CT - Segment 1: Waterton Canyon to South Platte River
ElevationAscent: 2,512' 766 m
Descent: -1,902' -580 m
High: 7,506' 2,288 m
Low: 5,506' 1,678 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 35% (19°)
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“A great trail beginning with South Platte views and finishing in a more alpine region.”— David B
Once you reach the shelter at the top of the trail near the dam, you continue on past the buildings to continue on the Colorado Trail. From here, your pace may slow, as the incline gets steeper and as the road turns more into true trail. Watch for rocks and roots, and be sure to bring plenty of food and water!
The first mile of the road is through open space with grasslands and cottonwoods along the Platte River. After this, you'll enter the canyon where the road winds alongside the river. Wildlife abounds here and you may see elk, big horn sheep, or other critters scattered through the mountains. You'll have great views of the Platte River as the road meanders along its banks for about six miles.
Around the three mile mark, there is a small pull-out with restrooms and a picnic spot. You'll see numerous mountain bikers along the way, and you may encounter a few Denver Water vehicles, but this is rare as the road is closed to motor vehicles.
Around 4.5 miles, the slope gets a bit steeper as you make your way up to a small man-made dam and reservoir. The road narrows here, and the rock outcroppings are a bit more pronounced than along the earlier miles of the road. Past this point, the road gets a little bit steeper (compared to the barely noticeable incline you were on previously) as you wind your way up past the Strontia Springs Dam.
You'll continue on past a sign marking the continuation of the Colorado Trail. Take in the scenery as you continue on the more narrow trail. Soon, you'll be climbing through singletrack trails, and will make use of various switchbacks. Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as you'll end your journey nearly 2,000 ft. higher than the starting point. The temperatures might drop quickly, and weather changes quickly.
Mixed pine and aspen forest, along with scrub brush and wild clover are dotted along this trail.
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