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Sentinel Point & 

Horse Thief Trail 

 Divide, Colorado 

 

Sentinel Point

 

     

 

Trip Details:

 

Sentinel Point, Divide Colorado 

July 12, 2006

Up Horse Thief Trail to turn toward the "saddle" then up wash gully to Sentinel Falls, across to ridgeline and across alpine meadow to sentinel point.  

Took wash to north of falls down during a large hail and rain storm.  

Valley was nice but I had difficulty finding Horse Thief Trail on way out and ended up several miles north on Highway 67.

 

   
 

Directions:  

Trailhead: Take Highway 24 West to Divide. At Divide turn south on highway 67 and go a little over 9 miles. The road will pass by the old tunnel entrance. Continue to the other (South) side of the tunnel to find the parking area. (Lat:38.83462 Lon:-105.13721)

Summary: The trail starts on the SE end of the parking lot. Follow this trail to Horsethief Park. Just after the terrain levels out look for a left turn marked with a ring-the-peak signpost. Take this trail that immediately crosses a stream. Follow this trail North through a small valley with several beaver ponds. The trail will make a Y where the valley begins to veer right. Take the right leg of the Y that continues in this small valley. The trail will soon reach an area where it follows an old stream bed. When the trail fades head right and up to the ridge to Sentinel Point Then descend south from Sentinel Point staying on the East side of the ridge. Look for an opening in the rocky ridge at a small saddle and descend there. Head down until you reach the stream, follow the stream until you reach Horsetheif Falls trail. Follow this trail downhill and it will lead you back to the Trailhead.


Highlights:


Beaver Ponds, views, alpine tundra, waterfalls, solitude. Great hike.

Near:

Divide, CO

Scenery:

Lush river valley to Alpine Meadow

Distance:

6 miles round trip

Elevation Gain:

3000 ft

Hike Time:

5 hours

Difficulty:

Moderate

Trail Condition:

Poorly maintained trail; no trail to top.

HikeType:

Loop

 

 

 

Beaver Ponds on lower Horse Thief Trail

Lower part of trail is flat for first mile through lush valley.  Just past the 2nd beaver ponds, I turned right from Horse Thief trail to start climb to the Point.

This portion of the trail represents an example of a mountain riparian ecosystem.  Mountain meadows, marshes and fens may be observed  at the sub-alpine level.

 

Horse Thief Trail and Miner's Cabin Remains

Willows nearest the stream with the trees held back by the stream and moisture in the soils.

Climbing through the Rock Field

Attempted to stay between the rock fields and climb in the wash gully.  Climbing in the rocks was slow going at best.

 

South Side of the Saddle

Climb up through the Saddle by following a gulch trail east up the mountain for approximately 2 miles  

 

Other half of the saddle on north side (below)

The saddle North Side

At this point, there was some question on continuing over the difficult terrain plus the steep elevation gain.  This picture was taken from the wash gully that was serving as the trail next to the rock field.  At points the climb was 3 points (2 hands and leg or butt).  Very difficult.

 

 

Sentinel Falls

 

Sentinel Falls

Falls are above timberline in an alpine meadow of wildflowers and springs.  Marsh conditions in places.

Steep elevation slope.

 

Sentinel Falls

Above timberline the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.  

 

 

Top View

Cripple Creek is in the valley to the west.

 

 

Mine in Alpine Meadow

Miner brought in all these materials as the mine was well above timberline.  

Deep shaft open pit style mine.  

Note the great clouds.

 

Mine Descent

Alpine Flowers

 

Sentinel Point

 

 

Curious Pronghorn at top in alpine Meadow

Turned out the Horn was much faster than I was in the difficult terrain and approaching was impossible.

In lower area along Horse Thief Trail, several large groups of white tail elk were grazing near the river.

One very large bird scared from a spruce tree nest near timberline.  Not sure if this is golden eagle habitat or not but 4-foot wing span and powerful flight made me think so.

Lots of bear droppings in area.

 

Aspen Grove in lower section

 

Cabin remains in lower section near mine

Open pit mine to the north about 30 yards.

 

 

my Links

Sentinel Point

http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/SentinelPoint_0000.asp

http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/animals/bighorn.htm

 http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/seven/w67trmem/w67tr11.htm

 

OK.  When you reach the top of the alpine meadow there is a road.  Guess it would have been easier to drive, then walk down, but look what I would have missed.  This road is likely the Pike's Peak Highway.

 
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