Friday, June 25, 2010

Indian Peak Wilderness, Jenny Creek Trail

It has been way too long since I have posted a hiking blog!  All of my other crafting duties have taken me away from my first love which is hiking.  I was so excited to get into the mountains and hike on Tuesday that I left my map and directions at home.  So, I ended up hiking at the Eldora Ski Resort on the Jenny Creek Trail.   There is parking and a sign for this trail just before the main entrance of the ski resort which starts at 9200 feet.  The trail winds up the mountain on the dirt road through the ski resort, eventually the trail will take you past the resort into the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  The views along the way are priceless and there are lots of wildflowers and places to stop and sit and take in the views. 

Getting there:  The best directions to reach the hike are on the Eldora Ski Resort website; it's easy to find the trailhead, it's on your left just before you enter the resort.  There is a small parking lot with a trail map.  I actually had a hard time reading the trail map, it was hand drawn and not easy to read, but I think I managed to stay on the trail which just winds up the mountain along the dirt service road for the resort.  This should not deter you from hiking here, however, the views along the hike are incredible, and once you reach the top of the mountain, the trail continues into the Indian Peak Wilderness. 
There were no restrooms or other facilities at the trailhead, but if you really needed to go, the Eldora resort did have minimal staff, and I am sure there were facilities to be used.  Otherwise, the town of Nederland is just a short 10 minute drive away. 

The Journey: I managed to leave my map book and directions at home, as I rushed out of the house eager to hit the mountainside.  After I realized this, I continued to drive out to Eldora, where I had planned to hike.  I wasn't able to locate my original hike without the directions, and I took a wrong turn and drove up the mountain to the Eldora Ski Resort.  To my surprise, there was a trailhead right in the resort, and I decided to stop and hike there.  The map in the small parking lot indicated that the Jenny Creek trail continued up the mountain of the resort, I followed where the signs pointed and did indeed see a Jenny Creek Trail #808 sign.  I followed the signs and arrows until I reached the service road of the resort.  After this, I did not see any more signs for the trailhead, and I continued up the dirt road of the mountain.  All along the way there are incredible views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, high altitude lakes, waterfalls and rivers. 
The dogs and I stopped for lunch with some incredible views of the high mountains in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  It really made me excited to climb a 14er, but that will have to wait until after our trip back to Michigan. 
We reached the top of the mountain which is 10,800 feet and the dirt road turns into a trail, which continues into the Indian Peaks Wilderness toward the big mountains.  The elevation continued to climb until we were nearly above the treeline and we were hiking on the rocks.  I continued to hike on this trail for about 30 minutes before it was time to turn around and head back home. 
I would guess the trail continues into the wilderness beyond, it continued as far as I could see and was an easy trail to follow.  
The temperature was continuing to rise and the dogs were getting very hot as we turned around to hike back down the mountain; fortunately after hiking to a lower elevation, there were several small lakes the dogs could cool off in.  We made it back to the car about 5 hours after we started hiking, but I did sit in the grass and ate lunch at about 10,000 feet and then journaled for about 40 minutes before continuing on my hike. 
If you have hiked this trail or any in the area of Indian Peaks Wilderness, I'd love to hear your comments and remarks.

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