Owls Perch > Lodgepole Loop > Sunny Aspen Trail > Old Ski Run Loop > Sunny Aspen Trail > Lodgepole Loop > Owls Perch
Starting Elevation: 7900 ft
Highest Elevation: 8770 ft ( total gain was around 900 feet in elevation gain)
Trail Length: 5 Miles
Trail Uses: Hiker, Biker & Horses
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Bathrooms: Yes a vault toilet about half a mile up Owls Perch trail from the parking lot
Pets: Yes – On leash only
I was lucky enough to hike 2 times this past weekend and the second time was with my favorite Colorado girlfriends. I am so honored that they trust me enough to take them hiking and I was super impressed that they were such troopers! We met at 6:30AM on Sunday and it seemed like the minute we got in the car to go to the trailhead, it started raining. Not too bad, but it still hadn’t stopped when we got to the park which is kinda of an odd occurrence in Colorado, usually it is a quick downpour and then done.
We started up the trail and actually liked the way the rain and clouds enhanced all the colors of this trail. It was a very easy grade up and the trail was nice and wide most of the way.
The signage is really great on this trail and since our goal was to go through the whole park it was easy to keep moving forward through each trail break. I had read a lot about this trail before I picked it, what stood out most was that it is all in the pines and there is never really any great “View” to climb too, but I also knew that a couple of my companions were a little nervous about how much they would be able to handle and some needed a little extra shade to hike comfortably.
I think this is a great starter hike in terms of getting comfortable with a steady climb over very easy terrain. It is one of those trails that even in the rain there wasn’t any mud, just wet sand with a few rocks and very easy to get through during yucky conditions, although I have read that because of all the shade it takes a while for the snow to melt. Something to consider if you want to do this in late fall, winter or Early Spring.
I was surprised my wonderful friends were game to keep hiking in the rain, even as we all started getting pretty hot from exertion but had to stay covered because of the wetness.
We got to the top Old Ski Hill loop pretty quickly and just as the rain started to let up, so we all stripped a layer because we were crazy hot in our rain gear.
There were a few switchbacks to climb with a very gentle grade and before we knew it we were at the highest part. It was at this point I realized I left all my good cameras at home so I did just a few quick pictures of the trail itself and my beautiful companions with my iPhone.
We found a rock outcropping to climb to in hopes of seeing more of a view, but there just isn’t one on this trail and while we were checking out what we could see more people heading up joining us so we headed back down after spending just 10 minutes exploring.
The journey down was much busier then the one up, in fact we had almost the whole hike up to ourselves. Coming down we crossed paths with lots of other hikers enjoying the short break in the weather we would end up having on Sunday. It always makes me happy I started early when the trail starts to get crowded.
Although I didn’t know it when I picked this hike, it was absolutely the best hike for a rainy day like we had on Sunday. Now is it the best hike to get your Colorado beauty on, I am not too sure about that. I wanted to make sure my friends had fun while getting a nice workout in and again this trail is perfect for that. I am pretty excited to say that all 3 ladies are already asking about our next girls hike so I think they liked it enough to get the hiking bug.
I would like to see this one again maybe in the fall to see how changing environment changes the views and maybe it would make me love it a little more. It is a beautiful hike, don’t get me wrong I may be getting addicted to all those summit views I had the pleasure of enjoying, so I did leave the trail thinking I never need to do this one again but now a few days later I am not so sure.
The best part of the day was really Carrie, Karin & Lisa ( Poor Julie got sick just that morning and had to cancel at the last-minute). There is something about having such good friends along and showing them what has been gobbling up all my weekends, then them totally getting it.
Directions: Take US Highway 285 South from C-470 towards Aspen Park. Exit the highway at mile marker 239, onto South Turkey Creek Road. The overflow parking area is on the north side of highway 285; go underneath Highway 285 to access the main parking lot.