Before I delve into this week’s recommendation, I must give you all a quick disclaimer: obviously we have seen some snow this week, and I did not happen to hike this route before the snow. That being said, I believe the trails are still completely doable, as long you all are cautious. Just expect snow on trails and some steep and icy spots. At least the temperature will be in the fifties this weekend!
So, this weekend you should all head on up to Lory State Park and take on the Timber Trail. The path starts off on the western side of a wide-open valley where the park entrance and there is a picnic area. From there it weaves westward through the open valley and pitches up the side of the foothill.
To the east, you can see Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins. To the south, you will see Arthur’s Rock protruding out of the hillside like a fist. You’ll also get a close-up look of some of the High Park burn area. I know I keep harping on the burn area, but I can only imagine how beautiful it will look with some fresh snow dusted over it.
The trail continues westward and upward into the dense forest just above the valley. Here, there are a series of steep switchbacks that cut through the forest and through some shrub-blanketed meadows. In the meadows you’ll get great views of the reservoir and of Arthur’s Rock. I can only imagine the lacey whips of snow clinging to it after this week’s weather.
After a while, the trail cuts behind Arthur’s Rock into another valley. This is the 3.7-mile mark and is a great spot to stop if you are looking for just a short day-hike. You can just chill in the valley and enjoy the hidden view of Arthur’s Rock and the ridge of the foothill to the west.
One the other hand, if you are feeling especially ambitious you can continue hiking along a few other trails that fork off from this point. Be adventurous and make a creative route back. Just follow the park map you can pick up at the entrance.
To get here, take Overland Trail north and then turn left on Bingham Hill Road. Continue into Bellvue and hang a left on Country Road 23. Take that all the way into the park. After passing though the gate, follow the only road to the group picnic area. This is where you’ll find the trailhead. Park entrance per car is $6.