South Shoreline Trail | North Sterling State Park
Sterling, CO | 11/27/20 | 7.54 miles | 107′ gain
One Friday afternoon in late November, I took Lady out to North Sterling State Park to hike the South Shoreline Trail. Kyle and I had visited in April 2020 and hiked the numerous short trails in the park, but adding the 7+ mile South Shoreline Trail would have been too much on an already nearly 6 mile day.
There are parking areas on either end of the trail but we started from the West Trailhead since that was closest to the house. (Note that there is a day use fee if you don’t have a Colorado State Parks pass.) We arrived at noon to an empty parking lot and didn’t see a single other person all afternoon.
North Sterling Reservoir was dammed in the early 1900s to supply irrigation water to the surrounding farmland. It still provides this necessary water, but now the State Park also provides recreation opportunities both on land and on the water. Colorado’s eastern plains probably aren’t high on the list of tourist destinations, but this is a nice place for locals to camp, boat, or take a walk.
The South Shoreline Trail contours around the south side of the reservoir, winding in and around various inlets. Most of the vegetation is reminiscent of the historic grasslands, but there are some pockets of riparian woodland as well.
At one point Lady ran through a cactus patch and had hundreds of spines sticking out of her legs. I did my best to pull out the bigger spines but I couldn’t get the smaller ones. She was relatively unbothered and continued to run around with her giant bone.
I’ll admit this felt more like a long walk than a hike, but it was refreshing to get away from my typical hiking areas and see something different. We crossed the footbridge over the canal to use the campground’s restroom and then walked to the East Trailhead. From there, we retraced our steps back to the West Trailhead.
Once back at the West Trailhead, we made the drive home and Kyle (armed with tweezers) helped remove the last of the cactus spines from Lady’s legs.