Dome Rock Trail
Dome Rock Trail (or loop) is a beautiful scenic hike located in Divide, Colorado. Having just hiked it today and taking some pictures I can see how this trail is a popular place to hike due to the sheer beauty and the fact that it's not a tremendously difficult mountain hike like so many others I've written about. Find out more below on what it has to offer and what to expect.
From the very beginning of the trail to the end Dome Rock trail proves to be ripe with beauty. The whole hike goes alongside the river stream so you always have that beautiful look and sound following your throughout your walk on this loop. There are plenty of beautiful trees, tons of awesome rock formations, and to top it off once you get deep onto the trail Dome Rock surfaces which is a sight to behold. This monster behemoth of a rock towers above everything around it, so once you are about 3.5 miles in you will see it and it will surely take your breath away.
The trail is also a location where old mine shafts and log cabins used to be. One stroll through the trail and you will see many fallen homes, wood with nails in it, and even an old chimney from a house that was torn down many years ago. The scenery is beautiful and wildlife is abundant, so there is nothing that will not satisfy the outdoorsman to taking on this trail. Since there are so many rock formations throughout the loop it's easy to pack a lunch and find a great scenic place to stop and take a break and just enjoy the abundant untouched nature that is seen for miles. Definitely a top 3 hike in my book as far as how simply beautiful a hiking trail can be.
Wildlife on this trail is abundant, as birds and animals are all over the place. The signs out front on the trailhead explain about the amount of bears, mountain lions, and big horned sheep there are. Throughout the trail I noticed a lot of Stellar Jays and other beautiful birds, but most of the wildlife is timid and shy so we didn't get to see much besides some female sheep at the trailhead that were already tagged. The trail that leads towards Dome Rock is blocked off from December to mid-July due to the mating season for the big horned sheep, so they are known for being extremely hostile and dangerous and that's why the park has this area closed off. There have been spottings for porcupines and beavers in the area, and while I wasn't honored with the opportunity to see either one I did notice that throughout the trail the river had beaver dams set up so they are around. Fish is also present in the streams around the area, so one could consider fly fishing as a fun activity to take part in.
What to expect
When taking the trail it's a bit of a strange setup because most trails in the Pikes Peak region start off with you going up and then when you reach your destination you come back down. The difference here that's abnormal to most hikes in the area is the trail starts off going down and continues this way all the way through. This means that unlike traditional hikes where you can relax on the way down after being tired, the initial walking is easy and going back is hard. Once reaching the broken down house that has the chimney I posted a picture of above, the trails spits off into two parts. We took the part that goes towards Dome Rock but the trail to the right takes you to various lakes and I'm sure a lot more beautiful scenery. Throughout our day we came across the stream that cross the trail's path, so Dome Rock trail definitely throws some curveballs at the average hiker looking to get a peek at its beauty. My friend and I took the liberty of using the terrain to our advantage by stepping on rocks and crossing the streams with little difficulty, though we did get our shoes wet a few times.
As you pass by the valley then the hike opens up to a wider field, and we begin to see some impressive rock formations. Finally after about another mile or so Dome Rock begins to peak out over the surrounding rock formations and it is colossal in stature and beauty. It commands your attention as you continue the hike as it loops around it, and we simply found a nice flat rock to sit on and take the sights all in. We tired out and didn't finish the loop, but I'm sure that if we had continued more great things would have come across our path. We didn't get to see any big horned sheep or bears, but I suppose that's not necessarily a bad thing since we don't want to die.
More to come
Dome Rock trail doesn't just entail the loop around Dome Rock itself, as this is an entire national park and has loads of trails that we didn't get to touch since there is simply way too much to see in one day. We will be back in the near future to check out further trails that branch off from the Dome Rock loop, but I have to say that this hike was definitely a wonderful experience. The loop is over 11 miles and we only made about 8 total from trailhead to our trip back, but I have no doubts that we will accomplish even more terrain next time we get there.
If you are looking to get someone started in hiking this is a fantastic step towards getting them in shape and hooked on the outdoors. It's easy to start, and difficult to get back up so it's not a cake walk but it's also not so easy to be boring either. Anyone is surely going to be pumped up for more hiking once they see Dome Rock trail and all it's beauty and nature it has to offer. Consider giving this area of Divide, Colorado a shot if you are looking for a great day of the outdoors.