Elevation: 9,083 ft - 9,466 ft
Elevation Gain: 514 ft (cumulative)
Dogs: Off leash (Forest Service)
On the slopes of Buffalo mountain between Ryan Gulch Road and I-70 is a swath of Forest Service land filled with social trails that interconnect in a million different ways. Since I frequent the area, this zone has become my place for after work or mid-day doggie outings.
From this point, the route stays in the trees and follows a level path that might be an old flume or a irrigation ditch. It heads steadily towards I-70 and eventually comes out right below it. I took a quick jaunt up the hill to look 0ut on the zooming traffic. Directly across from this ascent the trails heads back down hill to small valley and then heads west.
The trail eventually heads north again across a small valley. The Salt Lick Trail is ahead in the trees.Before long, the trail veered north across another valley and crosses the Salt Lick Trail. The Salt Lick is the one official trail in the area. The trail head is located at the first switchback of Wildernest Hill and the trail goes straight up the valley until it intersects the trail to Lilly Pad Lake.
If you live in or visit Wildernest, these trails are a treat any time of year. There are golden Aspens in the fall, fields of Fireweed in the summer, and fluffy snow in winter. I have taken great great sunrise photos from this area and hope one day to capture one of the resident Moose. Don't be afraid to enter the maze. With views of Buffelo Mountain, Peak 1, and I-70 it is difficult to get lost.