So yesterday I finally decided to run Waldo Canyon Trail, instead of my usual Manitou Incline/Barr Trail. I don't know why I haven't done this one, as I've heard great things about it. Perhaps I was a little intimidated by the climbing, and the 7 mile length. So glad I finally did! I've driven past the trail head for this one many times, and it gets quite popular in the afternoons on the weekends, and now I know why.
Right away after a few switch backs the trail carries you out to a point that sticks out over the highway in the pass. I look up at this point all the time, so it was so cool to finally be up top. Amazing the mixture of quartz, granite and sandstone... really cool.
Here is another look up the pass from the lookout
At the beginning of the ~ 3.5 mi "loop" portion, there is a very cool bench (Eagle scout project), and a well marked sign noting the loop. I went clockwise around to hit some of the steeper stuff going up, versus down.
I had read the info on the trail markings before hand, because I was paranoid about missing a turn and ending up somewhere in Utah... but fortunately the trail is very well marked. After starting the loop I knew I would cross over the stream 5 times (stream is relative as not all of it had water right now). After the 5th crossing was the switchback on the trail that I was worried I might miss... as you can see below, not hard to miss :-)
From this point the trail continues to climb to reach the high point about halfway through the loop. Overall the trail gains just over 1,000 ft.. starting at just over 7,000 ft and reaching close to 8,100 ft at the top. What I really liked about this portion is when the trail really opened up to great views of Pikes Peak..
|More cool single track|
|Cruising in front of Pikes Peak|
|Love the different colors of dirt and rock along the trail|
Finally, the downhill portion of the trail begins..... my favorite part of course.. Here's the best part... I was cruising along and thinking "wow.... I love this trail... it is so awesome... it's beautiful... I'm just gliding on down the trail.... it doesn't get any better than this...." and of course, those of you that run trails knows exactly what happened next! Yep... see this pic below? I took it after the header I took.... yep, see that root in the trail... just exploded out of the ground and grabbed my foot... I know it wasn't there before hand!
|The spot I decided to take a little "rest".. note broken branch :-(