the grade is very gentle resulting in a long hike that feels short.
The trail switchbacks up the west slope of the hillside offering great views of Raleigh Peak and the Cathedral Spires to the west and Scraggy Peak to the south. The first portion of the hike travels through a recovering wildfire burn area, then enters the forest for the remainder of the hike. Once you top out, you'll see a large rock outcropping, scramble up this rock to reach your destination. From the top of the rock you'll be looking down on the Strontia Reservoir at the end of Waterton Canyon. It is still about 5 miles further to the Reservoir so this is the turnaround point for this hike. Just a quick taste of the Colorado Trail but there are small segments like this that can be hiked all through the front range leading to Kenosha Pass and beyond.