Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ruby Jewell Lake

This hike is deep in State Forest State Park and journeys up to Ruby Jewell lake at an altitude of 11,250'. 

Trail stats
Round trip dist =5.4 mi
Total elevation gain = 1,642'
Hiking time = 4.5 hours
Trail type = Singletrack
Difficulty = moderate
Start Coordinates:   40°34'59.85"N, 105°57'49.70"W

Take CO14 west from Fort Collins, CO about 75 miles just past the town of Gould. Turn right on to county road 41, pick up a map and pay the park entrance fee. Continue on county road 41 until you reach an improved 4 wheel drive road that heads to Ruby Jewell Yurt. We parked at the yurt as most cars can make it here, but 4 wheel drive vehicles can continue on 1.4 mi to the trailhead.

Start out hiking up the 4 wheel drive trail from the yurt to the trailhead. This isn't the most exciting part of the hike but is necessary if your car dosen't have as much clearance as a Jeep. Once you reach the trailhead it is a singletrack with some rocky parts and a stream crossing, but no problem for our westie.

Our westie (Gromit) on the trail

After you pass the fork in the trail that heads to Kelly Lake you'll pass through a skree field with a few marmot residents.

The trail cuts through a skree field as you get close to timberline 

Just as you reach timberline you'll reach a spot with a nice view of the park and the 12,951 ft Clark Peak.

Nice view 1/4 mile from the lake

We decided to turn back at 40°35'51.66"N, 105°56'20.58"W because of an approaching thunderstorm, reminding us of the unpredictability of alpine weather.

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