This hike contends with Pike Peak as my personal favorite. It was steep in some places and the trail narrows to but a thread in others, with large drops to the river for those that are not mindful. The experience was unparalleled though. The South Platte river rushed by, the noise of the water echoing off the canyon walls, the wind blowing down the canyon and the sound of the leaves all worked together to make this a most memorable hike with the fam.
We hiked about 3 miles in to the canyon and then called it and headed back to the trial head. The temp was getting a bit hot and the dogs (really all of us) were starting to feel the burn.
The following description is from the interpretive sign at the trail head.
“This five-mile trail follows the South Platte River through Cheesman Canyon and ends at the upper canyon trailhead. The trail is difficult and steep in many sections and there are no facilities in the canyon. River access trails have been created to get you to the water…”
The trailhead is located off Jefferson County Road 126, it is quite the scenic drive to get here. I’d bet it is incredible in the fall. The road winds through mountain passes and presents some awe inspiring views of the Pike National Forest.
Fisherman are abundant on this river as it is one of the “blue ribbon” trout rivers in the State. This makes for some great photo drops as they fly fish on the pristine looking river. The very large boulders dispersed randomly along the river add a note of surreal randomness to this beautiful river frozen in time. Some form small caves that can be used for a picnic spot and a welcome respite from the sun on those hot days.
The trail runs along the river, sometimes rising away from it to about 150 feet up, at a guess, but always going back down closer. It passes thru some sporadic treed areas but is mostly open ground. The trail it self is well defined and generally free of roots loose rocks. It is a single track trail and becomes more narrow is some places.
At the end is the Cheeseman Canyon Dam that creates the Cheeseman Reservoir.