We headed out to the Transfer Recreation Area (see Part 4 and Map 3, here) passing some amazing boondocking sites in meadows bordered by stands of quaking aspen and fir and pine. We chose to hike a five mile loop that gave us canyon and snow capped mountain views, dropping down to follow the West Fork of the Mancos River at full flow with spring runoff.
Hike specifics: We parked at the West Mancos Overlook, took the Rim Trail South, the Box Canyon Trail down to the river, then the West Mancos Trail North along the river, then the Transfer Trail back up to the truck. That was five miles, then we walked the short and easy Big Al Trail to a viewing platform providing amazing unobstructed views of the La Plata Mountains. Elevation ranged from 8900 feet to 8200 feet at the river, then back up to 8900 feet.
The river segment had some steep ups and downs when the trail had to avoid the river or some obstacle on the bank, but all in all it was a fairly easy hike, especially if you are a lucky soul who is used to higher elevations.
|View from the Rim Trail. The West Mancos River goes through the canyon below us.|
|Taking the Box Canyon Trail down to the river, we passed through a jumble of brilliant green and white aspen.|
|We were ushered onto the West Mancos Trail by a lovely carpet of bright yellow.|
|What is this unique looking flower?|
|We love hiking near the sound and the rush of water.|
|Here the entire river is channeled between two rocks.|
|Back up on the rim we had lunch in this bucolic setting.|
|Incredible unobstructed views from the viewing platform on the Big Al Trail.|
|Jersey Jim Lookout|
|Plenty of big rigs boondocking up here.|
|More big rig space, for free!|