Be Healthy, Take a Hike

Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or a hike at a nearby state park, get some fresh air outside
The Nature Loop. The Sinks Canyon State Park 2. The Heidi Guide

The Nature Loop. The Sinks Canyon State Park 2. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schalefer

Walking the dog seems normal in abnormal times, so the dog is getting a lot of walks. If you’d like to go on a walk, in reality, or virtually, I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite, super easy hikes around the Rocky Mountains. 

While most of us are staying put, I’ll bet that your town has several paths that you can walk over the next few weeks or months. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or a hike at a nearby state park, getting outside and taking deep breaths of fresh air can do a lot to keep our minds healthy during this trying time.

Hike to the Colorado Boy Mine
Ouray, Colorado

Colorado Boy Trail. The Heidi Guide

Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

We did this hike last summer after a big winter, and there were still piles of snow around in late June. In addition, evidence of heavy snow-related avalanches was everywhere in swaths of fallen trees. Thankfully, the Colorado Boy Mine was not hit by an avalanche and still stands 133 years after it was built.

The trailhead to the mine is about 15 minutes outside of Ouray along HWY 550, or as it is better known, the Million Dollar Highway. The parking area for the trailhead is in Ironton, Colorado. Three hundred buildings were built here in a three week period of time in 1893. Today, Ironton is a ghost town and fun to photograph.

Ironton, Colorado, Ghost Town, The Heidi Guide

Ironton, Colorado, ghost town. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

The Colorado Boy Mine is visible from the highway but to see it up close, one must hike 1.8 miles roundtrip. Hikers cross Red Mountain Creek via an attractive wooden bridge and then proceed into the woods. There is a sign that will direct you towards the mine.

This is a relatively easy hike, slightly uphill and shaded. Visitors can explore the mine which includes a plaque that describes the mine’s history. 

While this is a simple hike, it is located at 9,000 feet above sea level so if you aren’t used to the elevation, take it slow and know that you may feel short of breath.


Hike the Sinks
Lander, Wyoming

The Nature Loop. The Sinks Cayon State Park. The Heidi Guide

The Nature Loop. The Sinks Cayon State Park. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

Last April, we visited friends in Lander, Wyoming. On a Saturday, we decided to take a hike. Our first spot was a bust due to wind. Our hosts thought it would be a lot more enjoyable if we found a less windy trail.

We drove out of Lander and up the canyon to Sinks Canyon State Park, paralleling the Popo Agie River most of the way. Our first stop was to see The Sinks, a geological wonder. 

The Sinks refers to where the Popo Agie River disappears into a cavern and then, after traveling for two hours, reappears at “The Rise” just a quarter-mile away. Scientists have proven that the water takes hours to reappear but they have no idea where it goes. Visitors can visit both The Sinks and The Rise. 

Our hike took us across the Popo Agie River via a bridge and onto the Popo Agie Nature Trail. This is a one-mile loop that meanders through forest and rewards an uphill climb with stunning views of the canyon. It’s easy but it hooks up to more difficult hikes around the area. See this website for more hikes in Sinks Canyon State Park.

The best part of our day? Our group were the only souls on the trail.


Your Hometown Hikes
Anywhere, USA 

Loveland Recreation Trail.

Loveland Recreation Trail. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

It is likely that your town has several trails. If you aren’t currently quarantined to your house, getting on one of the paths is a great way to clear your head and get some fresh air. To find these hikes, go to your city’s official website and browse the parks and recreation section. The trails will be listed there. The other place to check is your “visit” website. For instance, Visit Durango has a list of local trails.

Categories: The Heidi Guide