Colwell Cedars Retreat
~ merging awareness, creativity, and nature ~
Sage Flat Area Trails
~ Sage Flat Trail ~
This trail starts at the blue gate — the first trail you see as you enter Colwell Cedars. It follows an old two-track path east along our northern fence-line, down across Ruby Springs Draw, then up to cross the Flat.
Compare the vegetation on our side of the fence with that on the north side. We don’t graze livestock on Colwell Cedars. Notice the abundance of Indian Rice grass ( a native species) along the old two-track, plus great views of the Black Canyon uplift and distant San Juans.
The trail/track crosses an old irrigation dam (we call it The Pond) which holds tail-water from our east neighbor’s fields. The original two-track ends here, and a track for our 4-wheeler extends south about 1/8 mile. The Sage Flat Trail winds along the center of the flat: wonderful forest of old-growth juniper and sagebrush. There are relatively few rocks, with plenty of places to see deer lounging under trees, or places where you can lounge under an ancient juniper yourself. It ends at the junction with East Loop and Eagle Feather Trails.
~ East Loop Trail ~
The trailhead is about 50 feet south of The Pond dam, and circles east along our north fence, then south along our east fence, over relatively level terrain, with great views of the West Elks and Ruby Range to the east.
At its southern-most extent, the terrain angles down to Ruby Springs, with the trail hugging the edge of the level, but is slightly downhill.
It winds north, giving great views of the Ancient Forest below — an area of old-growth, half-dead junipers, amid areas of native Rice Grass and Needlegrass (a great display of what this area looked like centuries ago). The Loop ends at the trailhead start, crossing the Sage Flat Trail.
~ Eagle Feather Trail ~
Built to connect Sage Flat with our Center Ridge, this is one of our steepest as well as longest trails, but worth the hike. Let’s start where it leaves the southern-most junction of Sage Flat and East Loop Trails. It drops steeply off the Flat towards Ruby Springs, angling northwest. Then it levels off and heads north, paralleling the creek, bordering what we call the wilderness — a trail-less, swampy, spring-covered hillside, a nearly impenetrable jungle of grasses, wild roses, and more.
The trail continues above the creek and comes out at the dry upper end of Ruby Springs Draw. Along the way, three trails branch off: Hazel Pond, Ancients’ Way and Raven Trail. During ‘construction’, Joe found an eagle feather in the middle of the trail, thus the name. All the water you hear rushing in the creek below originates in the springs along the hillside.
30048 North Road
Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA.
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