I more thoroughly
described Segment 5 when I first ran and hiked
this section of the Colorado Trail on August 23, 2006. I'll be more brief with
the text here and focus more on photos from my hike on this trail today.
Cody follows Jim through the aspens at the Long
Gulch end of this segment.
Except for the flowers, all the photos in this "virtual tour"
are in order from east (Long
Gulch) to west (Kenosha Pass), the direction the majority of CT
point-to-pointers go. I've included mostly different views than I showed
you four years ago.
My guys wait patiently while I take another picture.
Although this section isn't in my Top 5 for the twenty-eight CT segments it's very
pleasant, mostly runnable, and easily accessible at the Kenosha Pass trailhead. In
fact, while we're camped at the National Forest Service CG at the pass, the
trailhead is less than a hundred yards from our door.
Can't get any more convenient than that.
That assumes you want to do an out-and-back run, hike, or ride
(horse or bike) from the Kenosha Pass trailhead. To start or end
at Long Gulch, 14.4 miles to the east, you have to drive out
dirt-and-gravel Lost Creek Road. It's bumpy and narrow but
scenic through the valley and doesn't require 4WD. There is a
parking area about 1/10 mile off the road. A 2/10 mile trail
accesses the CT.
There are several sections through pine forests.
Note the yellow CT marker carved into the tree.
Newer trail markers are white plastic triangles
with the dark green CT logo.
Since Jim's running the 50-mile North Fork trail race in a few
days he wasn't interested in doing all of Segment 5 today. I
was. There is less elevation change at the Long Gulch end
of this segment, so we rode together to the Long Gulch trailhead
and he did an out-and-back run from there (total of about six
miles), then drove the truck back to our camper at Kenosha Pass.
Cody and I kept going 14½ miles . .
. and very conveniently ended up back at our camper on foot.
One of many sunny meadows full of flowers
along the way
Cinquefoil? Lots of these yellow flowering
shrubs in Seg. 5.
Our buddy Bill H knew of our plans but didn't want to go to Long
Gulch. He parked at Kenosha Pass and ran/hiked east about six
miles until he "ran into" Cody and me. Then he walked back to
camp with us.
We all had a good day on the trail!
TRAIL STATS AND CONDITIONS
The elevation at Long Gulch is 10,100 feet, only 100 feet higher
than the elevation at Kenosha Pass. Don't for a minute think
that it is flat for 14.4 miles! It's not killer, though;
the total gain of approximately 1,540 feet and loss of 1,640
feet includes lots of ups and downs but most are fairly short
and easy grades. Per our Garmin GPS, my lowest elevation today
was 9,354 feet and the highest was 10,531 feet.
Above and below: the first glimpses of the
Continental Divide in the distance
One of the reasons I like this trail segment is that much of it
passes through the Lost Creek Wilderness and I don't have to
worry about mountain bikers running Cody and me down. In the 6+ hours it
took to hike it today, I didn't see any cyclists or equestrians. Besides Jim and Bill, I saw only one other person on the
trail today, a CT thru-hiker who's also done the Appalachian
The trail was very dry and dusty today. It appears this area
hasn't had much rain lately. There were numerous flowers along
the way, however, and the leaves on trees and shrubs aren't
Here are some more flowers I enjoyed through the open
Wild rose (?) with insect
Above and below: the
insects really like these flowers, too.
Distinctive sego lily
Center of sego lily, above (just playing around
with PhotoShop filters!)
Temperatures today were pretty high, considering the elevation
-- upper 70s. Just how high do we have to get to stay in
the 60s?? Just kidding. Sure beats the high temps in many
other places in the country, including Denver and Colorado
Springs. We are probably going to be back in Colorado Springs
next week. Hope it cools down some before we get there.
Much of the segment is shaded with beautiful pine forests and
aspen groves. About a third of the trail passes through open
meadows with great views, especially in the last four miles
where you can see the large expanse of South Park and the jagged
peaks along the Continental Divide (those photos are farther
down this entry).
Above and below: two pretty valleys in the
middle of the segment
As Cody and I walked along, I remembered most of the trail from
six years ago. There were a few surprises, things I didn't
remember, that made my hike more interesting.
The remaining photos are also in order going east to west:
Kinda straggly trees, but look at that
bright blue sky, fluffy clouds, and smooth trail!
Pretty flowers and a closer view of the
Above and below: you can see Lost
Creek Road in the valley
Runner, hikers, and cyclists love this
smooth part but the trail gets rockier ahead.
(We're out of the wilderness now.)
Starting to see more of South Park, the huge valley south
and west of Kenosha Pass
Looking back to the Lost Creek Wilderness Area
Old stock "driveway" sign and a CT marker in the bark
Continental Divide in distance, but definitely getting
Livestock pond on a ranch in South Park
Above and below: descending through aspen groves
Above and below: almost to the Kenosha Pass trailhead
There are lots of pretty wildflowers near the trailhead and campground.
For more information about this segment, including tales about
the "lost" stream and a lost cache of gold in the Lost Creek
Wilderness Area, read what I
wrote about it back in 2006 or
do a web search. It
fascinates me that there are still some unexplored places in
this 120,000-acre wilderness.
Next entry: hiking part of CT Segment 6 to Georgia
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2010 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil