Day 1 – Waterton Canyon Trailhead to South Platte River Trailhead

Start of Colorado Trail
Start of Colorado Trail at Waterton Canyon

Day 1 – Friday July 3rd, 2015

Start Time: 11:15   End Time: 20:30

Miles Hiked: 16.6   Total Miles: 16.6

CT Sections: 1-0.0 > 1-16.6

Emmy and I got a midday start after my parents drove us to the trailhead at the base of Waterton Canyon. Our packs weighed 40 pounds each and contained enough supplies for at least 7 days of hiking. The first 6.7 miles follows Waterton Road, which climbs very gradually and is a wide dirt road used heavily by bikers, runners and day hikers. We saw 3 mountain goats along the road and had a few conversations with “Richard” who has contributed to building the trail, worked as the Colorado Trail Foundation webmaster  and initiated efforts to map the Colorado Trail by GPS. He was a wealth of information and gave us many tips for the trail ahead.

Waterton Road
Waterton Road

At mile 6.7, we received our first real taste of the Colorado Trail as it breaks off of the dirt road and turns into a single-track trail with a moderate ascent grade. At 8.7 miles, we stopped for lunch and filled our 3 liter Platypus hydration bladders with filtered water from Bear Creek.  Our intentions were to camp at a dry camp site at 11.8 miles, just short of the 7,517 foot section 1 high point, but this site was already occupied. We passed a couple exposed camp sites around mile 14, but these were very windy so we continued down toward the South Platte River and found a suitable site at 16.6 miles, only .2 miles from the end of section 1.  We setup our tent, ate a homemade spicy rice and chicken backpacking meal, and fell asleep quickly with a good first day behind us.

View from section 1 high point
View from section 1 high point

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