On the Trail: Winter puts fresh face on Grizzly Creek | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: Winter puts fresh face on Grizzly Creek

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Nothing makes an old, familiar hike new again like seeing it in a different season.

So, I headed to the Grizzly Creek trailhead, east of Glenwood Springs, recently for my first winter exploration of that particular side canyon within Glenwood Canyon.

The idea was hardly ground breaking. Others had come before, leaving a broken trench in the snow for me to follow, at least for a mile or so. The tracks thinned out after that, but a snowshoer had left a nice, packed base that prevented me from postholing too often.

All of the side canyons in Glenwood Canyon make for nice hiking (though the Hanging Lake Trail is way too crowded for my taste in the summer months). They’re also steep and narrow enough that I would never consider skiing up one, which is probably why I tend to ignore them altogether once they’re buried in snow.

But, last winter I made my first-ever trip up to Hanging Lake during the winter and found it worthwhile, spurring me to try Grizzly Creek this time around. If anything, I’ve decided, Grizzly might be even more scenic than it is when it’s free of winter’s grasp.

For one thing, the dense tangle of brush that springs up between the trail and the creek in many places during the summer was absent, giving me views of the creek I’d never seen before.

Secondly, I didn’t see another soul on the trail during a three-hour out-and-back, and solitude always rates highly in my book when I’m on a solo hike. The powder, softening boulders into pillows sparkling in the sunlight, didn’t hurt either.

The canyon walls were steep enough in most spots to alleviate apprehension about avalanche danger, and much of the trail winds through deeply wooded areas.

I finally turned back, though, rather than cross below a large, treeless open area.

In fact, I went about as far as I ever go in the summertime, leaving much of the canyon still unexplored.

Next time.


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