Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sourdough South Snowshoe

Distance: 5.4 miles round trip
Elevation: 9,252 ft - 10,053 ft
Elevation Gain: 838 ft (cumulative)
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Dogs: Off leash
Tags: #snowshoe, #coloradooutdoors

Trailhead
The Sourdough Trail north of Nederland on Highway 72 is a popular spot for local winter enthusiasts who don't mind the crowds or limited views. The trail is actually quite long, traversing from County Road 116 in the south to County Road 112 (Brainard Lake Road) in the north. This post profiles a southern segment from the trailhead to the Peace Bridge over Four Mile Creek at 2.7 miles one way.

Map of the route. Star at the end marks the location of the Peace Bridge.
Sourdough is mostly in the trees
The Sourdough trail ascends rather gradually at first but then turns sharply upwards at 0.8 miles where the route makes a sharp left turn at an open vista of Niwot Mountain. At 1.4 miles the route crosses an open road and at 1.9 miles there is a large sign marking the trail. There are two small drainages that are crossed that can be easily seen on the map. The bridge itself is located at the bottom of a deeper drainage and may be obscured by snow. The sign for it can only be seen from the other side. The terrain is in the trees most of the time, which can provide shelter on a blustery day.

Rare "peak-a-boo". Mt. Niwot
Old sign at 1.9 miles
While the parking lot is large and is split into three fingers, it still fills up rapidly on winter weekends, so plan accordingly. The trailhead is located across the road from the parking area and is marked by a large kiosk.

Last downhill pitch to the bridge
To get to the trailhead, travel north on Highway 72 out of Nederland for approximately 8 miles and then turn onto County Road 116. CO Rd 116 is plowed but will be snow packed. The parking lot is located a quarter of mile or so on the left.

Peace bridge
The official sign is only visible after crossing the bridge

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