Preacher’s Hollow Loop
The trailhead parking lot was empty on a sky blue summer Saturday morning. You read correctly. This is what we found on our last visit to Mueller State Park, near Colorado Springs but apparently far enough away to avoid the weekend crowds of the city’s parks and open spaces.
There are other factors, namely the price of admission. In addition, there is space to spread out. Mueller has 44 miles of trails traversing 5,000 acres of forests and meadows.
We look at the map and draw long loops. Or we keep it simple, as we did this Saturday, enjoying an increasingly rare serenity on the Front Range outdoors. We didn’t spot any other souls on the Preacher’s Hollow Loop.
At the start of the trail we started on the left towards Never / Never Pond. The Pikes Peak massif and the distant Sangre de Cristo peaks greet each other between the trees as the trail descends into a V-shaped valley.
At the first crossing keep right for the wide path and stay straight at the next intersection, staying on the route marked with 4. We found the pond to be not much – never / never filled can -to be ? – but charming nonetheless between hills and heaps of rocks.
Our tracker was almost a mile away when we started to climb steeply from the trough. It’s a sudden, tough stretch on erosion mitigation steps, but the best views of the trip reward the summit. Take the flat and wide path to the right, following the clear scenes of the Sangres.
At the gate, we took the path to the right, parallel to the road, to arrive at the park reception center. Here, the Wapiti Nature Trail extends briefly to a crossroads; let’s go to the parking lot.
Logbook : 2 miles round trip (loop), 450 feet of elevation gain, 9,686 feet max
Getting There : From Colorado Springs, follow US 24 West to Woodland Park. At the traffic light in Divide, turn left onto Colorado 67. Park entrance approximately 6 km. After the kiosk, start of the trail at the second parking lot on the left.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Entrance fee of $ 9 per vehicle. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding. No dogs on the trails. Daily use of the park from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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