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    Julie Tolleson reviewed Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail

    1 day ago

    Living in Colorado, I’ve done a lot of great hikes and don’t through 5 stars out easily but this is a great hike.

    The trail condition is quite good, and it combines all the things that make hikes special. Some beautiful creeks down low, a beautiful summit destination, views of the Needles with mountain goat cameos coming down # 4.

    Even for a Saturday in the heart of tourist season I did not find the trail overcrowded other than in the final mile to the summit (because you’ve got two-way traffic from three different access trails converging there. We started at 9 am and the parking lot wasn’t filled yet (not something you’d see in Colorado!)

    My GPS showed closer to 7.4 miles for distance (we went up 9 and down 4) and about 1550 total climbing. Who knows!

    A really beautiful area and I think this is a classic example of a hike that I’d rate moderate (for active adults ... neither monster mountaineers or couch potatoes).

    Julie Tolleson added Interested

    5 days ago

    Julie Tolleson reviewed Mount Falcon Castle Trail

    5 days ago

    This is a popular trail, so go early and ideally on a weekday. The good news is that it is often wide enough for two way traffic so passing -- even by a mountain bike -- is a non-issue.

    I would rate this hike "moderate" instead of easy. The first 3-3.5 miles are a pretty sustained uphill, gaining about 1500 feet. The Castle Trail is almost completely in the sun, so on a warm day it can be a bit relentless. The Turkey Trot is a nice option because of the lack of mountain bikes and it has a bit more shade.

    Julie Tolleson completed Castle Trail

    5 days ago

    Julie Tolleson reviewed Eagle Cliffs via Mason Creek, Bear Paw, Old Mill and Staunton Ranch Trail Loop

    13 days ago

    What a lovely find. I didn’t know this area, and this was really a beautiful hike. We did it counterclockwise, which meant that we were in the uncovered sunny traverse at the bottom in the hottest part of the day. I’d probably reverse that next time and try it clockwise for more shade in the final miles, at least if it is a warm day.

    Some mountain bikers, but not as many as Jeffco open space, and also the trail is often wide enough that passage is easy.

    I’d rate this moderate, not hard. Totally non-technical and straightforward to navigate, the hiking requires decent base fitness but no special skills.

    Julie Tolleson added june 27

    13 days ago

    Julie Tolleson reviewed Mason Creek Trail to Staunton Ranch Trail Loop

    14 days ago

    First time here and what a gem to find. Trails was in great shape. We did the loop counterclockwise. Note though ... there’s a stretch of trail closed and you are rerouted onto the Bear Paw trail. The detour gives fantastic views and was some of the nicest hiking of the day but it adds about 1.7 miles and a couple hundred feet of elevation to the loop. We finished with 8.4 miles and 1300 feet of climbing.