Showing posts from August, 2013

Kit Carson Peak & Challenger Point

Location: east of Crestone, Colorado
Dates: August 29-30, 2013
Overall distance: ~15 miles round trip (estimated)
Overall elevation gain: 6100 feet (estimated)

After spending the night at the Chalk Lake Campground near Buena Vista, I drove down to Crestone, Colorado to begin a two day backpacking trip during which I camped near Willow Lake and hiked to Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak. From Crestone I followed a fairly well maintained dirt road to the South Crestone trailhead. This road previously had signs saying that it was for four wheel drive vehicles only, but now (and even then) it is in good enough condition for all cars.

I left the trailhead at about 11:00 am and perhaps 100 feet thereafter reached the split of the trail to South Crestone Lake (to the northeast/left) and Willow Lake (to the east/right). The trail then crossed a small stream and entered a small meadow for about 0.15 mi from which you could see out into the San Luis Valley below. The rate of elevation gain f…

Agnes Vaille Falls

Distance: 0.9 mi round trip
Elevation gain: 450 feet
Location: southwest of Buena Vista, Colorado
Date: August 28, 2013

UPDATE: A couple weeks (September 13) after I visited the falls, a rockslide killed five people at this location, and the falls remain closed as of September 2015.

Agnes Vaille Falls is a waterfall on the southern slopes of Mount Princeton (14,197 ft) in Chalk Creek Canyon in San Isabel National Forest. The trail to the falls is only about a half mile long and gains 450 in elevation. It begins at the trailhead across from Chalk Lake Campground and moderately gains elevation. As the trail nears the falls the trail closely follows the stream, and to get to the base of the falls you may have to cross the stream walk across loose rocks.

You can also get a view of the falls by climbing a short distance up the rocks on the west side of the stream just below the falls. From the this point there are also decent views of the valley below and Mount Antero (14,276 ft) to the so…

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Location: Florissant, Colorado
Date: August 28, 2013

Florissant Fossil Beds is the location of where numerous very well preserved plants and insects have been discovered, including redwood stumps. There are exhibits in the visitor center displaying some of of the smaller, more fragile fossils, while the redwoods stumps are located on the grounds of the monument. The basin where the fossils are found was a lake when the climate was wetter and were preserved when a volcanic eruption led to an algal bloom in the lake.

There are several hiking trails in the monument, but the most visited are probably the 0.5-mile Ponderosa Loop Trail and the 1-mile Petrified Forest Loop Trail. Both of these trails begin at the visitor center, are quite easy hikes, and go past several of the petrified redwood stumps. Several miles of other trails connect to the two trails above. The Hornbek Homestead is a house that was built in 1878 in what is now the monument. Other structures surrounding this house were…

Pikes Peak

Location: west of Colorado Springs, Colorado
Summit elevation: 14,115 feet
Easiest route: drive up/train
Date: August 28, 2013

Pikes Peak is in Colorado's Front Range and rises to the west of Colorado Springs. The peak can be accessed via different methods, including multiple trail routes that lead to the summit, but most people take one of two other options. The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway is the highest railway in North America and begins in Manitou Springs and ends at the summit of the mountain. The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile road that begins west of Colorado Springs in Cascade and ends at the summit as well.

I took the road to the summit because it was a bit cheaper than the train and I wanted to spend time as I wanted at the top and on my up and down. The road is now completely paved all the way to the summit (except for the parking lot at the summit). The road and summit were't as busy as I had expected, although I did visit on a Thursday and get stuck behin…

Helen Hunt Falls and Silver Cascade

Distance: 0.7 mi round trip
Elevation gain: 277 ft
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Date: August 28, 2013

Helen Hunt Falls and Silver Cascade are two waterfalls located in North Cheyenne Canon Park in Colorado Springs. At 35 feet high, Helen Hunt Falls is the shorter (but I think more interesting of the two falls), and it is located directly next to the parking lot. Silver Cascade is a 200-foot waterfall that is a 0.7-mile round trip walk from Helen Hunt Falls. Silver Cascade flows over a large, smooth granite rock. The trail goes to the north of the cascade providing small glimpses of the cascade before ending above the cascade where there are views down the valley towards the city.

For more information see my track on AllTrails.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Seven Falls

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Date: August 28, 2013

Seven Falls is a waterfall that is a series of seven falls totaling 181 feet in height on South Cheyenne Creek in Colorado Springs. The falls are on private property, and you have to pay an entrance fee along the road as it enters South Cheyenne Canyon. The area claims to be the "grandest mile of scenery in Colorado."

The main attraction is the falls, and there are two ways to see it. The first is a viewing platform just across the canyon from the falls. This platform can be reached via an elevator in the side of the canyon or stairs on the outside of the mountain. From this platform you can get an all-encompassing view of the falls. The second way is a stairway that goes up the canyon directly next to the falls, but there is not elevator on this route.

The staircase along the falls eventually reaches to top of the falls where it continues on to Midnight Falls, which is a smaller waterfall and a short walk up along S…