Sunday, April 7, 2019

Dakota Ridge Trail

From the first parking area, follow the signs to the trail.
For most visitors the drive up and over Skyline Drive is thrilling enough as it is. The narrow, one-way road, winding along the top of a hogback defining the western edge of town, was completed with prison labor in the early 1900s. Skyline offers amazing views of Cañon City, Fremont Peak and the Wet Mountains -- and the drive itself is its own reward.
There is another aspect of Skyline Drive that I highly recommend. At the first parking area (right after the dinosaur tracks), park the car and head up the trail on the Dakota Ridge Trail. You'll immediately come to the sign pictured here - if you're daring and sure footed, I recommend going left and continuing your climb up the ridge. You'll come to a very narrow, somewhat perilous span of trail that will have you clutching the ridge to pass by. (If you go right, you'll by-pass this section). From here, the trail continues along the top of the ridge for 2/3s of a mile before turning east and sharply descending through a series of switchbacks.  This ridge-top portion of the trail will deepen your appreciation for the hogback's unique geology and offer many stunning photographic opportunities.  While Skyline Drive is indeed thrilling, getting out on foot and exploring the ridge offers an unforgettable and unique perspective of this amazing geologic formation.  To read my post on Skyline Drive, click here. To learn more about the Hogbacks Open Space and discover more trails to explore, click here.

Fremont Peak from the Dakota Ridge Trail

Skyline Drive and US Rt. 50 from Dakota Ridge Trail

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