Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sanitas Valley + Exploration

Time: 1:27
Distance:  8.63 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool

Another maddeningly busy day at work. Still, managed to sneak out around 4 p.m. for a quick run before heading home. 

Ran up Mapleton Hill to Sanitas Open Space and ran the Dakota Ridge Trail up to its junction with the Sanitas Valley Trail. Ran down the valley trail and picked up the social trail that heads up Sunshine Canyon from the parking lot.  

I remembered seeing another unmarked trail heading up off this unmarked trail on a run last week and decided a little exploration was in order. The this narrow ribbon of dirt headed steeply up for a good bit before leveling off and winding through a few copses of forest. After ten minutes or so, the trail started to head down to a dirt road, but I wasn't read to head down. 

Instead, I went cross-country, marching up a very steep, grassy slope bound for what looked like a trail snaking across the hillside 100 feet above.  Turned out the "trail" was little more than a deer path, but it was enough to keep me moving up. I made my way up to the ridge, which was the ridge separating Sunshine and Boulder Canyons.  The ridge-top featured a very well-defined, good-quality trail.  With Betasso visible not too far west, I headed back east, cresting a few small peaks, and ended up on the Anemone Trail, which begins in the Red Rocks area between Sanitas and Settler's Park.

I was surprised how good the trail was along the ridge.  I've heard there's a way to get from Red Rocks to Betasso on trails.  This must have been part of the way. I'll have to head back and explore more up here.  

After descending to Settler's Park, I returned to the office via Pearl and Spruce Streets, just as the first raindrops of the run started falling.

1,475 feet of elevation gain.

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