Colorado was nearing a full shutdown due to the coronavirus and we were in the preliminary stages of social distancing. The goal: find a trail without a ton of people, short enough that Kyle will agree to come with, preferably one I’d never done before, and oh yeah, 90% of trails are closed due to muddy conditions. No problem! We set out for Lory State Park as they still had a handful of trails open, and we figured we’d just drive along and decide which trails to do based on how busy the trailheads were (they have 7 trailheads). The first trailhead (Timber Group Picnic Area) only had one other car, so that was an easy choice. Most of the trails off of this trailhead were closed due to muddy conditions, but one short trail remained open.
Waterfall Trail | Lory State Park
Bellvue, CO | 03/22/20| 0.25 miles | 47′ gain
Apparently not many people found the waterfall to be all that interesting since they were all off hiking other trails. Fine by us! We started out from the parking lot and walked through the picnic area. Here we passed the family that belonged to the other car, and then we were alone.
The trail was very short and switchbacked just a few times up into Soldier Canyon. We crossed a couple bridges and just like that, we were there!
Soldier Canyon Falls wasn’t spectacular, but it was a cute little waterfall that required minimal effort to see.
After only about 15 minutes, we found ourselves back at the car, ready to move on to our next short hike.
Well Gulch Nature Trail | Lory State Park
Bellvue, CO | 03/22/20| 2.04 miles | 376′ gain
We skipped a few trailheads with muddy trail closures and came to the Eltuck Group Picnic Area. This is the start of the Well Gulch Nature Trail, a self-guided interpretive trail. Sadly, the trailhead was out of brochures (and I didn’t have phone service) so we weren’t able to follow along with the numbered posts. (The nature trail brochure is available online, so you can download or print it ahead of time!)
The Well Gulch Nature Trail leaves the valley and climbs into the foothills via Well Gulch. We walked beside a cute little stream as we ascended the gulch. Eventually, the trail turned south and contoured the hillside for a short distance before turning east and heading back down to the valley. A number of other trails intersect the Well Gulch Trail, but all intersections are well signed.
Once back in the valley, we turned north on the West Valley Trail until we reconnected with the Well Gulch Trail. From here, we could see the trailhead and easily found our way back to the car.
Even though we only did a few short hikes, it still felt great to get outside in the sun.