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Some trails that remain mostly ice-free in winter
I am a clumsy hiker. If there’s a rock or root to trip on, chances are good my toe will find it.
Add in January ice and a familiar hike becomes as much fun as rush-hour traffic.
But with so many trails nearby, you easily can pick destinations that don’t generally get icy — even during prolonged cold spells.
Here are three suggestions for hiking, running or cycling:
Pikes Peak Greenway
Our “spine trail” that meanders along Interstate 25 is a great winter trail because much of it is paved.
My favorite stretches are unpaved — south of Woodmen Road and through Monument Valley Park.
In northern El Paso County, it becomes the New Santa Fe Trail. If you haven’t bicycled the portion of trail through the Air Force Academy, give it a try.
Many of us drive by this open space daily, but when is the last time you hiked Pulpit Rock? Part of Austin Bluffs Open Space, an easy trailhead off North Nevada Avenue offers great parking and access to this urban public space. Rugged trails in good shape receive abundant sunlight so ice is scarce.
You will be struck by the wildness of this space located in the heart of the city. And although you never quite get away from the sound of traffic, you can stretch your legs, get your heart rate up and enjoy splendid mountain views framed by “hoodoos” from the top of Pulpit Rock.
Bear Creek Regional Park
This county treasure contains Bear Creek Regional Trail, which runs through the entire park. And there are plans to connect the trail to Section 16 and Red Rock Canyon.
Bear Creek Regional Trail is generally ice-free, as are the lovely loop trails in the eastern portion of the park.
Despite their proximity to neighborhoods and busy arteries, the loops offer solitude, lovely mountain views, a few hills and the occasional coyote sighting. Hikers can expect to share these trails with cyclists and the occasional equestrian.
If you want to improve the odds, a pair of grippers to slip over your shoes or even some trekking poles can diminish your chances of slipping or stumbling.
Winter hiking can be fun and safe, even if you, too, are just a little off-balance.
Davies is the executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition. Read her columns on the fourth Thursday of each month in Out There.