“The Big Hole” loop

My work projects are almost done.

One last Saturday to work before my on-call rotation kicks in again this week.

I still wanted a good hike, however.

A place a little less used but where I can still get in a solid hike.

Then I remembered an area I went to two years ago and also this past spring: The Big Hole area.

“The Big Hole” is essentially a canyon located on the High Plains at the Colorado/Wyoming border.  It is composed of three different open space units, has lots of antelope, birds, wildflowers in the spring,  interesting geology and is the site of an important archaeological find.  And as of 2015, a small herd of Yellowstone bison roams in their traditional terrain again.  There are over forty miles of trails to explore in this fascinating area.

My hiking took me into the heart of the canyon area two years ago.  This time? I wanted to make a loop around the canyon rim itself.

I drove up past Ft. Collins, left the busy Front Range behind and parked at the trailhead.

The day started off warm and breezy.

My shoes were laced up, my pack was grabbed and I walked a brisk pace towards the rim area.

I soon made my way up a series of washes to the Cheyenne Rim.

The rim was reached. The views very much showed the topography of “The Big Hole” in sharp relief.

The loop crossed into the Wyoming portion of the hike. I was briefly on the rolling plains.

The rim was soon reached again.

The loop made its way to the canyon floor and entered the aptly named Ruby Wash.

The wash was left. The hike was coming to a close. One last look was had to the Cheyenne Rim area.

Another small canyon was hiked through. A snapshot of *billions* of years worth of geology.

My car was reached. I still had some time.

I quickly drove to an overlook in the Soapstone Prairie. The gates were closing at 5 PM and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the bison.

Alas, no bison were to be seen.

The High Plains sunset more than made the side trip worth the extra time spent, however.

Time to head home.

And think of where I want to be on my extended trip next week.

All the photos  

Note: This area is closed in December, January and February as it is a migrating animal corridor. 

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