Hermosa Creek Trail is about 20 miles long with many offshoot trails along its length. We chose to hike a portion of the trail from the North end because it was at a higher elevation and because hiking from the Southern end would have meant a steep uphill climb...we've had enough of that lately!
This trail is very popular despite the 8 mile dirt road one must travel to get to the North trail head. Mountain bikers like it as a shuttle ride; having a car at each end so you only have to ride the 20 miles down hill. We happened to hike it on a Saturday so it was pretty busy with hikers, bikers, horse riders and even ATV's, which are allowed on the first few miles. The ATVers were fishermen using their off road vehicles to access good fly fishing spots. The dirt access road was pretty good so there were a number of boondockers along the way as well.
The North end of the trail lies just South West of Durango Mountain ski area (Purgatory). It begins in beautiful meadows and simply follows Hermosa Creek all the way to highway 550. It was a lovely and gentle downhill for the four miles we hiked, surrounded by aspen and fir lined hillsides along burbling Hermosa Creek.
|A pretty meadow on the West side of Durango Mountain ski area.|
|Hermosa Creek bisects another pretty meadow near the trail head.|
|This is a highly zoomed shot of a marmot I spied on the opposite hillside.|
A local told us in a normal year this would still be snow covered.
|Our lunchtime half way point about 4 miles in.|
We watched trout in the small pool right in front.
|Leaving the trail head I snapped a photo of our awesome truck fording the creek.|
|Heading back towards the ski resort we spotted what looked like a dam and a mound lodge in the middle of a meadow.|
|Here's a close up of what appears to be a muskrat lodge.|
|Another gorgeous view from the muskrat meadow.|
After a beautiful day on the trail we had a fun night out with new friends, Deas and Jennifer, who are part-time RVers and write the blog Nealys on Wheels. We're all staying at Alpen Rose RV Park. First we headed to Mountain Madness Brewing Company for pizza and live music by the wonderful duo, Black Velvet.
|We really enjoyed listening to Black Velvet|
|The Needles pizza was delicious and PILED HIGH with roasted garlic.|
Watch out vampires!
|Hanging out with Jennifer and Deas at Ska Brewing Company.|
When we arrived back the the RV park we heard a karaoke party going on in the big tent. No photos, and no singing from the four of us...but it was fun to watch fellow campers taking the stage! It was another fun day on the road!