This is a hike known having tons of wildflowers. It’s been on my list for awhile and I finally did a solo hike to catch some of the last wildflowers before nature’s vibrant color palette turns to one of autumnal hues.
This is a great solo hike, family hike or hiking with dogs. It was 39°F when I started on a beautiful Saturday morning. I started at 8:30am and there were only three cars in parking lot. Tip: This is a very popular trail in the Sawatch Range. Start early to beat crowds.
Hike Stats: 4.3 miles round trip, out and back hike
Getting There: From I-70 take exit 190 and head toward rest stop. On the curve, you’ll see a dirt road on the right. There’s a Shrine Pass sign there. Drive dirt road for a couple of miles to the trailhead. You’ll see the parking are and restrooms.
Shortly after starting the trail descends a little through a thicket of willows then rolls across a meadow. That means you have an easy uphill coming at the end of hike. With the willows, a small pond in the meadow and chill on the air, I was hoping to see a moose but no luck.
As I got into the trees, I started seeing more wildflowers with a gradual incline through the forest.
At about 1.3 miles into the hike and just below ridge line, I came out of the forest, skirted some trees and got treated to a great view.
The steepest part of climb is a very short incline up to ridge.
At the top of the ridge you have three options. Go left – no idea where that goes. Enjoy the view right there, although I did see a trail leading down on other side. I took the third option of going to the right towards an interesting rock formation.
Hiking along the ridge I was treated to stunning views on both sides including a great view of Mount Holy Cross. It was a little windy. Temperatures were only in the mid 40s but in full sun it wasn’t too bad.
I came up to a “Y” in trail and went to the right. It was a small loop.
I enjoyed the wildflowers and view of Mount Holy Cross, a 14-er high on my list to hike, and headed back down the trail with wonderful views of the Gore Range. I could even see the ski slopes on Copper Mountain when I got back to the meadow.
History tidbit: Shrine Pass was originally a Ute Indian trail. When miners moved into the area in the late 1800s it became known as Shrine Ridge.