It's been a while since I have had time to hike and post! The hiatus has been a combination of the cold blizzard-like weather, and finishing up the last weeks of my day job to focus on my writing and arts. I am looking forward to posting a new hike or adventure at least twice a week.
Because it has been so long since we have hiked, Josh and I wanted to do a new hike in an area that we haven't been before. After searching online with no luck, we set off in the general direction of southwest to see where we would end up! Our destination ended up being the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation area in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest. You can find more information here.
Getting there: The hike is located southwest of the Denver Metro area outside of the small town called Sedalia which is 30 miles from Denver at the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation area. From Sedalia, turn right onto CO- 67 South toward Deckers or Pine Nook. Drive 8.6 miles on 67 into the teeny town of Pine Nook, which consists of a general store only. About 1.5 miles past Pine Nook turn left onto Rampart Range Road. In the winter, this road is closed shortly after the turnoff, park in the large parking lot here with pit toilets and a pay phone.
The Journey: When we found the trailhead in my Colorado Recreation atlas and map (which is a great resource), we were near Sedalia Colorado and we drove west toward the mountains. It was sunny and warm day in Golden, and the snow was melting quickly; but as we entered the first canyon in the mountains outside of Sedalia we noticed that there was a lot of snow at the higher elevation. I
mean, a LOT of snow! I didn't know if we could find a trail that would be packed down enough to even hike.
We continued driving until we reached our destination; I didn't expect to find a packed trailhead with motorized snowmobiles, 4-wheelers, bikes, and more! My husband thought it was very cool, but I was less excited to hike with dogs where there were people on 4-wheelers. However, the trail appeared promising. After a quick stop at the restroom, we continued down the trail. There were several trails to choose from, and no main map that I noticed, for the trails. The motorized vehicles mainly traveled down the closed Rampart Range Road. However, some traveled down the trails which made the trail packed down and much easier to hike.
The only trail signs we noticed along the hike were small signs (see photo to left) that told you the difficulty level of the trail. This trail was the easiest with the green dot, blue is moderately difficult and black is the most difficult.
The trails were well marked with these small signs and tree markers pointing the trail user in the correct direction.
The area has many, many miles of hiking that would be great for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities. The trails were mainly under the canopy of trees, and with the recent snowfall, the hike was like a winter wonderland! We continued
hiking up and down the hilly trail with our hiking poles and dogs for over 2 hours. We only passed a couple of motor vehicles along the way, but heard many of them driving down the road to our south. At one point we ventured off the trail to check out some views and ended up hiking in snow past our knees deep! The dogs could barely walk in it, and our little dog Belle had a really tough time. But it was sure fun to play in the snow!
On our way back, we decided to walk out on the road to make better time. Along the way we passed many very large, unique rock formations. We also passed several camping signs just off the road and I plan on coming back this summer to camp and hike these beautiful trails in the summer months with the wildflowers blooming. Also, my map book locates many other trails in this area further down Rampart Range road, some of which connect to the Colorado Trail; and even more hikes farther down highway 67. We had such a fun day driving around to find this hike, which opened many new outdoor hiking possibilities in the future.
To see more information on the motorized vehicle recreation area click here.
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