Bob Hickey, volunteer naturalist at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) will lead the public on an invigorating adventure Jan. 1, to usher in the New Year in perfect Colorado outdoor style!
The mid-morning hike will take place in the scenic northern Fourmile Area and the old Midland Railroad Grade. Hikers will have fantastic views of the snowy upper Arkansas River valley and the Sawatch Mountain Range, as well as the rugged shallow-canyon scenery and unique granitic boulder formations of the Arkansas Hills.
“This is a lovely time of year to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate winter’s subtle changes to the landscape," Hickey said. "Wildlife also remain active throughout the winter and there is a good chance to see a variety of birds and mammals.”
The loop will be designed so that hiking will be done on existing roads, trails and through a major wash in the area. There will be no cross-country foot travel in the snow. The route will be adjusted to snow conditions on the day of the event.
Hikers wanting to join the fun should meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Midland Railroad Grade parking area on FS Road 376A, which is 1.5 miles north of the Collegiate Peaks Overlook off highways 24/285 east of Johnson Village. The event is free but participants parking within AHRA's Collegiate Peaks Overlook day-use site need a valid parks pass.
The hike will be approximately 3 miles, depending on snow conditions, and last about 2.5 hours including breaks. Hikers should dress for the weather and trail conditions, and bring water and snacks. Call AHRA at 719-539-7289 by Dec. 30 to register and for hiking information.
The AHRA is managed through a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Formed in 1989, this partnership allows agencies to provide visitors with recreation opportunities and care for significant natural resources of the upper Arkansas River Valley. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado's wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to http://cpw.state.co.us.