The Buffalo Creek Recreation Area, west of the town of Deckers in Pike National Forest, has many trails for cycling and hiking. The Colorado Trail, which goes from Waterton Canyon just outside Denver to Durango, is just one of many trails that traverse the area.
I've written about hiking in the area a couple of times in the past, and returned recently to experience more of what the area has to offer. One of the nice things about this area is its many loop trails, because after a while, doing out-and-back trails gets kind of boring. For this visit, I hiked the Green Mountain Trail, creating a loop by incorporating a section of the Colorado Trail.
The Green Mountain Trail is nicely wooded, with gentle inclines, a few small creek crossings, and in early July, an abundance of wildflowers. Stands of tall aspens on the loop hint at the promise of a nice fall colors hike. The trail provides views of its namesake peak, but is not actually on Green Mountain.
To get there: Take US 24 west from Colorado Springs to Woodland Park, and turn right (north) on CO Highway 67. Take Hwy. 67 28 miles to Deckers, and bear left onto Jefferson County Road 128. Take CR 128 for about 11 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 550. Follow FSR 550 for a little over 5 miles and look for a sign for the Meadows Group Campground and Buffalo Trailhead on the left.
What you need to know: The trail starts at Buffalo Trailhead, which shares its access road with the Meadows Group Campground. There is a large informational kiosk and a pit toilet at the parking lot, with the trail starting next to the toilet. There is no water available at the trailhead. From there, follow the trail to where it meets Colorado Trail #1776, and turn left. After that, the trail is easy to follow. When Colorado Trail meets Green Mountain Trail #722, turn right, and from there you'll be on Green Mountain Trail until you re-join Colorado Trail, at which point turn left to close the loop and return. The few creek crossings are easy to hop over. Measured distance with my GPS was 6.18 miles, with 983' of ascent over the entire loop.
It appears that while the land dispute on the Horsethief Park Trail hasn't yet been resolved, the property owner is going to allow hikers to continue to use the trail for the time being. An attempt to contact the Forest Service for an update on the status of talks with the land owner was not returned. Stay tuned...
With more and more people hiking, cycling, ATV'ing and horseback riding on our trails, it's pretty vital that we all try to get along and be considerate of each other. We can do that by not being loud, obnoxious or boorish, and by cleaning up after ourselves. Everyone out there wants to just enjoy nature and have a good time — don't be the person everyone remembers as ruining everything. Let's all follow some basic trail etiquette, and please, can we do something about the sudden desire to blast music from somewhere deep inside your backpack. OK?
Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace