Hike Pipestone Canyon

Rate this Adventure 9 miles 1700 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Thadd Zehnder

Two rather short hikes or one nice loop that lead you through some rather unique geography.  Wildlife, some picturesque views, and a nice gentle hike are the big draws here.

The trail has parking areas available at both sides of the loop.  The directions provided below are to the north portal near Campbell Lake.  From Winthrop take the East Side County Rd towards the Smokejumprt Base.  In a about 2 miles turn left onto Bear Creek Rd and head towards the golf course.  In a little over 2 miles turn right onto the gravel Lester Rd.  Follow road towards a level parking area.  Take the road spur to the right towards Campbell Lake.  Follow it until the end of the road where ample parking is available.  Welcome to the Pipestone Canyon Trailhead.  

I think this is the appropriate time to warn of snakes.  There are rattlesnakes in this area and they will bite.  Be aware of where you are stepping, where your children are stepping and keep fido on a leash.

The trail gently descends into a tree filled canyon. As the trail slowly winds throughout this are enjoy the cover as the rest of the trail is wide open.  Soon the trees start to thin and you break out into a wide open valley that meanders for several more miles to the south.  Be on the look out for your spur to the left if you intend to loop back along the Canyon Rim Trail.  The trail is typically marked by a cairn.  If you miss the spur, no worries, the walk back is even more interesting in my opinion anyway.  I think the rim is best viewed coming from the south as well.  It is also important to note that the Rim Trail is periodically closed for wildlife reasons - specifically Golden Eagle nesting in the spring.

If you want to loop in the other direction the Rim Trail can be accessed at Campbell Lake and also near the flat parking area where you went right towards Campbell Lake.  From the Parking area walk down the road about a hundred yard where a small single track path heads off the right.  From the Lake parking area head across the outlet dam and then left along the lake until the trail heads up the hill.

This trail and area is popular with mountain bikers.  You more than likely will be sharing the trail at some point, remember to be courteous to other users.

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Tags

Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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