TBT: Dark Canyon Hike

(Last Updated On: September 21, 2017)

This post is part of a Throwback Thursday series featuring trip reports that we havenโ€™t had a chance to write about until now! Look for them at least every other Thursday!

A recent storm engulfed the state of Colorado and doused our high peaks with some snow. In some places, enough snow fell to ski. Unfortunately, we at 14erskiers missed this skiing opportunity as we traveled to a wedding on the east coast, which united two of our close friends. While ski season has officially begun, it’s still fall in many places. And we have a few fall things left to share.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

My birthday is at the end of September. In the Colorado high country, that means that my birthday usually occurs when the aspen leaves are at their peak. Since early August, I knew the very hike I wanted to do on my birthday – Dark Canyon – all 13 miles of it – or what turned out to be more like 14.5 miles. Though the leaves had peaked a bit early this year, the timing for the hike was actually perfect, with brilliant colors from beginning to end.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Most people do the full Dark Canyon hike beginning at Horse Ranch, walking largely downhill. I would always rather hike up than down, so we parked our car at Horse Ranch (where we would end) and hitched a ride down to Erickson Springs. Hitching this time of year is easy- we waited less than one minute.

The entrance of the Dark Canyon.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

One thing I’ve learned this summer – expect Forest Service signs to be at least a mile off!
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

The Anthracite creek has cut these walls.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

The trail through the canyon was a mix of canyon scenery and forest. Frank.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

From green to brilliantly red!
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

The confluence with the Ruby Anthracite.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

As we hiked upward, the colors kept getting better and better.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

And the river runs through it.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

After a few miles, we began climbing up out of the canyon. Frank with Ragged Peak behind.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Me enjoying the yellow leaves.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Marcellina was in our sights most of the hike.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Beckwith.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

The late afternoon sun was amazing.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Owen and Ruby greeted us also.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

And so did a pica!
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Follow the yellow-leaf road.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

And my favorite overlook.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Fall doesn’t get much more beautiful than this.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

The dyke radiated as it was surrounded by gold.
Dark Canyon hike in fall near Crested Butte, CO

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful time of year for a Dark Canyon hike!

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚ Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Summary
Dark Canyon Hike
Article Name
Dark Canyon Hike
Description
The Dark Canyon trail is 13 miles in length, going from Erickson Springs to Horse Ranch. An easy shuttle, this trail makes a fantastic fall hike!
Author

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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