After a couple days of snow, I was finally starting to see a break in the weather. I’d been in the Rockies for a couple of weeks, but with a streak of mishaps on the road – a broken down van, freezing temps, and a lost phone – I still hadn’t been able to climb in the mountains. The forecast was looking promising though, so I looked up few trails out of Crestone, and decided to check out Willow Lake. I was doing this trail in the middle of winter however, so I had a little extra preparation to do.
Valley View Hot Springs
As far as American hot springs go, I’d rank Valley View as one of the classics. It sits high up in the Sange De Christo Mountains in Colorado, with expansive views over the San Luis Valley. It has a long, alluring history, with ancient uses by Native Americans, and hippy homesteading in the 1970s. They have a progressive philosophy, with low impact development, an open-space preserve, non-profit structure, and off-grid, micro-hydroelectric power. I had heard about Valley View when I lived in California, and was excited to check in to this place for a night. I ended up extending my stay for a second night because it was so lovely.
Orvis Hot Springs
I stopped by Orvis Hot Springs last week on New Year’s Eve. This place was very good, with a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere, and lots of toasty pools to soak in. I stayed one night, camping in the campground, and had a wonderful visit. In fact I’d rank Orvis as my favorite hot springs in the Southwest Colorado. It it very good.
Ouray Hot Springs
I stopped into Ouray last weekend to check out the hot springs in town. These hot springs are run by the City of Ouray, and look very much like you typical public swimming pool except they have hot pools filled with natural hot spring water. While I was there in the winter, there were two very large hot pools for soaking in. In the summer, they even more facilities, including a lap pool and activity pool for kids. These hot springs cater well to the general public, particularly families, and were very popular the day I was there.
Canyonlands National Park – Druid Arch Trail
I did the Druid Arch Trail last week in Canyonlands, an excellent trail out to a lone arch hidden deep in the Needles District. The trail followed Elephant Canyon, a particularly scenic canyon that wove through big stands of sandstone spires. At the far end of the canyon, the trail climbs into a big bowl, with a nice lunch area, and amazing view next to the arch. I loved this hike and recommend it.
Canyonlands National Park – Confluence Trail
I spent a nice afternoon on the Confluence Trail earlier this month while in Canyonlands. This was a nice trail that went out to a overlook above where the Green and the Colorado Rivers converge. Along the way I had good views of other parts of the park, including Island in the Sky and the Maze, while enjoying a lesser seen part of the Needles District. Overall, this was a good hike, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Canyonlands National Park – Chesler Park and the Joint Trail
I hiked through the Needles District of Canyonlands earlier this month, doing the wonderful Joint Trail loop in Chesler Park. The Joint Trail explored a deep fracture in the rocks, and was really cool. The crack was nearly a half a mile long, and just wide enough for a person to walk through, much like a narrows. This was a long day-hike, with a fair amount of gain, but a great loop, and a lot of fun.
Canyonlands National Park – Murphy Trail
A couple weeks ago, I did the wonderful Murphy Trail in Canyonlands National Park. I did this hike in two parts, a short 2 mile hike out to the Murphy Overlook, and then a long loop through the Green River basin. The trip provided wonderful views over the east side of the park, including White Rim Canyon, the Maze and Candlestick Butte. The loop portion included a steep descent down the Wingate Cliffs, and a long climb back up at the end of the day. Despite the strenuous climb, however, the extended loop was very scenic, and provided great access to quieter parts of the Island in the Sky District.