Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Stone House Trail (Wadsworth to Estes)
Bear Creek Greenbelt
Date Hiked: October 29, 2014
Distance: 2.3 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 300ft
Elevation Min/Max: 5,338 to 5,465ft
Managing Agency: City of Lakewood Parks
Bear Creek Greenbelt Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: The trailhead is located at the Stone House Parking Area on Estes Street. From Wadsworth Blvd, turn East on Yale Ave and South on Estes St.
Denver has many greenbelts, Cherry Creek, S. Platte, Clear Creek...but the greenbelt along Bear Creek may just be my favorite. The open space park between Wadsworth Blvd and Estes Street along Bear Creek is a great place for a nice, easy, and surprisingly scenic hike. From the parking area, the trail follows the north shore of a large pond, crosses a bridge and enters an open meadow. Cross another bridge and turn a corner to reach the second pond. When you reach the far side of the pond you'll come to a 4 way intersection. Heading left takes you to a small boardwalk crossing a wetland area. Go straight to follow Bear Creek to Wadsworth Blvd. Cross a bridge just before the Wadsworth Overpass and head back west. You can pick up the Stone House Trail here as it parallels the Bear Creek Trail. While the Bear Creek Trail is a paved biking path, the Stone House Trail caters more to hikers. The dirt trail takes you along the shore of Bear Creek and in the fall, the colors are fantastic. Keep following the Stone House Trail making sure that you take a few of the small side trails to explore Bear Creek. Once you get back to the parking area (about a mile from Wadsworth) you'll cross another bridge and find yourself back where you started.
Again, this is a beautiful area and if you want a longer hike, try following the Stone House Trail west. It will lead you through more cottonwood forests, cross Bear Creek many times and eventually (about 3 miles in) take you to Bear Creek Lake Park and the summit of Mt. Carbon.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Silver Cascade Falls
North Cheyenne Canon Park
Date Hiked: Oct. 13, 2014
- Distance: .8 mi (RT)
- Elevation Gain: 547ft
- Elevation Min/Max: 7,162 to 7,703ft
- Managing Agency: City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services
- Fee: None
Silver Cascade Falls Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From I-25, take Exit 140B and follow the signs to North Cheyenne Canon Park. make a right onto W. Cheyenne Road and follow the road to a large sign for the park. Turn right into North Cheyenne Canon and drive up the road until you reach the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center.
The Silver Cascade Falls Trail is an easy, popular trail that focuses on two beautiful waterfalls. The trail starts at Helen Hunt Falls (no, it's not named after the actress) and follows a well maintained, but steep and times, trail up the creek that feeds the falls. As you follow the trail you leave the creek feeding Helen Hunt Falls and start following the steep dome-like slickrock of Silver Cascade Falls. After a short hike you'll wind up at the top of Silver Creek Falls at a brick overlook with a wonderful view back east over North Cheyenne Canon.
If you are feeling more adventurous, follow the unofficial trail up from the overlook. Before you reach the overlook you'll pass over a small wooden foot bridge. Just before this bridge the trail will head off to the right towards the small waterfall. To the right of the falls is a rocky, steep trail. Take this trail up-canyon and you'll trace the creek feeding into Silver Cascade Falls. You'll reach a large rock dome and eventually Gold Camp Road and the closed tunnel. Following the trail to the road gets you almost .5 mi but with 500ft of elevation gain. This spot on Gold Camp Road is also the start of the St. Mary's Falls trail which I am eager to explore in the future.