The Shields-McGee Loop through the middle of the Fourmile Area was a short and easy one. We decided to pair Sevenmile Creek and the Lenhardy Cutoff to make a much bigger loop through the northern part of the area to see still more of it. We started at Trout Creek Pass, an area we've driven through fairly regularly for a decade now. We always wondered where the dirt track went, and we were looking forward to finding out.
There was yet another kiosk with maps near the trailhead, but we'd already make our plan at other kiosks. The scenery in the big meadow and in Chubb Park was fantastic, and we snapped lots of pictures. The trail started out as a well-maintained dirt road.
There were some turns and easy switchbacks as we climbed a bit. The views of the Collegiate Mountains were spectacular. We crossed through Sevenmile Creek in a couple of places, though it was very shallow.
When we got to the intersection with forest service road 373 we turned right to take that rather than stay on 311. We wanted to find Fourmile Arch. Mike and Monica had just returned from Utah, and we didn't have our fill of arches just yet.
We were scanning the hillside for the arch when we found a small pullout at the side of the trail. We stopped, thinking that it must be for the arch. After looking at the rocks for a minute we found it, high above us as a natural bridge. It would be a fun hike and we had read about it online, but the shadows were getting longer and we had many miles yet to see. We hung out to relax for just a big longer, and then we were back in our Jeeps.
The loop along 373 ended up being very scenic in addition to the arch. We could see across the way to where the arch was as we cruised along. It's definitely a pretty area.
We hit forest service road 375 and found a wide, maintained road. We weren't on it long before we took the spur to the Sailor Homestead. We saw lots of people camping along the spur, and we talked about a future 4th of July camping trip there. It would be perfect.
The spur ended at a very big area where we could park and turnaround. There was no camping there, but it would be a perfect lunch spot someday. We walked around the homestead, exploring the area. We saw a gravesite but it wasn't marked, so it may or may not be real. There were foundations built from rock, and a relaxing and lazy spot under a huge tree next to the creek. The creek wasn't deep but it was many feet wide in spots. It would be a great place to get a break from the heat and stick your feet in the water.
We headed back to the main road and then out to find the end of the trail. We were halfway done airing up when Matt reminded Monica that we were going to take the Lenhardy Cutoff on the way out. We got so lazy in the late afternoon shadows that the rest of us forgot. We were aired up, but we decided to do the new trail anyway. Exploring new areas is always a great time.