i’ll never miss an opportunity to go on a new hike anywhere in colorado. and, that’s exactly what happens every time the best friend is in the state. given that they hiked devil’s causeway the day before and hauled up pretty quick, we opted for a lighter hike the day i could partake.
windy ridge indian quarry was on they started a few days prior, but because of the thunder and lightning turned back. we weren’t going to let the weather get in our way this time, so we gave it a chance, taking off at the trailhead around noon.
the hike starts a bit up hill. in the woods, with a winding trail. not too far into the hike, you meet up with a jeep trail that comes in from your left, but a pile of rocks (cairn) lets you know to turn right to continue on the path. you continue you through before you catch up to the babbling brook. it has been raining nearly every day in colorado, so in some places, branches and logs were laid over areas where the water had run over (which was now pretty muddy).
in some areas of the trail early on, you’ll encounter vegetation that really narrows the path. be sure to wear long pants to save your legs. eventually you’ll be greeted by a small open prairie with beautiful wildflowers (if you hike through in the summer) before you head back into a woodsy trail. at this point, you will have hiked nearly a mile and a half before you come across a large open prairie, with beautiful views of the mountain hills and even a herd of cows. we happened to see them hanging out in a large aspen grove off to the left. a quite vocal herd.
as you trek across the prairie, keep your eyes out for cow patties. let’s just say you’ll need to wash your boots after this hike. once you’ve made it across the prairie, which should likely take you around 30 minutes, you’ll hit a woodsy, covered area of the trail, which means you are not far from the quarry summit. as you continue to hike, you’ll be greeted by a trail to the left and right, head to the one on the left and continue up. you’ll catch a glimpse of the beautiful rock from the quarry as your ascend to the top. through a few aspens, and you’ll find your way at the top.
a few words to the wise:
- don’t pick up any rocks along the way even at the quarry summit. this is a protected site and it is illegal to do so (and punishable by law).
- if you choose to walk out to the far rock at the summit, just be careful. it’s been suspended for a thousand years and fragile.
the summit is the perfect area to stop for lunch before making the trek back down. and you have beautiful views of lake lily and agnes lake, as well as rabbit ears. enjoy the scenery while you’re up there.
the roundtrip hike is just under 6 miles, and should take you 2 to 3 hours, depending on pace and how long you choose to chill at the summit.
it’s a pretty easy hike, mildly flat, with a few areas where the incline / decline is steeper. could be a great hike to take the kids on.