Here's a follow-up to Tuesday's column regarding the land dispute over the Horsethief Park Trail.
According to Crystal Young, Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands Public Information Officer, a survey done in 2020 showed that the popular trail crosses 76 feet of private property. Young said that the Forest Service has been trying to keep the trail open, but "the property owner has the right to close their private land." Young was unsure how long the closure may last and was asking trail users to "respect the owner's property rights by not trespassing during the closure, and to respect the resource by not trying to go around the closure." It is also unknown if the Forest Service will close the trailhead on Highway 67. Users can check the PSICC "Alerts and Notices" page on their website for updates.
All is not lost, however, as you can still access both Pancake Rocks and Horsethief Falls from the other end of Trail 704 at the Putney Gulch trailhead. The hikes will be longer, however, with Horsethief Falls being about 8.5 miles round-trip and Pancake Rocks at approximately 11 miles round-trip. To get there, take Forest Service Road 383 from Highway 67 (just past the entrance to Mueller State Park) past the Crags Trailhead and campground and follow it until it ends. The trailhead for Trail 704 is at the end of the road. Parking is limited, however, so have another option in case the lot is full.
Although the eastern half of Colorado has had quite a bit of rain this spring and summer, wildfire danger still exists in much of the state, and some counties have fire restrictions in place. Before setting out on your next camping or backpacking adventure, check on any fire bans or restrictions here.
If you're able to have a campfire, follow these basic guidelines and tips. One cause of wildland fires is unattended or unextinguished campfires. Your campfire isn't completely extinguished until you can put your hand in the ashes without getting burned. In Colorado, it's also a criminal offense to leave a campfire unattended, so don't get yourself into any trouble: Make sure your campfire is OUT before leaving your campsite.
Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.