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Explore the unused Dark Cyn Tr and Ken Burton Tr

In terms of destinations: this hike starts at the CCC ridge and ends at the Brown Mountain Road's endpoint - sometimes called Brown Mountain Saddle.
It'll be a profound success if that happens!

This is definitely a case where the journey is more interesting than the endpoints.

Alas, these nice trails are eroded, and rugged, and i promise very little in terms of hiking quality. But the scenery is gorgeous, if you can catch your breath.

We are going to play it heavily by the group's interest.

But b/c of the rugged nature of these trails I will ask everyone to stay together.

In any event, should the mission be accomplished, and we find ourselves at Brown Mtn Saddle, the hike will be about 8 mi, 2000' of gain. Whatever the stats say, it'll probably feel harder.

Here's a map:  I didn't add a scale, but those red squares are a mile on each side.

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  • Andrew

    This little canyon is a beauty in itself! Unfortunately, with the trail mostly gone, it is not a viable shortcut to Royal Gorge, but is a candidate for another hike, to be posted later.
    Considering this canyon and the fact that there was once a perfect trail there before the fire,
    ld like to propose that the group do trail maintenance and/or cleanup in our forest at least once a month, doesnt matter where it is, but we all love our mountains so lets take care of them!
    Thanks Dave, for pointing out this cool little Canyon!

    1 · March 1, 2013

  • Dave B.

    Mini trip report, continued: Much remains of the trail, but it is disconnected and overgrown. It would probably not take huge efforts to make the trail fairly easily passable.

    Nonetheless, we were on a tight time schedule (both of us wanted to return early), and when our turnaround time (noon) was reached, we were still 1/2 mi or so from oakwilde. Our return went faster than expected (especially returning up the canyon was fast, since we had already picked the nicest routes around trees, etc).

    We returned to my car by 1:40.

    Both of us agreed that the canyon was scenic and pleasantly remote. And we agreed that it was a very hard shortcut, unless some trail work was done. And we also contemplated scheduling a trip to do a little of that, sometime...

    1 · March 1, 2013

  • Dave B.

    Mini trip report: Andrew and I met a little early and arrived at the tiny trailhead parking area at 10am exactly. We strolled up and down the rolling ridge, past the disused old roadbed (on left) and past the apiary. The ridge steepens a bit and perhaps 100 yards past the last power tower is a subtle hairpin turn to the right where Dark Canyon Road once ran. Now it is a fair use trail with numerous tricky spots.

    The worst washout probably comes 150 yards after the hairpin: an ancient metal retaining wall is bursting at the seams with debris and is followed by a traverse steep gravel-and-sand slope with dubious runout. After that, the trail isn't bad until you get the canyon floor.

    At that point, the trail continues on the opposite wall of the canyon, bypassing miserable deadfall. From there, the canyon alternates between beautiful open areas and less pleasant segments choked with mallow, blackberry, poison oak and fallen trees.

    1 · March 1, 2013

  • Faro

    How many miles of hiking?

    February 28, 2013

    • Dave B.

      8 or less...

      February 28, 2013

  • Jim H.

    Can't make it but I've been wanting to do this one for a long time and I look forward to hearing how it went. Good luck on your adventure!

    February 24, 2013

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