This weekend, we enjoyed the first warm Saturday in a long time by hiking Emerald Valley. I am currently using a huge folding map called the Pikes Peak Atlas by Robert Ormes and Robert Houdek (do they call themselves Bob & Bob, I wonder?) to find some new trails.
These are the directions on the map: Turn off Old Stage Road at the Emerald Valley Ranch sign and call out of courtesy. I’m not listing the phone number because when we called, the person was already quite tired of getting unwanted phone calls. Apparently, the trail is all public land and they really wished their number hadn’t been listed in the map.
So after a rather long slog on a dusty dirt road that winds and turns upward through the mountains, we found this gate and took it as a sign to park and hike.
The trail follows a water pipeline that runs under and next to the trail. It was quite a thrill to hear the water running through the pipe – especially when we couldn’t see the pipe as it was under the ground.
The trail winds back and forth in lazy fashion and crosses a creek many times. We followed it up through the valley through meadows and aspen groves. While the trees still didn’t have their leaves, I’m sure this area looks amazing in summer and fall.
Granite cliffs loomed up over the trees on the right as we hiked in.
As we turned a corner, we saw the remains of this structure … wonder if this was a homestead or something related to the water pipe?
We had to dodge butterflies on the trail.
Amazing, considering that just about a week ago, the St. Mary’s Falls trail looked like this!
What a difference a week can make in Colorado!