First official day of autumn – hooray, our long summer of forest fires is over!

Kicked off the season with my first group hike.  Soon after the lightning strike on Audubon, my former co-worker Leslie suggested that I try meetup.  Haven’t had a ton of luck thus far – lotta weekday hikes (I work), Sunday hikes (I go to church) & RMNP hikes (no dogs allowed in national parks). AND had signed up for 2 hikes which were both ultimately cancelled.  But no worries – made this hike that much more anticipated!

Our hike organizer Ava, a Bailey CO resident, couldn’t have spoken more favorably about the fall foliage on Ben Tyler trail.

Ben Tyler, located in the Lost Creek Wilderness, is approximately 45 minutes southwest on route 285 from the 285/C470 intersection ( southwest of Denver).Driving out you’ll notice that one advantage is the ability to miss I70 weekend traffic. The Bailey trail head is right off the highway, so no dirt road driving needed.


This hike takes you into deep forest & Aspens along a creek. In the fall it is most DEFINITELY IMPRESSIVE to see the HUGE golden Aspen grove in the middle of a deep green Evergreen forest.


You will be able to see it in full view from the highway, but actually need to hike up 3 or more miles experience its beauty (that’s the fun part)! Hiking up to the saddle is close to 6 miles one way. That is my plan. Following this scenario, I would say that in my opinion, this is NOT an easy hike. It is rated moderate below, I’ve also seen it rated as difficult. I think it’s just LONG. The very end has a few switch backs and of course the elevation is getting higher.

9am trailhead meetup time so enjoyed a rare Saturday morn sleep-in.  12 hikers AND 3 dogs joined our trek – big group!

Hike was 11+ miles roundtrip so didn’t even notice the 3,200ft trail incline – very gradual. PLUS there were multiple stops along the way.  Beautiful colour…Ava was not joking.  The Aspens were at or just past peak.  Ro & I generally push hard to summit early in the day so had to adjust our pace.  That said, met some AMAZING folks on our trek – lotta former East Coasters (NY, NJ & Florida). Ro LOVED hiking with Karma (a Jack Russell) and Pedal (shepherd mix).  Think group [hikes] are Ro’s new go-to ‘s.

Happy first day of Autumn 2012!


Next weekend might see me with a few of today’s hikers enjoying RMNP.  As most of ya’ll know ‘FREE is for ME’ 🙂

The National Park Service will offer the following Fee Free Days this year:

  • September 29 (Public Lands Day)



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One Response to hike #38: Ben Tyler Trail (Bailey/Shawnee CO)

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, awesome shots… and so neat that you hiked in a group! Looking at these photos made me a bit homesick for fall. Fall is my FAVOURITE time of the year… I LOVE the trees, and the changing colours! Thanks for sharing your shots of trees. 🙂 S

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