Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Masontown

Distance: 2 miles round trip
Elevation: 9,133 ft - 9,590 ft
Elevation Gain: 457 ft
Dogs: On leash for the first half

The uninspiring remains of Masontown

There is not much left of the ghost town of Masontown on the slopes of Peak 1 near Frisco to make it a worthy destination. Most people in fact, pass it on the way to Mt. Royal, a precipitous overlook higher up the mountain. Masontown was destroyed in an avalanche in 1926. After seeing some of the avalanche chutes around here, I can understand why there is not much left.

It is 200ft from the parking lot to the bike path.

Take a left here. Don't worry you won't be walking all the way to Breckenridge.

The bike path

Still, if you want a short hike that will get your heart pumping this is it. While the first 0.42 miles are flat, the last 0.54 miles gains 457 ft. Sprint this short stretch a few times and you'll be ready bigger and better things.

The trailhead. The sign says Mt. Royal. There is a small interpretive sign talking about Masontown.

Between the town of Frisco and Peak 1, there is a huge pile of boulders that have tumbled down from the mountain. This trail looks down upon these rocks.

An early trail segment

Frisco and Lake Dillon in the distance

I did this trail on a lazy Sunday in September and it was pleasant indeed. The undergrowth was turning scarlet and yellow and berries of various varieties were glistening "on the vine".

A rare, level trail segment

Mountain Juniper

This is one of the social trails that head off to the left.

Fall comes to the undergrowth

We have been having unseasonable warmth this year, so the air was not exactly crisp, but the shaded trail provided a little coolness that hinted at the coming chill.

Another trail segment

The only really obvious sign of Masontown is a small pile of rusted metal just as you enter the area.

To the left as you arrive are two trails. The lower trail heads down the slope and eventually peters out. The upper trail continues to Mt. Royal. There are no signs indicating this.

More evidence of the town. This piece if metal was down the lower trail.

Tenderfoot is a much better doggie outing than this route. On the first half (the bike path) dogs must be leashed. I am not sure I could survive a half mile with my dog on a leash.

The ghosts of the miners wiped out in the avalanche still linger....

Berries on the trail

Another hint of fall

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