Colwell Cedars Retreat
~ merging awareness, creativity, and nature ~
~ Fur and Feathers Trail ~
This loop trail passes through an area frequented by deer and lots of birds. It is mostly level, circling the northwest corner of Colwell Cedars. Its beginning and ending trailhead is located across the gravel lane west of the vegetable garden. The trail twice crosses the dirt & gravel lane that leads to the cabin on our west side, and winds among juniper, sumac, wild asparagus, sage and grasses.
The lower portion passes above the Owl Pond (next to a juniper with the historic great horned owl nest); the small opening above the pond might have been a corral during the homestead years. Deer often lay in the sun on mornings both summer and winter in this spot. As the deer come out of the fields to the north, they tend to bed down among the juniper in the section along the west fence. We recently put a gate in the fence near the northwest corner to provide alternate access, similar to the old 4-wheel track that originally came to this corner on both sides of the fence.
~ Gandercon Trail ~
This trail parallels our south boundary fence, and crosses Cabin Creek. Its west trailhead is also the junction of the lower West Ridge and Sleeping Cedar Trailheads, just above the creek.
The east Gandercon Trailhead junctions with the lower Center Ridge Trailhead. The lower Cabin Creek Trailhead connects with the Gandercon on the east side of the creek.
~ Phacelia Trail ~
This is one of the newer trails, a shortcut connecting Center Ridge Trail high up on the ridge with the Cabin Creek Trail down by the creek. It was originally a strange looking pathway cutting down the hill; Joe cleaned and cleared and developed the trail tread.
~ Velvet Rock Trail ~
The upper trailhead for the Velvet Rock Trail is located near the north end of the dirt road to the west cabin. The trail goes south midway down the slope on West Ridge. It winds through juniper, sage, cactus, and grasses and spring wildflowers, and crosses the Fur and Feathers Trail, the Cabin Cutoff Trail, and ends with a junction at Burnt Pole Trail.
This trail is an alternative to walking the dirt road to West Ridge. The naming of this trail is one of the most interesting at Colwell Cedars. We could say that the moss on the rocks is like velvet, which it is, especially after a rain. But all trails are like that. During construction of the trail, Joe found several rusted Velvet brand tobacco tins. That was it! You should see the tins on branches near the intersection of Velvet Rock with Cabin Cutoff.
~ Jupiter Trail ~
This short, mostly level trail connects Lost with Dirty Dog. Along and above the trail to the north are several large boulders which Joe named for the four main moons of Jupiter: Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Calisto. The trail is slightly uphill from the Jupiter tree, a massive old juniper that is a landmark on the lower Center Ridge slope.
Most junipers on the ridge tops have typical dry-site growth pattern: short, gnarly and twisted. Lower down the slopes and along the creeks, juniper grows tall and straight. The Jupiter tree is tall, but many limbed and impressive any way you look at it. This trail skirts the upper edge of an opening that is discussed for the Cabin Creek Trail, which parallels this trail a hundred feet down the slope.
~ Sleeping Cedar Trail ~
This is one of our longest trails and offers one of the best experiences. The north trailhead is located where the Cabin Cutoff Trail crosses the dry upper end of Cabin Creek. From here the trail parallels the bottom of the draw on the east side below the Main House, then crosses the creek near the junctions of Lost, Cabin Creek and Burnt Pole Trails.
The Sleeping Cedar Trail then follows the edge of the creek on the west side. It passes through an open area we call Bronto Basin, named for a massive dead cedar in the creek that we call Brontosaurus Tree. The trail then passes among juniper, under sumac, and above the Rose Garden (an area of 20′ tall wild roses).
The trail continues on to its lower trailhead, at the junction of GanderCon and West Ridge Trails, near our south fence. The trail is named for all the down and leaning old cedars in this area. Near its south end, adjacent to the creek, is Buttercup Meadow, in spring time a concentration of brilliant yellow. There is an energy all along Cabin Creek which is felt as you walk in peaceful meditation.
Cabin Creek Drainage Trails
There are eight trails in this section. Very diverse --- worth several trips. Enjoy!
~ Cabin Cutoff Trail ~
This trail is a short cut alternative to walking to the West Ridge and the west cabin along the gravel lane and dirt track. Its west trailhead is 50 yards east of the cabin (near the Burnt Pole Trailhead), and the east trailhead is near the Main House front door.
This may have been the first trail we built, in 1991. We camped in the west cabin while on vacation here and this trail, in all its incarnations enabled us to explore deeper and deeper within Colwell Cedars' 40 acres. The first relocation was to avoid the junipers used by great horned owls as nesting trees. Then, when we built the house, we relocated the entire east half of the trail. Somewhere along the way, we totally moved the west half of the trail. Talk about reincarnations, the Cabin Cutoff Trail has led many lives!
~ Cabin Creek Trail ~
The upper trailhead junctions with Sleeping Cedar Trail near the lower Lost and Burnt Pole Trailheads.
This trail is on the east side of Cabin Creek. It is mostly level, with a few ups and downs, rocks and grass. It shares a few feet with the Dirty Dog Trail, but continues south along the creek (while the Dirty Dog crosses the creek and ends). The Cabin Creek Trail passes above the Buttercup Meadow before ending at the Gandercon Trail near its Cabin Creek crossing.
Originally a large section along the north portion of Cabin Creek Trail was thick with Canada thistle and hard to maintain. Joe’s perseverance with noxious weed eradication has paid off, and the native species are returning: wild roses, cattails, and native wheatgrass among others.
30048 North Road
Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA.
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