Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kenosha Pass-East

Distance: 8 miles round trip
Elevation: 10,000 ft to 10, 418 ft
Elevation Gain: 418 ft (net), 836 cumulative

Aspens and view abound on the east side of Kenosha Pass

The east side of Kenosha Pass is a wonderful fall hike. Within a half mile it traverses one of the largest Aspen groves I have seen (although certainly not the largest in the state). Additionally, the earth tones of the distant South Park combined with the crisp air will make you want to rush out and buy a pumpkin pie. Note I did not say bake one. I am not that domestique!

Entering the Aspen grove. This year the colors have been quite muted.

It is actually the Continental Divide Trail that transects Kenosha Pass so you can walk in either direction for literally hundreds of miles. We only walked 4 miles however, before turning around. The last time I walked this trail, I turned around at 2.8 miles because I has just returned France and was still suffering from a wicked virus. You can read about that trip on my Aspen Gauntlet post. It was one of my first blog posts. Tha post has a couple of pictures.

My friends had to drag me out the grove. I could spend the whole day taking pictures there.

The east side of the pass contains bathrooms, albeit not very clean ones, and a small parking area. During prime leaf peeping, this lot will fill up by 9am and then cars will begin to back up all the way to the road.

The first view of South Park

On our route, the east-side trail hits the Aspen grove at 0.5 miles, views of South Park appear at 1.76 miles, and the trail starts to descend at 2.89 miles. The trail is rocky in places with occasional nooks with stellar views. It winds in and out of coniferous forest, open meadows, and Aspen groves (some large, some small). I found the trail very easy to walk on and we made very good time.

At this point the trail begins to descend. You can see the Ponderosa Pines that dot the area.

There were a lot of mountain bikers on the trail, which got annoying, particulalry near the trailhead on the return. The Aspen grove was mobbed with toddlers and their parents and the bikers, kids, and dogs made for a gaggle we were happy to escape from.

An open meadow near our turn around point

This trail also makes great snowshoeing, but acheives true glory when the Aspens turn. Just get an early start or be emotionally prepared to mingle with the herd.

Another view of South Park on the return

3 comments:

Linda said...

Sigh. I think I've told you how much I'd love to see aspens. Still trying to remember which Western I was as a child that pierced me with longing to see these landscapes. I'll return to this post to just gaze and gaze.

Anonymous said...

hi just wanted to know if anything about baker or liniger lakes.thanks

sylvia murphy said...

HI Anonymous,
Alas I do not.
Good Luck