TBT: Dark Canyon Hike
(Last Updated On: September 21, 2017)
This post is part of a Throwback Thursday series featuring trip reports that we haven’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.
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.
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.
One thing I’ve learned this summer – expect Forest Service signs to be at least a mile off!
The Anthracite creek has cut these walls.
The trail through the canyon was a mix of canyon scenery and forest. Frank.
From green to brilliantly red!
The confluence with the Ruby Anthracite.
As we hiked upward, the colors kept getting better and better.
And the river runs through it.
After a few miles, we began climbing up out of the canyon. Frank with Ragged Peak behind.
Me enjoying the yellow leaves.
Marcellina was in our sights most of the hike.
The late afternoon sun was amazing.
Owen and Ruby greeted us also.
And so did a pica!
Follow the yellow-leaf road.
And my favorite overlook.
Fall doesn’t get much more beautiful than this.
The dyke radiated as it was surrounded by gold.
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful time of year for a Dark Canyon hike!
Brittany Walker Konsella
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