Catamount Trail

The Catamount Reservoirs on Pikes Peak have been among my favorite fishing spots for many years now.  I love them because they are easily accessible, not overcrowded, have the best views of any lake in the area, and are loaded with trout.   The May Saturday we picked to hike the trai, had an outstanding forecast of  80 degrees and Sunny.  Angela and I decided last minute to hike up to the lakes, and take advantage of the weather.  Angela’s knees have been bothering her lately so we weren’t sure we would be able to make this hike happen (You will notice the stylish aqua tape in the pictures).    We are planning to take a back packing trip over Memorial Day, so we decided to take the opportunity to condition our bodies to the extra weight of a full size pack.  We didn’t load them all the way but I had about 25lbs, and Angela about 15.  Our good friend Vanessa decided to join us for the hike as well. 

 

Ok so first of all here is the important beta about the trail.

Length: ~7 mi roudtrip.  Configuration is ‘out and back’
Elevation Gain:
~1600 ft
Scenery:
Very good
Usage:
Medium
Trailhead: 
End of Hondo ave in green mountain falls.  You will need to park and walk up hondo.  Here is a google maps link of the trail head.  
Notes:
Great hike.  3 miles of this hike is on the road, which is kind of a bummer.  Trail is steep and rocky in places.   You can drive to the lake so there will be more people there than on the trail. 

 You can access a gps track of the trail here.

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We parked just past the Gazebo in Green Mountain falls.  I would highly recommend a stop at the Pantry for breakfast before or after your hike.  They have a lovely patio and delicious food!!    

 

The hiking starts with close to a mile of walking up a steep dirt road (Hondo Ave).  I felt like a fool hiking on a road with a 70L pack on my back!!   The signs along Hondo were pretty funny. There is one warning of a dangerous ice flow pedestrian traffic not recommended,  directly above it is a sign that says foot trafic only.  We got a picture with the dangerous ice flow.  In all fairness it looked as if it could have been gnarly in the wintertime. 

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At the top of Hondo You will then cross over catamount creek on a nice bridge.  Immediately after the small waterfall look for the Blue Dot trail and sign.  It doesn’t really look like it is a trail but start climbing.  The trail is fairly hard to follow but the more confusing places are marked with a blue dot so just follow those signs.  I read somewhere the orange dots get you to the same place, but require more scrambling.   The blue dot trail climbs pretty steeply along catamount creek.   The steep rocky portion of the trail is probably around 1 mile log.   After about an hour of hiking we crested out of the steep part of the trail.  We decided to stop here and devour the subway sandwiches we brought for lunch.   

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After lunch we continued towards the lakes.  The trail flattened to a much gentler climb for the remainder of the time.  We again picked up catamount creek and followed it the whole way.  The trail crosses a lovely meadow area known as “Garden of Eden” this is supposed to have nice wild flowers in the spring.   This area would make a great campsite, however, I don’t know about the legalities of camping here.  I saw no signs of camp so either people have been great at LNT or camping is prohibited.  After another mile or so we hit a road.  You want to stay to the right on the road you will see the dam to south catamount ahead.   You pass a small pump house and then climb up to the damn.  

We hung and fished for an hour or so.  It was pretty windy so casting wasn’t fun.  I enjoyed kicking back in my butterfly chair.   Nobody was able to catch any fish.  As usual the trip down seemed much quicker.  You have to take care on the rocks to make sure you have good footing, and you need to constantly check to make sure you are on the trail. 

The slog back to the car on the steep dusty road was the least fun part of the hike. My dog trip peirced his ear with a fishing hook on the way back home.  It wasn’t a good look for him, and a pain in the ass to get out.  

Overall this is a good hike for scenery and interesting parts of the trail.  It would be excellent except for the road walk on both ends. 

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