Are you and your poochie looking for a new hiking experience in the Rocky Mountains Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in the Rustic, Colorado area? Then you're in for a good surprise if you choose to take on the Hourglass Trail, accessed via the Beaver Creek Trail (#942). This is a strenuous and rugged trip, so you and your pup need to be in good shape to hike this one. It is a total of 9.2 miles of uphill climbing the whole way, advancing up 2,500 feet.
You and your canine companion will start your hike at the Beaver Creek Trailhead where there's a fairly big parking lot that has restrooms and water available. There is an $11 fee to park here, and they don’t take plastic, so bring cash. You should also bring some baggies to clean up after your furry buddy along the way and make sure they are leashed the whole time.
The trek starts out on the Beaver Creek Trail, which you will follow through the thick forest along the north end of the Hourglass Reservoir for about a mile. When you reach the northeast end of the Comanche Reservoir Dam, you will find the intersection with the Hourglass Trail. Follow the Hourglass Trail about .75 mile across the dam heading south. You'll see the sign for the trail right beyond the spillway at the edge of the forest.
The Hourglass Trail follows along an unnamed creek for a few hundred feet, climbing at a steep angle. The trail in the Comanche Wilderness is well-worn and easily visible, even if there is snow due to the ax blazes in the trees along the way. You and your pawesome pooch will come out of the forest at around 2.5 miles in, and you will see a large alpine tundra right past a boulder field and patches of krummholz where the path is marked periodically with rock cairns.
There's plenty of critters to be found along the way such as bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, pika, squirrels, rabbits, and many varieties of birds. There are also bears and mountain lions in the area so be aware. Also, you'll see a wide variety of wildflowers in a plethora of dif-fur-ent colors. You will reach the Comanche Peak at about the 4.6-mile mark where the view is furific so take some pictures here.
On the way back, even though it is all downhill, take some extra time to spot some of the things you and Fluffy may have missed on the way there. Of course, you can always come back again because nature is always changing and there is always something new to see.