If you and your pupster are looking for a new trail to hike in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in the Rocky Mountains, the Miller Fork Trail #997 in Estes Park, Colorado may be furfect for you. This trek through the woods is only about six miles out and back, and can typically be hiked in just a few hours.
There is a small barking lot at the trailhead with a vault toilet, but there is no water access, so bring your own H20 and baggies to pick up after your canine kid. Starting at the Dunraven Trailhead on Dunraven Glade Road (County Road 104), you will begin your fun on the Bulwark Ridge Trail, which leads steeply up to the junction with Indian Trail at the one mile mark and then connects to Miller Fork Trail after another 1.1 miles.
The beginning of the trail starts out on a 10-foot wide right of way easement, which follows Miller Fork Creek alongside private property before you meet the Donner Pass Trail junction at about two miles in. The majority of your trek will be a steady uphill hike in the Comanche Peak Wilderness in the midst of the lush forest of pines, fir, and aspen with smatterings of brightly colored wildflowers mixed into the grass here and there.
Those who have hiked the Miller Fork Trail have mentioned seeing quite a few moose, elk, deer, big horn sheep, prairie dogs, and pika with a few bear sightings as well, so be bear aware. Also, you and your poochie will have to cross the creek several times, sometimes on a bridge, but other times you may have to be more creative.
The last half mile of the trail is hard to follow because of the lack of hikers, and the path is obscured. You may have to look carefully to find a path to the end of the trail at the old sawmill. On your way back, be sure to keep an eye out for things you may not have seen on your way up. You and your pup will likely be coming back again to this fast and fun hike to enjoy nature at its finest!