Have you ever been winter hiking? If not, then you should really give it a shot. More often than not, people choose to snuggle up to the warmth and coziness of their own home when it’s Christmas time and they’re off from work. But some of us hardcore hikers choose to snuggle up to the warmth of our layered clothing and our winter boots… and then we hit the snowiest trail we can find.
Because there’s nothing like a good winter hike in the fresh outdoor winter air that will warm you to the core and make you feel like a million bucks. No amount of presents under the tree could ever hold a candle to the feeling that your own body gives you as a reward for completing an outdoor winter hike.
Winter Hike Tip: Blackmer Loop Trail
Last year, I was out on the Blackmer Loop Trail. It’s not a very hard trail, since it’s rated anywhere between easy to moderate, depending on who you ask. You will, however, experience a really nice elevation gain of well over 650 feet. It’s not a very long trail either, so that alone makes it suitable for beginners in my view. It’s less than 5 miles and runs in a loop, meaning you’ll pretty much automatically arrive back at your destination if only you follow the trail.
Next to regular hiking, this trail can be used for trail running and mountain biking as well. It’s a very well maintained and clearly marked trail. Once again, this makes it a good trail for winter hiking nubcakes. I’m gonna have to disappoint animal lovers, though, since you are not allowed to bring your dog to the trail.
On the upside, the trail is accessible all year around. You’ll need to get your hands on a copy of the Cheyenne Mountain State Park Trail in order to find your way around here. The entrance fee is a measly $7. Or you can pay $70 for an annual State Parks Pass. For newbies, I recommend simply paying the $7 one time fee, however.
The Blackmer Loop Trail is a very popular trail. The instant you arrive at it, you’re going to realize why this is. It’s got some pretty dense ponderosa pine and douglas fir growth. It’s a majestic sight to behold. There are lots of dormant grass patches and paths created by the local deer. It’s a great reminder that nature, not man, rules in these parts.
As if the flora and fauna isn’t already enough to impress you, there are loads of boulders spread out all across the whole trail. Some of them small. Some of them… pretty huge, actually! And the most beautiful thing about these boulders is that many of them are covered in bright green lichen.
The greatest part about this hiking trail, though, is the fact that it’s so incredibly quiet. If you’re looking for a way to tune out from the busy, busy world with all its electronic gadgets and whatnot, then this would be the perfect place to come and get back in touch with nature. More often than not, not a single hiker will pass you along your way.
The only sounds you’ll hear are the sounds of your own winter hiking boots, squishing through the snow, the mud and the sludge. But no sounds from other people will there to distract you from mother nature’s loving embrace.
You’ll have all the time in the world to stop and take that one perfect photo of your personal scenic view of preference. Nobody will be there to bother you or distract you from taking it all in as much as you can.
There is lots of animal life to behold on this trail. Think about field mice and rabbits. But also pygmy nuthatches and white tailed deer. These deer can be almost invisible, because the Blackmer landscape really helps them out with their camouflage. If you find one of these animals, try and get a picture of one, if you think you can be faster than them. 😉
If you’re going to visit this trail on a warm winter day, don’t worry so much about becoming overheated, since a lot of the trail goes through the shadows. There’s usually a pretty steady breeze on this path, which will give you that extra little bit of cooling off that you need when you’re trudging through the snow for hours on end. You can really get overheated if you keep it up long enough, even during wintertime. But Blackmer will help you through.