Early season hiking options aplenty in Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

Early season hiking options aplenty in Routt County

Hikers walk by a cluster of wildflowers at Steamboat Lake State Park. Although some of the most popular hiking trails in Routt County remain muddy and snowpacked after a long winter, there are many early season hikes now open all across the county.
Courtesy Photo

Coulton Creek Trail

White-Crane writes in her popular "Hiking the 'Boat" book that the Coulton Creek trail, accessed off Seedhouse Road in North Routt County, "offers much solitude" as it takes hikers to the base of Farwell Mountain.

Another highlight?

Around early July, the hike offers views of wildflower meadows.

White-Crane advises the hike is not ideal for younger children as it starts out with some steep climbs.

How to get there: Take Routt County Road 129 north just past Clark and turn right on Seedhouse Road. Drive for 4.5 miles and turn left on FDR 429. Look for the trailhead in 0.1 mile.

Greenville Mine Road

This easy hike goes through a wide valley and ends with a view of the damage done to the Routt National Forest during the 1997 blowdown in the area. White-Crane writes that in the late 1880s, George Franz operated the Greenville mine that produced silver, lead, gold and copper.

How to get there: Take Routt County Road 129 north to Clark and turn right at the "Welcome to Clark" sign. Drive to a gate 3.9 miles ahead and continue on FDR 471 if the gate is open. Park where the road meets FDR 468. The trail starts ahead.

The hike: White-Crane writes that the trail splits, so head left and hike along Big Creek. The turnaround point for the hike comes when you reach the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area boundary sign.

Hahn's Peak

The payoff of this 4-mile roundtrip hike to the top of Hahn's Peak is hard to beat. The trail takes you up 1,600 feet to the summit at 10,839 feet.

How to get there: Take Routt County Road 129 to Columbine and turn right on FSR 490, just across the road from the Columbine General Store. Stay left on about a mile in and then make another left on FSR 418, where you'll soon come to the parking lot. The trail No. 1158 is marked Hahn's Peak Trail.

Closer to home

Those without the time to head north for some adventure can find it in Steamboat and to the south. Hikes with panoramic views of town are abundant on Emerald Mountain. You may have to fight for a parking space on Blackmer Drive, however.

More solitude can be found at the area's state parks, which host a wide range of events on weekends.

In Stagecoach, interpretive programs are held every weekend. They include such things as full-moon hikes and fishing programs.

Look for the programs on the park's Facebook page or call 970-736-2436 for more information.

Steamboat Lake State Park (970-879-3922) in North Routt County and Yampa River State Park (970-276-2061) to the west also host a range of events and offer plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities.

— If you’re tired of getting stopped by traffic on the Yampa River Core Trail or if you’re just looking for a change of scenery during your afternoon workout, Diane White-Crane has some good news for you.

The local hiking expert said Friday that she and other hikers are starting to get up to the summit of Hahn’s Peak.

Sure, you’ll still have to walk over some snow at the top, but one of the greatest workouts in Routt County comes with one of the greatest payoffs in the form of a stellar panoramic view.

“Even if you don’t feel comfortable going to the top yet and you don’t want to go over the snow, you can still get fantastic views three-quarters of the way up,” White-Crane said.

Abundant snow this winter means there still are places in the county that are muddy and packed with snow.

White-Crane, for instance, isn’t starting to think of hiking to places like Devil’s Causeway just yet.

Along with Hahn’s Peak, there are many other hikes that now are available to replace a more typical workout near home.

Here are a few early hiking season options White-Crane recommends that are ready to be explored and off the beaten path.

The regular hiking warnings apply to these hikes and others in the area during this time of year. Many creeks and rivers are running swiftly and should not be crossed.

And if hiking Hahn’s Peak, do not summit if thunderstorms are a threat.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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