This trail ended up being a nice surprise for everyone. We expected nothing more than a dirt road shortcut on our way from Denver to Alamosa but instead we found a nice trail with gorgeous views and fun rocky sections. It was a great start to our weekend.
We met in Castle Rock early so we could get to Alamosa in time to relax for Saturday's trip to Blanca Peak. Though we had a group of six vehicles on Blanca Peak we only had three vehicles on Hayden Pass. Ladd's Jeep filled up with water during recent rains and it was still drying out, so he was hours behind us and decided to stay on the pavement. Robert and Eric met us the next morning, instead.
We got to Cotopaxi around lunch time so we decided to stop there instead of eating on the trail. We had a great lunch in a small cafe. The whole trip through the canyon was gorgeous and fun as we watched a lot of rafters go down the river. It was pretty chilly, though, so it was probably better just to watch.
We aired down at the campground which was very nice. It was a little hazy, with the clouds very low between the mountains. We started the trail and it was a little damp but not wet or particularly muddy.
The climb up the hill was fun though not particularly challenging. The scenery was amazing, though. We stopped and took lots of pictures of the low-hanging clouds as we drove up into them.
It was close to the top when we actually drove up to above the clouds on the pass. It was sunny and nice as we got out to stretch our legs.
The trip down was sunny and much different than the trip up. The hill was very long and very steep. It was wide, which meant even though it was loose it wasn't too intimidating.
The western side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains is very sloped, so it takes awhile to come down to the valley floor though you can see your trail for at least a mile, stretching out in front of you. It was beautiful as we came down to the floor and aired up at a turnout on the side of the road.
It was a great start to a great weekend as we headed off to Alamosa with plenty of time to check into hotels and get to dinner and a relaxing evening of playing pool. Ladd met us later and we got ourselves mentally prepared for Blanca Peak in the morning.