May 27, 2011

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We needed a way to celebrate the last day of school and decided to visit Bear Creek. I hadn’t been on this trail since Maya was in a backpack carrier. Can’t believe it took so long for us to get back to someplace so close to home.

Trail Head: The trail head is a large parking lot off of Hwy 145. The turn off is well marked and is about 45 minutes from home. There is plenty of room for turning a trailer as this is also a horse trail. You start with crossing a large bridge.

Terrain: This is a mountain trail. At first going up a north facing hill side then around into the sun. (There is an option to take a left on a trail spur, not sure exactly where this ends up…)  Then it drops down and continues along side Bear Creek. There are trail sings along the way that are helpful. Next the trail opens into a huge beautiful meadow along the creek. This is where we stopped today but the trail continues up into the La Plata mountains and I believe it is possible to do a loop that ends at the Sharks Tooth Trail Head.

Accessibility: This trail is open to hikers, livestock, mountain bikes and dirt bikes. No 4 wheelers.

Length: As I said above this trail is quite long and connects to others up higher. Today we hiked for about 2 miles in. We stopped at the meadow which had lots of space for a backpacking camp.

Difficulty: The initial switchbacks were kind of a booger. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem for people who are in pretty good shape. We huffed and puffed, but it wasn’t a major problem. The rest of the trail was fairly easy going.

Highlights: This was great for us because we didn’t want to drive a long ways. We had Indigo with us. Aside from his usual confusion about switch backs he seemed to have fun too. The kids loved the meadow and we could have played here for hours. We found a beaver friend; pretty sure it was Mr. Beaver (Narnia) in the meadow. Since the switchbacks slowed us down on the way in, we hiked out in about half the time it took to hike in. Would love to do this as a backpack and see what happens on up the trail. We left home around noon and were back by 5:00.