My husband’s family owns a cabin in a tiny town in Colorado. Our cabin is nestled into the mountains at 9,000 feet, and surrounded by pristine trails, lakes and meadows. This summer we were horrified as the Spring Fire grew to destroy over 100,000 acres in southern Colorado, coming within an 8th of a mile of our cabin. We watched from Georgia and gave up hope that the firefighters would be able to save the tiny town of Cuchara. Just when we thought all was lost, the wind switched and it started to rain. Thank God!
Many of the trails surrounding us were damaged by bulldozers digging trenches to try and keep the fire from spreading. Yesterday I hiked a trail that was far enough away from the fire line to escape the bulldozers. Dikes Trails is part of the San Isabel National Forest and is 3.5 miles from the trailhead to the top of a ridge. I only made it 2 miles up and then 2 miles back down, because I had walked to the trailhead and still had to walk a mile back to the cabin.
This trail is a narrow single track with some sections of trail very overgrown.
Dikes is a switchback trail with mild grade. Most of the time you’re walking on level ground and then up a curve to the next flat part of the switchback. The trail is dotted with boulders that you can climb up on and have a rest. Through breaks in the trees, you get splendid views of the Cuchara Valley and two of the mountains that border the valley, Trinchera and Teddy’s Peak.
Cuchara is bear and mountain lion country. I hike alone, but I take a bear whistle and I try to make some noise as I go along. Nothing like surprising a wild animal and pissing them off!
This was my first hike on this Colorado trip, just a few hours after getting off the plane, and I could definitely feel the effects of the high altitude. I was huffing and puffing on the uphills!
If you’re lucky enough to hike this trail, stop in the little village of Cuchara and have lunch at the Dog Bar (named because dogs used to be allowed inside) or the Timbers Restaurant. The Dog Bar has an attached gift shop with great t-shirts. I buy a different one every year.
Cuchara is a resort town whose residents have only 3 or 4 months to make a living. It’s such a special little place, like nowhere else, and we try and support the merchants as much as possible in the short time we’re there.
Until next time, happy hiking!