OURAY COUNTY Ridgway State Park to participate in national 1st day hike program
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 17:44
By Bill Tiedje
On New Year’s Day, Ridgway State Park will host two guided hikes as part of the national "First Day Hikes: America's State Parks" event.
The event is a nationwide effort to encourage people to get out and enjoy their state parks in the New Year.
At Ridgway State Park, Park Ranger Chelsea Murray will lead a one mile hike along the Dallas Creek nature trail, starting at the confluence parking area at the Dallas Creek entrance.
The hike will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will tour a unique riparian area, offering great views of the Sneffels Range in a rarely visited portion of the park.
Murray said this hike would be suitable for all ages and all skill levels and would provide a great opportunity to see animal sign and bird life along the Uncompahgre River inlet, including bald eagles.
Linda Reed, a resident volunteer with over 1,000 hours under her belt, will also lead a hike along the Forest Nature Discovery Trail, starting at the Visitor Center at the Dutch Charlie entrance at 9:30 a.m.
This hike features interpretive signage and will offer a good chance to see wildlife, as deer frequent the area.
The distance of the Forest Nature Discovery Trail hike will vary from half a mile to two miles, depending on hikers' preferences.
Hikers will have the option to visit the scenic overlook, following a paved path to expansive vistas of the Sneffels Range to the south, or continue further on a large loop through the Piñon Park and Elk Ridge areas.
"We will hike no matter what," said Murray, adding that the decision to wear snowshoes, micro spikes or other gear would be up to hikers, but snow boots would likely suffice on either trail.
Hikers should also bring warm clothing and cameras along.
Dogs are welcome if they are kept on a leash.
Participants can check trail conditions ahead of time on the Ridgway State Park website at parks.state.co.us/parks/ridgway or by calling (970) 626-5822.
A $7 entrance fee is required and can be purchased at the Visitor Center or at the self-pay station located at either entrance.
An annual Colorado State Park visitor pass will also permit entrance to the park.
To learn more about the First Day Hikes program, visit americasstateparks.org and cpw.state.co.us for more information and other hike listings.
"The biggest thing from our perspective is to make a connection and share the park," added Murray.