I picked up Jeff and his Golden, Zeke today for a hike in Mueller State Park. When I arrived at Jeff’s house he reminded me that dogs are not allowed on trails in the park since it is a birthing and wintering place for elk and big horns sheep. So, he suggested Catamount Ranch, Open space.
You can get there from highway US-24 west of Woodland Park turning onto Edlowe Road. Follow the paved and graded gravel road to the parking area. Access is pretty decent, even for cars, and with snow covered ground.
The hike takes you over a small ridge and into the drainage which holds North Catamount Reservoir.
Overall, the trail was pretty easy hiking, even in the snow. Eventually, the trail takes you down to what is an access road for the reservoir which is closed to everyone except authorized personnel so no worries about running into any vehicles. The road also seems to be part of the Ring the Peak Trail (as in Pikes Peak).
In most areas the snow was only a few inches deep and packed down in the more well-traveled parts, but as we headed off further the snow got deeper.
We stopped for lunch and I made spiced-Chai tea on my 70 year-old M-1942 Mountain stove. It was easy to get going, as always.
We hiked on further and then the snow got up to our knees. Earlier, and while still at home, I thought about bringing the snowshoes but had heard earlier in the week that the snow level was low in Woodland Park. Could have used them today.
Our hike was about 6 miles round trip on this beautiful and sunny day.
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