~ Hazel Pond Trail ~
The west trailhead is east of the Main House and switch-backs steeply down to Hazel Pond, crosses the dam, and goes steeply up the hillside to its east trailhead on the Eagle Feather Trail. The last few feet downhill to the pond itself can be slippery, as can be crossing the rocks of the dam itself. The pond was built in the 1930s as part of the original homestead. There are remnants of an old pump, water line, and electric line. Careful footing and walking sticks are recommended. As you stand on the dam, you are looking south at our trail-less swamp-jungle wilderness. The pond fills in with watercress and moss several times a year, requiring a cleanout — a refreshing chore on a hot summer day.
~ Hummingbird Trail ~
The north trailhead is along the Hazel Pond Trail, just above the Pond on the west side of the creek. It passes on the edge of the trees at the border of the swampy wilderness below it. The view of our wilderness plays peek-a-boo below you.
The trail parallels below Ruby Springs Trail, until joining it near Baldy Knoll. Many birds nest along here, but finding them is almost impossible. Near its south trailhead, a spur trail dives down to the rare Epipactis gigantea orchids.
~ Owl Trail ~
The southern Owl Trailhead is located on the east side of Hazel Pond and the trail goes north, parallel to, then crossing, the creek where it meets Raleigh Cove Trail. Sit on a warm rock during a sunny autumn day and watch the cattail seeds drift up and down the creek as the breeze opens the fuzzy parachutes.
During an intense summer rain storm, we spotted a Great Horned Owl sitting near the top of a huge ancient cedar along the headwaters of Ruby Springs Creek — with its wings spread above its head like an umbrella. This tree is along what later became the Owl Trail.
~ Wetfoot Trail ~
This trail is seldom used, and very hard to follow. The name says it all. Expect to get your feet wet. It goes through one of the swamp hillsides on the east side of Laughingwater Creek. The east trailhead is located on one of the switchbacks of Eagle Feather Trail, and it drops down through rushes, springs, and boulders, then crosses the creek at the north end of the Laughingwater Trail.
You pass near rare orchids, and in the winter you will pass by and over fantastic ice flows from the frozen springs. Joe has moved the trail several times but there is just no easy way to locate this trail.
~ Raven Trail ~
The east Raven Trailhead is located at the The Pond dam. The east portion of Raven Trail is parallel and above the Ancients’ Way Trail, heads due west and up hill, below the vegetable garden. The west trailhead is north of the garden. Raven was named because a family of ravens nested near its eastern end and the juveniles sat atop a large juniper, squawking their pleasure or displeasure at the world. A very large boulder near the Sage Flat Trail is named Raven Rock. And where Raven Trail drops down into the dry creek, we named the spot Raven Point.
Hazel Pond Trail Slide Show
Hummingbird Trail Slide Show
Owl Trail Slide Show
Ancients’ Way Slide Show
Raven Trail Slide Show
Junkyard Museum Trail Slide Show
~ Laughingwater Trail ~
This trail follows the edge of a section of Ruby Springs Creek. The north Laughingwater Trailhead is located near the creek at the junction of Wetfoot and Gimmee Trails. The south trailhead junctions with the lower Ruby Springs Trailhead. The creek flows year round at a steady rate and is entirely spring fed.
This area has a healing energy with the flowing water, small cascades, cattails and watercress. It gives a feeling of complete isolation from the outside world, and in summer offers cooler temperatures. In winter there are amazing ice flows from the frozen springs adjacent to the creek. Above the creek on the east side are more rare Epipactis orchids.
Wet Foot Trail Slide Show
~ Raleigh Cove Trail ~
Named after Joe’s father, this trail starts below the solar panels and follows the west side of the upper Ruby Springs drainage. Along the way, the heavy cattail patch gives way to a dry creek bed. Across the creek is the Owl Trail, and paralleling above you is the Junkyard Trail.
The upper end of the trail crosses the Raven Trail, and continues north to meet the Sage Flat Trail at our north fence. At the headwaters the large boulder patch made Joe think that his Dad growing up would have loved to sit here and enjoy being a kid back in flatland Illinois.
Ruby Springs Trails of Cedars
There are nine trails in this section.
Enjoy the slide shows ~~ make several trips to see it all!
And mobile users, read more details on your desktop device.
~ Ancients’ Way Trail ~
The trail is a short loop beginning and ending at different points of the Eagle Feather Trail, with short cutoffs to The Pond dam at the east extent of the loop. This trail was built once we cleared much of the tangle of brush and deadfall out of the upper drainage. This portion of the drainage has irrigation runoff sporadically through summer months from our neighbors’ fields above us.
There are fantastic, gnarly, ancient juniper along the trail, which is the northern edge of the ancient forest of juniper to the south. The drainage was created over the millennia by occasional natural runoff. Compare the abundant rocks in the drainage with the almost rockless Sage Flat.
~ Junkyard Museum Trail ~
This trail starts at the Main House and goes north, mid-slope, ending at the junction with Raven and Raleigh Cove Trails. It winds through boulders, big prickly pear cactus, juniper, and junk. The 1930s era homestead trashed the hillside. Our multi-decade removal of the homestead junk incorporated a variety of items along this trail.
We created the Junkyard Trail before the Juniper House with its picture window was constructed. With the junk in view, the “Junkyard Museum” sign explains this is an artificial junkyard, to recognize the homestead heritage.
Laughingwater Trail Slide Show
Raleigh Cove Trail Slide Show
30048 North Road
Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA.
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