Hayden Pass was the first trail for the day and Walt's 500th "different" trail that he ran with TrailDamage. 500 unique trails is pretty impressive for one person!
Walt and Matt met up at the trailhead for Hayden Pass. The weather was great, and finally there were no thunderstorms or heavy rain and hail forecasted! It was actually a seasonally warm day.
It has been a long time (about 15 years) since we last drove Hayden Pass and we were looking forward to seeing what had changed with the trail.
There had been a large forest fire around Hayden Pass in 2016, and while we could see lots of burnt areas, we also saw a lot of recovery. There were young trees and shrubs around the trail.
The first part of Hayden Pass was a nice hill climb with great views. The trail was rocky and required high clearance, but it was not particularly difficult. We both did not have any issues with the hill.
There were a few nice camping spots and there were a few people camping.
The very top of Hayden Pass (an elevation of 10,709 feet) is about halfway through the trail. There is a big parking lot and trailhead for hiking trail 754, the Black Mountain Trail. This trail is not open to any vehicles. We stopped there for lunch before going down the pass on its west side.
Near the end of Hayden Pass on the way down the other side, the trail is very long and steep. It is probably easier to drive on than the east side, but it was very steep with loose rock and gravel.
At the bottom of the Hayden Pass trail we drove to the end of the dirt road and aired back up for the hour drive to the Great Sand Dunes and Medano Pass.