~ Burnt Pole Trail ~
The Burnt Poleupper trailhead is located 50 feet east of the old homestead cabin near the Colwell Cedars west fence. The trail goes steeply downhill, through sage, rocks and juniper, and midway down, passes at the base of a power pole, then connects with the Sleeping Cedar Trail just west of the creek crossing, near the north Old Forest trailhead. In its short distance it goes from dry cactus and sage environment to wet creek with tall mint, watercress and tall straight juniper.
This was one of the first trails constructed before we moved here; we camped in the old cabin and built the trail to access the center ridge. In our explorations of Colwell Cedars in the early 1990s, we found burnt pieces of cross arm on the ground at the base of the power pole. We looked up and saw the electric wires and cross arm were not attached to the pole. DMEA—our electric co-op—was grateful that we called, as they had been looking for the reason for periodic power outages for months and couldn’t figure out where their problem was.
West Ridge Area Trails of Cedars
There are four trails in this area. Enjoy your strolls!
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West Ridge Trail Slide Show
Old Forest Trail Slide Show
~ West Ridge Loop Trail ~
This trail circles the east and west edges of the West Ridge. The trailheads branch off the West Ridge Trail south of the old homestead cabin, one to the right and one to the left. Near the end of the ridge, the West Loop Trail shares the West Ridge Trail for several feet. This trail winds through sage, juniper, native grass bunches, “west barrel cactus city,” level and rocky sections, and moderate elevation changes.
The west side of the loop overlooks Colwell Cedars' southwest corner way down below—another mini-wilderness. Completely different than the wilderness along Ruby Springs Creek, this area is a very dry west slope, with several patches of the desert plant Mormon Tea. A great place to sit in the sun on a fall or winter day.
Burnt Pole Trail Slide Show
~ West Ridge Trail ~
Most of this trail is a 4-wheel drive track, created when DMEA built the power line up from Rogers Mesa. Only the south end was built as a foot trail. It continues down the east slope of the ridge, where it junctions with Sleeping Cedar and Gandercon Trails near the creek. This extension downhill makes it one of our longest trails, with the biggest diversity of vegetation and views. Using our 4-wheeler, this trail is the easiest way for visitors to experience the views from our south and west edges of Colwell Cedars, including viewing the first spring cactus blooms and Townsendia daisies.
West Ridge Loop Trail Slide Show
~ Old Forest Trail ~
Old Forest Trail is a “hairpin” loop, with both trailheads on the Burnt Pole Trail. The trail accesses the middle slope of the east side of West Ridge, between the Sleeping Cedar and the east portion of West Ridge Loop Trails. The upper trailhead is near the Velvet Rock junction with Burnt Pole; and the lower trailhead is near the Burnt Pole junction with Sleeping Cedar. It has stretches of level grassy mixed with moderately rocky treads. The trail gives a good feeling for an area not cleaned up as part of the defensible space effort to remove downfall and dead limbs.
30048 North Road
Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA.
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