Added by Riley Bolitho
Short, easy, little-known trek that climbs up above New Castle, Colorado, and is hike-able during all four seasons (winter being the most beautiful). Small elevation gain for excellent views of New Castle, Burning Mountain, Horse Mountain, and, of course, Mt. Colorow.
Although this hike could be done in a loop, it is also doable in the out-and-back format. I would recommend the out-and-back during winter months when the more eastern loop (beginning around Mustang Dr) is vulnerable to small avalanches.
If you want to do this hike in the winter, head on Alder Avenue to Lariat Loop; keep right in the loop, and take a slight right up to the trailhead. Another option is to park down at Alder Ave Park / Pond and walk up to the trailhead (I'm not sure if the trail is technically 'closed' by the town from December through March) so that you don't get a ticket from the stiff local police.
The trail begins very flat and well plowed; you'll hike roughly .5 miles of gentle incline before you reach the water tower. This point has a decent view of New Castle and the valley, but the best views and hiking will come in the next 1.5 miles. When I went on the trail after a snowstorm had blown through a couple of nights before, it had only been traversed by deer / wildlife. Hiking was pretty tough in boots considering there was roughly 2 feet of snow on the ground, but if you're up for a mild challenge, it's worth it. Snowshoes would've made this 10x easier.
You will snake around Mt. Colorow and its twin for about a mile and a half, no crazy inclines (my grandpa joined me the second time I hiked it this winter). The snow creates a serene and peaceful atmosphere in the dense forests of juniper, and on the back side of the mountain, you really feel like you're out in back country. Towards the top of the trail, make sure to turn right and head towards the spur to the overlook.
Take the same path back down as you did going up, the other trail is not marked quite as well / more vulnerable to avalanche. Be aware that there are a few possible, small avalanche zones when on the sun-facing half of the mountain; for this reason, you may want to have a small shovel handy. Also, being that it is Colorado, be on the lookout for wildlife (that means predators).
- Light pack, first aid kit
- Snowshoes aren't a requirement but definitely help
- Warm clothing, winter boots
- Basic avalanche knowledge
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