March Mini-Hikes

I was planning on going for a longer and harder hike this weekend since I’d lately been slacking in the race to get in shape for 14er season. But Saturday morning I woke up feeling pretty crummy so instead of heading out for an early hike, I relaxed for a few hours. After a while, I was feeling better and desperately wanted to get into the mountains so I looked through my spreadsheet to find a suitable hike. (Suitable being relatively short, close to home, and low in avalanche danger. I keep a spreadsheet of hikes that I want to do, and add to it as I find new ones.) I have a large number of hikes on this list, ranging from less than 1 mile to over 15 miles. I decided to do a couple of the shortest hikes on my list, because when would I ever drive nearly 2 hours to do a 1 mile hike? But TWO 1 mile hikes? Maybe I could get on board with that. Plus if I started feeling sick again after one hike, I could easily bail and skip the second. And just like that, a plan was in place!

Mount Bailey (9,089′) | Weakland Fawks Park

Bailey, CO | 03/16/19 | 1.01 mile | 394′ gain

Mount Bailey has been on my list since the beginning. We have a lot of good memories near Bailey, and it’s no secret that I’d want to do every hike I can find in the area. I’d heard that Mount Bailey had amazing views and of course I needed to check it out, but I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to go to Bailey for just a 1 mile hike.

I drove to the trailhead with my little Toby, hoping that I would be able to find a parking spot since we were getting there so late (Nearly 12:20, SO LATE!). I actually missed the turn for the lot because there were NO CARS so I assumed it wasn’t the right spot. As I drove past the playground, I realized I’d missed it. The trailhead starts at the Weakland Fawks Park playground. Shoot, I’d have to find a spot to turn around.

Eventually we parked and got started. We were the only ones on the trail, and had a gorgeous and quiet walk through the woods.

As I climbed, the trees started to open up and offered gorgeous views.
The trail had been boot-packed by others before me, so I had no trouble finding my way.

The trail starts out steep from the start and rarely lets up. This might be a short hike but you’re going uphill the entire time!

Near the top, we crossed a short bridge over some pipes.
A sign warns trail users near the summit.
The views at the top were extraordinary and unexpected. I couldn’t believe the nearly 180* views!
There IS a cliff at the top, though it’s not as terrifying as the sign makes it seem.
I couldn’t stop looking!
I sat on the summit bench for a few minutes and just LOOKED.
The summit towers. This is where the pipes were leading.
Toby surveys the landscape.
One more look before I head back down.

There were a few people at the top so I didn’t have the summit ENTIRELY to myself, but it’s large enough that we could spread out and have our own space to enjoy the warm sun and amazing scenery.

Sugarloaf Mountain (8,917′) | Roosevelt National Forest

Boulder, CO | 03/16/19 | 1.39 miles | 467′ gain

After an amazing hike up Mount Bailey, I was feeling great and ready to tackle my next mini-hike, Sugarloaf Mountain. I had phone service so I typed the trailhead into Google Maps and WHAT!? Nearly 2 hours away? Why in the world did I think it was a good idea to do these hikes? I seriously thought they were closer together. What was I thinking!?

Well at this point I’m committed so I set out and my GPS quickly shortened the drive time to about 1.5 hours as an accident had just been cleared. Woohoo! This is better news. We made quick work of the drive, which was gorgeous by the way, and eventually turned up Sugarloaf Mountain Road, a narrow dirt road that today was wet, muddy, and slushy.

About a half mile in, I rounded a corner and saw a car stopped in the middle of the road on a hill. (That’s never good.) They saw me and tried to move but their tires just spun in the slush. Growing up in Wisconsin, I thought everyone knew never to stop on a slippery hill since you lose your momentum…which in their case, would have been the only thing  helping them ascend. (They didn’t have AWD like I do.) But as it turns out, not everyone is privy to this knowledge. I was seriously dreading having to back down this road, around a blind corner, to find a driveway to turn around in. I waited a few moments, desperate for them to figure things out, but luckily there was a driveway right next to them that I hadn’t seen. They were able to turn around and head back down the road. I moved over for them as much as I could on the narrow road, and they only JUST squeezed by me. Now I’M stopped on a hill (great thanks!) but luckily my car had no trouble ascending and we quickly made it to the muddy trailhead. (I definitely think I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to winter mountain driving, but situations like these are always so nerve-racking!)

I wasn’t able to park out of the mud puddles, but we tried to avoid it as much as possible and quickly darted to the start of the trail on the other side of the road. Just like Mount Bailey, the trail starts steep and doesn’t let up. It’s an incline the entire way. But after a nice warm up on Mount Bailey, we made quick work of Sugarloaf Mountain and tried not to stop the entire way up. (Except for pictures, because WOW!)

Views start along the trail almost at the beginning and don’t let up the entire way.
Views brought to you by forest fire. Sugarloaf Mountain is now nearly bald.
The summit!

The summit of Sugarloaf Mountain was pretty small, but I lucked out and had a few minutes all to myself to bask in the 360* views.

A few trees still clinging on.
Drifts on the summit.
And once again, I couldn’t stop LOOKING!
Mountains in every direction.
What a beautiful day!
Toby has had enough mountain climbing for today.

I definitely enjoyed both of these mini-hikes, and would recommend them for the views alone, even though they don’t provide much of a workout. But there’s always next weekend for a good workout! And as always, I look forward to sharing it with you ๐Ÿ™‚


20 thoughts on “March Mini-Hikes

  1. My wife and I both love Colorado and welcome any advice you
    offer for not so strenuous outdoor hiking. Which do you prefer more as a weekly stopping point- Durango or Pablsa Springs? Thanks for checking out my blog.


    1. Hello! I’m not terribly familiar with either of those places but the Telluride/Ouray/Silverton area just north of Durango is AMAZING! Lots to do – hiking & otherwise! Gorgeous scenery, lots of history, great camping.


  2. Pingback: May Mini-Hikes | CO | 05/11/19 – Colorado Chelsea

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