July 15, 2011
My brother and his wife were visiting from Las Vegas and wanted to get away from heat and the desert. We has a long day at Mesa Verde the day before and wanted an east walk with a pretty view and a good spot for a picnic so we went up toTransfer Campground and the Big Al trail.
Trailhead: Transfer Campground and the trailheads there including the Big Al trail are about 30 minutes from our house, or 15 minutes from Mancos. Just north of Mancos go right on road 42. This road is paved for a short while, then switched to gravel that is always dusty and all wash board and cattle guards. Soon it becomes Forest Service Road 562. There is a big sign at a Y in the road that says “Transfer” take the right fork to a parking area on the left of the road. The trail head is across the road on the right.
Terrain: This is a mountain trail that is flat, dirt and some gravel.It is through an Aspen grove.
Accessibility: This trail is only open to hikers. (On second thought, maybe bikes too? Don’t remember for sure.) The trail was made specifically to be wheel chair accessible in honor of a firefighter who was paralyzed after an injury while fighting a forest fire.
Length: Way short, 15 minute walk to the end, 15 minutes back.
Difficulty: As above… Way easy. Way flat.
Highlights: We love this trail for being super easy with a great pay off of a deck with a gorgeous view at the end. Perfect hike for little kids, grandparents and flat-landers getting acclimated. There are benches along the way and interpretive signs describing wildlife, plants, etc. The hike is mostly in the shade of Aspen trees and there are almost always wildflowers blooming. At the end of the trail is a beautiful deck out over the West Fork of the Mancos River with a gorgeous view up into the LaPlata Mountains.
After you finish the hike there are picnic tables, toilets, etc at the campground for a great lunch spot. There are also several other trailheads around this campground.