With a forecast for temperatures in the mid nineties in the Denver area I drove my dogs up to Georgia Pass for a morning of hiking and much cooler temperatures. While we’ve visited Georgia Pass several times in the past I had never attempted to hike any of the side trails that fan out from the pass summit area. All of these trails are meant for high-clearance 4×4 vehicles so I parked at the summit and set off along the trail with a sign that indicated the Colorado Trail intersected it. There was also signage for something named Glacier Ridge.
The 4×4 trail started off in a tree-lined section which quickly thinned out as we approached timberline. I decided not to take the Colorado Trail as it appeared to head back down hill from the 4×4 trail. Instead we continued toward the bottom of Glacier Ridge.
In the past there was a 4×4 track straight up the ridge but the forrest service has “recently” closed that hillside due the damage that was done to the vegetation. They erected a pole fence and placed a restoration notice sign. From what I could tell it was preventing most people from crawling up.
The hillside to the top of the ridge looked too easy — but it wasn’t. It is deceptively steep and since you are well over 11,000 feet the going is pretty tough (at least for myself). The restoration project replaced the ruts in the hillside with a mat to encourage growth of native wild grasses and flowers while preventing erosion.
The further up the hill I went the rockier the terrain became. At one point I rolled my ankle slightly and rested for about ten minutes to see if there was going to be any swelling. When I stood again and took several tender steps I decided it would be a good idea to head back to the truck. There were also storm clouds gathering in the area and I did not feel comfortable above tree line.
The views from this hillside were incredible. After checking terrain maps of this area later I see that the ridge actually overlooks Jefferson Lake. I will definitely return to make it to the top of the ridge.
As we neared the pass summit area there was a herd of about thirty juvenile mountain goats grazing in the clearing. Lucy saw them and wanted to chase them but she obeyed my commands to stay near me… for a while. Eventually she took off running towards them, chasing them down the hillside before I could pull out my camera.
It had started raining on us as we hiked back to the truck and by now it was coming down at a decent rate. The mid fifties temps had dropped into the high forties so the rain was mixed with sleet. Between the ever-increasing rainfall and my swelling ankle I didn’t think it was a good time to look for the goats so we headed back home.