If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lake Pueblo South Shore Trails

Headed the opposite direction on I-25 today into Pueblo for a visit to Lake Pueblo State Park. Once again, this is an area we have never visited since living in Colorado. Neither one of us grew up on water sports, so the parks with the big reservoirs have not been a draw for us. However, over the last few years, Southern Colorado Trail Builders have been putting together an impressive trail network, primarily on the south shore area of the park. We have heard rumors that the trails were equivalent in quality and experience to Fruita - a tall order indeed - so we decided to take a trip down and investigate. About an hour's trip door to trail put us on desert singletrack, with blue sky overhead and 78 degrees for today's high temp.
We headed out on the Cuatro Sinko trail and were immediately greeted with narrow, winding singletrack rolling through pinyon, cactus, prairie grasses and tumbleweeds.
After entering the second major wash, we hooked up with Pedro's Point trail, crossing a small stream that is most likely waist deep during spring runoff.
Don't know which species of cactus this is, but there were 'forests' of them all along the southern end of the park and many had these bright yellow flowers on them. They are cool to look at while running, but when we come back to explore here by mountain bike in the near future the mantra will be "spare tubes"!!!
We exited Pedro's onto the Waterfall trail, which is a canyon with a series of linked step-downs that would indeed form an awesome waterfall during runoff or flash floods. It was a fast, twisty descent with lots of steps and a high fun-factor.
Here Steve is in mid-flight coming off one of a series of steps on Waterfall. You can see the piles of tumbleweeds that have collected along the sides of the trail - wouldn't want to get caught in a wind storm out here!
We made our way along the South Shore trail over to the marina, with great views of the eastern end of the reservoir from the canyon rim above. Barely visible in the center of the photo is the greyish tip of Pikes Peak some 45 miles to the north.
Kathleen cruises along the South Shore trail.
Steve winds his way up one of the canyon trails on South Shore. We were amazed at the quality and narrow width of the trails as this area gets major amounts of trail traffic.
Kathleen ascending out of one of the South Shore inlets with some fall color springing up from the desert floor.
High up on the Conduit trail, we were treated to a birds-eye view of the dam. With 3600 surface acres of water behind it, this wall has a very important role.

We were certainly treated to some awesome trails today, linking together about 10.5 miles of good running. And the weather this weekend has just been phenomenal - we don't want our "Indian Summer" to end and intend to soak up every bluebird day we get. We figure there are probably another few days of exploring on foot at Lake Pueblo before needing to repeat any routes - that is fantastic! We will also be back here for sure with the mountain bikes. As for a rival to Fruita, we'll reserve judgement for a few more visits as we have become quite fond of our Western Slope riding/running destination. But at 4 hours less drive time, we have some high hopes for a new addition to our favorite visit list. Happy Trails!
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