It has recently occurred to me that, though there have been many wanderings here in Colorado, I’ve been very negligent in telling you about them! So, today I’m sharing our experience on the Sourdough Trail in Indian Peaks Wilderness! This was my first snow hike in Colorado! A mountain forest in the winter is nothing short of majestic… the clean bright snow contrasting against the rich pine trees is absolutely stunning. And I love how quiet and serene the forest becomes… it’s so easy to imagine little forest creatures cuddled up together in their burrows… napping the day away beneath the blanket of snow.
It’s a tricky time of year for finding trails that are open with the snow and dog-friendly. Luckily, Kyle is a pro in this department and found Sourdough Trail for our hike last Saturday. It was an absolutely perfect day. The weather was great, the hike was fairly easy, even with the snow, and our post-hike excursions topped it all off perfectly.
Since not as many people hike during the late fall and winter as the summer, we slept in a little knowing that we could get to the trailhead after the sun rises and still get a parking spot. It was such a nice change of pace. We got to the trailhead parking lot around 7:45 am (not our normal 5:45 am) and we were the first ones there. Even by the time we got done hiking, there were only a handful of other cars parked there.
Note: if you try this trail yourself, there is no trash service at the trailhead… you’ll have to pack it all out.
At the beginning of the trail, snow cover was very splotchy. You could see large patches of earth.
Later on, however, the trail was completely covered by several inches of packed snow. Enough to put Freya shoulder-deep!
Even if the trail wasn’t packed down already, this is one of the best-marked trails I’ve ever seen. Every hundred feet or so was a little blue diamond letting us know we were still on the trail.
About a mile and a half in, the trail starts making wide switch-backs, with one end opening up to provide scenic views of the nearby mountains. There are three of those clearings in total, with the first one being the most open.
After than, the forest thickens and you’re just surrounded by these tall spindly pines, they almost look like the walls of a hallway when you look down the trail.
We eventually decided to stop when the trail started to make steep switchbacks to make some coffee and eat some breakfast.
I have to tell you about this awesome stroopwafel! I picked it up from REI when stocking up on protein bars and other hiking snacks. Holy cow was this good! And perfect with coffee! I highly recommend.
After hiking, we drove in to Nederland and ordered a pizza for carryout at Backcountry Pizza. While we waited for the pizza, we ducked in to Very Nice Brewing Company, which happens to be dog friendly, for some beers. Very Nice Brewing might be a new tradition for us!
Then, we took our pizza and few beers to-go for a tailgate pizza party overlooking Barker Reservoir.
I’ve included a map of our route below to provide some perspective on what you can expect to see if you decide to take a hike on this trail in the winter.
What are your favorite trails to hike on in the winter? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to follow this blog and be the first to read about our next wandering!