On the trail: Looking down on Glenwood Canyon | AspenTimes.com
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On the trail: Looking down on Glenwood Canyon

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesA flat rock, the perfect spot for a picnic, is perched over the east end of Glenwood Canyon.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – I was ready to dust off my hiking boots last weekend with the best kind of hike – one that adds a new layer of dust as I explore a place I’ve never been before.A friend and I headed to the far end of Glenwood Canyon, getting off the interstate at Dotsero and doubling back on the frontage road to a trailhead and parking area that serves the Glenwood Canyon bike trail from the east end. Virtually everyone there was preparing to bike through the canyon, but we had a more lofty goal in mind.Actually, we weren’t sure what we had in mind, but I knew there was a hiking trail heading back into the sage, beyond a gate that was closed, but not locked. The route is open to horses and mountain biking, as well, but no motorized uses.We followed a dusty, rocky road that climbed through the sage and into juniper and pion country. The ground had a parched feel and I would never consider this hike in the summer, when it must be beastly hot. Since we weren’t sure where we were headed, we stayed left whenever the road forked, always heading up and back toward Glenwood Canyon.The road narrowed to a trail in places and eventually we gained enough elevation to admire the views, east toward Dotsero and distant, snow-capped peaks, across the far canyon wall to the more gently rolling landscape above it and eventually, straight down to the muddy Colorado River. The canyon takes on a whole different look from above, compared to the vantage point of the interstate at the bottom.We didn’t go far as the crow flies, but there was a lot of zigzagging around deep ravines before we reached an outcropping that appeared to be the end of the road, in about 90 minutes. There, on the edge of the canyon, was platform of rock, shaded by a juniper tree. The interstate, seemingly directly below, was mostly obscured from view, but we watched a train wind out of the canyon, far below. It looked like a toy from our perspective.I dubbed the spot Picnic Point. Next time, I’ll know to actually bring a picnic.janet@aspentimes.com


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