Colorado Trail Trip Report

Day 1 - Segment 1

9 miles

June 5, 2012

Waterton Canyon to Bear Creek

Day 1 Profile

CT Day 1
Day 1 Google Maps Terrain
Google Maps Terrain

My wife and I drove from Minnesota to Colorado, which meant that I didn't need to worry about shipping my gear. After visiting with my family for a couple of days, they dropped me off at the starting point for the Colorado Trail, Waterton Canyon. The trailhead at Waterton Canyon is also a very popular starting point for bicyclists and day hikers. There is a large parking area at the Trailhead.

After taking the customary pictures at the trailhead sign, I was off!

It was a late start (noon) but the first 6.5 miles were almost level on a dirt road, so I knew I would make great time. The trail/road meanders along the river for the first 6 miles.

  Randy at the start of the Colorado Trail
Waterton Canyon

Not the most scenic, but the sheep made up for the lack of scenery! (I mistakenly called them mountain goats in my videos) I saw a male bighorn sheep about 20 feet up the side of the hill, and then realized that the rest of his herd was a hundred feet or so down the road. As I approached, they were completely relaxed and didn't leave the road. I was able to get within 10 feet! The alpha male had an amazing fully curved horn. I was thinking that if he decided to challenge me I was going to be on the losing side of that encounter. Two younger males did the head butt thing, which was cool to watch.

Bighorn Sheep
  Bighorn Sheep
This guy looked tough

At the end of the 6.5 mile dirt road, there are picnic tables, a bathroom, and a side road on the right that leads to the dam that holds in the water in the resevoir. You can't get to the base of the dam, since it is fenced, but it is still pretty unnerving thinking of the wall of water towering above you being held in by that concrete!

Road ends and "trail" starts
  A lot of water being held behind that wall!
Trail was well marked

  The trail becomes a true trail at this junction and starts a stiff climb. This is the last water until you reach Bear Creek. I carried 2 liters on this section of trail. It was cloudy and warm all day, but no rain. One memorable location is "Lenny's Rest". A bench and monument to the loss of an 18 year old to a hiking accident. Sobering, and it made me appreciate the fact that I was still able to hike and see this, and that hiking is not without risk.

  Shaded forest trail
Near Lyell Fork bridge
  Lenny's Rest

I hiked to Bear Creek and made camp. Even with the late start I made camp by 5pm

The campsite is right by the creek, and in a decent spot. Pizza for dinner! Real pizza. I brought Boboli crust, pepperoni, cheese, and Boboli sauce. Used foil to wrap the pizza and cooked it over my canister stove. Worked fine, but it took a while and used a fair amount of fuel. Would have been better over a campfire... Tasted excellent!

  Trail just past Lenny's Rest
Near Lyell Fork bridge
  Campsite at Bear Creek

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