Hike of the Week: Start hiking season off right with a trip to June Creek
Special to the Daily
And just like that, hiking season is upon us. For those that were in the valley last year, you’ll be aware of how stark a contrast this summer is setting up to be.
While our snowpack peaked at just above normal (108% to be exact), our warm spring has done quick work of melting off a lot of that snow, opening up our trails early for us to enjoy. A quick comparison shows that our snowpack currently rests at roughly 50% of last year. With more trail quickly opening up, a great local spot to start getting in shape for those high country adventures is the June Creek Trail in Edwards.
What to expect
If you haven’t hiked up June Creek in the spring, you are most definitely missing out. This ‘trail’ is actually a rough forest service road that heads up the June Creek Valley from Singletree. It climbs at a steady moderate grade following the small June Creek through aspens in the valley bottom, and periodically climbing up into the sagebrush and scrub hillside.
This time of year is the perfect season to explore this local gem. The vibrant green of the aspens, just beginning to leaf out, is on full display here. As you climb higher, you are greeted with spectacular views of Beaver Creek, New York Mountain, Mount Jackson, and other iconic peaks of the northern Sawatch Mountains.
With current snow levels, you can make it at least 4 miles up the trail before you hit snow. You might possibly get further, depending on when you’re reading this. This is a great hike that will certainly help you get ready for the bigger adventures right around the corner.
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The trail does branch off in a few places, often with both forks leading to the same place. At around 2 miles, taking the sharp left will switchback up the hillside will avoid the very short and very steep and rocky section that you would encounter if you stayed straight.
You can access June Creek from either Singletree or Wildridge. To get to the Singletree Trailhead, take Single Creek Road to its highest point. Just before Singletree Road joins June Creek Road, there is a small car pull off opposite the trailhead. There’s space for three to four vehicles there. From Wildridge, the trail departs from June Creek Trail road near the Dog Park. Alternatively, you can get to the June Creek trail from the West Avon Preserve system via Wild West Ridge.
Nathan Boyer-Rechlin is the community outreach coordinator, hiking guide, and trails guru at Walking Mountains Science Center. You can reach him at (970) 827-9725 ext. 144, or email@example.com.