” Follow the road through the valley to the town of Eldora, where the pavement ends…” directions compliments of the US Forest Service, custom made for me.
Spend enough time in Colorado’s Front Range, and you’ll find that where the pavement ends, is more ubiquitous than where it begins. There’s lots of jokes about going “hiking in Colorado” especially now with the new changes in regulations on marajuana use. But jokes aside, hiking in Colorado, is some of the best. Much like the European Alps, trails are easy to come by, the American West has something long gone in the East. Space. Space for the wilderness. That’s not to say that Eastern outdoors doesn’t have its virtues, it does. Ever hear of a little thing called the Appalachian Trail? But the vastness of wild public lands in the Western US are of staggering proportion.
The Roosevelt National Forest is part of a contiguous chain of federally managed lands that include the Arapaho and Colorado State Forest, all together covering over a million acres of wilderness. Nestled in the heart of the Roosevelt is the teeny tiny town of Eldora, Colorado. Not even large enough to be recognized by the government as a town ( but rather a CDA- Census Designated Area) Eldora boasts an impressive population of 200 people.
Drive through Eldora’s single street to where the pavement ends and on any given day you’ll find more cars parked on the roadside than there are people in the town. A hugely popular trailhead, get the the Hessie early, or you’ll be adding at least a mile to your hike. From this main trailhead hikers can access beautiful alpine lakes, dispersed backcountry overnight sites, and stunning views of the peak’s of Colorado’s Mid Range.
Roosevelt National Forest, and The Hessie Trailhead is a trip well worth it, any time of year. Offering beautiful hiking in the summer, and pristine snowshoeing in the winter. So go, get out, and follow the road to where the pavement ends…
Want to know more? For additional info on Lost Lake, the Hessie Trailhead and Roosevelt National Forest, check out the Forest Service’s Website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/