Trail Name: Badger Mountain Trail
Location: West of Lake George, Colorado
Date: December 21, 2019
Time at the Trail Head: 8:30 am
Trail Length: 2.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,765 feet
Elev. at Trail Head: 9,497 feet
# of Hikers Passed: 0
# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 0
# of Horses Passed: 0
I wanted to find a trail farther away from Denver and in an area I haven’t hiked before. I have made the drive on US-24 from Gunnison to Colorado Springs, Colorado several times and loved the scenery so I thought I would try that area.
I found a trail west of the town of Florissant, Colorado by about 15 miles. The Badger Mountain trail is a short trail, only 2.1 miles round trip but it is straight up the mountain, without switchbacks. I liked this area because it looks out over a large valley to the west and then beyond to the Rocky Mountains near Buena Vista, Colorado.
I used AllTrails again for my research. I knew this would be a hard hike with the elevation gain of 1,765 feet in one mile and I thought it would be a good time to go as it had been over a week since the last big snow in the Rocky Mountains.
Let’s just say that I need to do more research on the trail and the weather conditions or amount of snow fall in the area as you will find out shortly.
Drive to the Trail
The drive to the trail is beautiful as I started out in Castle Rock, just south of Denver. I took I-25 south to Colorado Springs and then headed west on US-24 through Woodland Park, Divide and then through Florrissant.
It is a fabulous drive all the way but try to relax on US-24 as a lot of it is a 2-lane highway and there is a lot of traffic, and I believe a significant amount of it is people heading to the ski resorts, as we have had some great snow fall already in 2019.
My Day on the Trail
I noticed that the parking lot at the visitor’s center was closed when I arrived but I was still able to park at the turnout off the highway. The trail looked really steep from this vantage point and I could tell there was more snow on the ground then I had anticipated.
I grabbed my gear and headed to where I thought the trail started, but was I ever wrong. It was extremely difficult to find the trail as no one has hiked this trail since the last snow fall and with over a foot of fresh snow on the ground, there was no obvious trail to find.
I started hiking through the snow and it became obvious that there was more like 1.5 feet of snow in much of the area.
I came across some recent tracks of a herd of elk that had passed through the area. They evidently have an easier time in the snow then I was having. It was at this point that I was wishing I had some snow shoes.
After taking some pictures and videos of the elk herd tracks, I started up the Badger Mountain trail. I used my AllTrails app and the map function to check if I was on the trail and realized I was several hundred yards off. This began my zig zag back and forth up the mountain to try to find the trail.
I thought I had found it at one point, only to realize I was on the west side of the draw and the trail was supposed to be on the east side of the draw. The draw had pretty steep sides so I had to look around for a suitable place to cross. All this time I am hiking mostly in a foot or more of snow.
I finally found a good place to cross the draw but it was still pretty difficult in the snow as I was descending or climbing up the slope and over trees. Do this would have been nearly impossible without my ICETrekkers and my Leki trekking poles.
- Shoe grips designed to provide aggressive traction in winter walking conditions
- Made of case-hardened steel alloy and strung on steel aircraft cable
- Riveted to tough rubber sling that fits tennis shoes, boots and dress shoes
- Sling remains elastic even in subzero temperatures to keep grips secure
- Self-clearing design prevents snow and ice buildup
- Exclusive AERGON grip features a hollow core construction to save weight and create an edgeless, rounded grip for comfortable gripping at all angles especially for "palming" on steeper terrain. Thermo foam grip material for extra comfort, light weight and insulation in colder weather. Built in 8deg Positive Angle in LEKI grips keeps wrist in neutral position and provides more efficient pole plants.
- Air-textured "no bulk" security strap maintains design dimensions of grip; efficient wicking and fast drying; adjusts and secures strap adjustment without buckles. Extended foam grip for traversing and climbing. SPEEDLOCK 2 lever locking mechanism is simply THE strongest external locking system in the world as rated by TUV, and the only locking systems to meet the minimum holding force recommended by TUV.
- 100% High Modulus Carbon shaft sections for reliable, lightweight performance in all conditions. PE coated, Kevlar reinforced tension cord for long term reliability. ELD (External Locking Device) gives easy access to release the assembly tension of the pole for quick knock down and packing. Maximum tension between shaft sections made possible by internal (serviceable) spring in lower shaft.
- Carbon section ends are protected by machined Aluminum sleeves for extra long wear. Machined Aluminum connectors help to center shaft sections for quick, snag free assembly. LEKI's original Carbide Flextips provide secure hold on all terrain and surfaces for years of adventure; easily replaced in the field.
- Interchangeable basket system allows a variety of different sized LEKI baskets to be easily screwed on/off for different seasons/uses thanks to offset threads that keep the baskets securely in place.
After reaching the other side of the draw, there was still no visible trail in sight, and I was light-headed and nauseous. These are the symptoms of altitude sickness, so I took a seat on a rock, drank some water, ate a Cliff bar and let my body recover from crossing the draw or ravine.
It took about 5 minutes for me to feel better and then I cautiously headed back up the Badger Mountain trail, realizing at this time that I may not make it to the top. I kept looking for a rock outcropping or a clearing to get a clear view of the spectacular Rocky Mountains to the west near Buena Vista.
I was working my way up the steepest section of the trail, which was all snow packed, and that’s when I completely lost the trail. I knew I was standing on it or nearly on it but there were downed trees ahead and no clear trail, plus I was getting exhausted hiking through the snow, without snow shoes, and I was on the verge of getting altitude sickness.
That’s when I realized that I needed to understand my abilities and limitations and decided to call it quits on the Badger Mountain trail. I headed back down the trail, which is always easier than going up. There were several great opportunities for photos and videos as I took my time descending the trail and taking all the beauty in of Colorado.
When I was back near the trailhead, I noticed some tracks from some local outdoor Colorado friends. I’m not really sure what this first track is.
My first thought is that it’s a bear track. It was at least 6 inches across. The next set of tracks I mentioned earlier and they are tracks from a herd of elk that passed through the area before I arrived at the trail.
Even back at the trailhead, the views are incredible.
Even though I had a lot of trouble finding the trail and never made it to the top of Badger Mountain, I loved taking the time to stop and enjoy the sunshine, the scenery, the mountains, snow and the magnificence of the area.
I can’t tell you just how much I love living here in Colorado. There are so many opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Everyone I share these photos and videos with, wishes they were here with me. It’s hard for me to refrain from sharing pictures every time I go to a new trail.
That’s Pike’s Peak in the distance, near Colorado Springs.
I love visiting and driving through this area and I plan on visiting many more times in the future.
I have to warn you that this is a very difficult trail to hike, due to the 1,765 feet of elevation change in only one mile, but the snow made it nearly impossible to finish, especially since I couldn’t find the trail most of the time and I didn’t have snow shoes.
This trail is best hiked in the summer and if you’re use to the elevation in Colorado and are in pretty good hiking condition.
- Ultralight (4.33 lbs) technical snowshoes with superior traction for mountaineering, aggressive backcountry pursuits, and rugged terrain
- 360-degree Traction Frames deliver edge-to-edge grip, especially on traverses, while durable steel DTX crampons provide serious bite on alpine steeps
- Paragon bindings feature a one-piece contouring strap that wraps securely around boots, for a glove-like feel that eliminates rigid pressure points, and provides easy alignment and foot control
- Ergo Televator heel lift bar flips up to increase uphill efficiency, provide help on steep ascents, and reduce fatigue
- Snowshoes measure 8 x 25 inches, weigh 4.33 pounds/pair, and can carry up to a 220-pound load; bindings fit men’s shoes sizes 4.5-15; made in the USA
Lunch after the Hike
I was driving back through Colorado Springs around lunchtime and I remembered that my nephew, Stephen, had one of the best Bar-B-Q sandwiches at this restaurant, after we visited the Garden of the Gods in October earlier this year, so I decided to stop in and try it for myself. I normally like to promote locally owned businesses but I had to stop and see if the Bar-B-Q brisket sandwich was as good as he said it was. The restaurant was named Rudy’s and there are many around the country but you know the food is good when it’s hard to find a parking space at lunchtime.
The atmosphere inside was wonderful and the food tasted incredible. I liked the Bar-B-Q brisket sandwich a lot but I have to confess that my favorite menu item was the jalapeno sausage link.
After lunch I headed home but the views keep on giving here in Colorado as the Rock Mountains don’t disappear from sight from Colorado Springs to Castle Rock.
Check out this short video of the Badger Mountain trail on YouTube.
I would love to know if you have had any experience on this trail or have other trails you love to hike. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.
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