|Elevation Gain||420 ft|
|My TIme||1 hr 45 min|
|Closest Town||Buena Vista|
|Food Nearby||Mary Murphy Steakhouse|
Narrow Gauge Trail
The Narrow Gauge Trail 1432 is an easy trail that is extremely scenic and should be able to be enjoyed by all skill levels. The historic trail was on the old narrow gauge line of the Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad. That line ran from 1880-1926 and as you can see from the below picture was not for the faint of heart. Luckily we aren’t as wide as those trains were!
There are parking areas at either end of the old Narrow Gauge Trail but I am going to focus on starting from the eastern side. I did the trail as an out and back going from east to west and then back to the east. The trail begins at the dead end spot of County Road 290. From there head towards the edge of the cliff and you will see the trail start. The view from the parking area foreshadows what is in store on the walk.
The Narrow Gauge
There really isn’t too much to this hike. There is very little elevation gain and the trail is mostly wide and really easy to handle.
What makes this trail exceptional are the views. To one side of the trail you have a rock wall that is part of the Mount Antero area. On the other side of the trail you have a steep drop off, then a very pretty valley, and then the Mount Princeton complex and even Mount Princeton itself becomes visible.
The Middle (of the) Gauge
The steep drop isn’t even that bad as the trail is wide and flat and I never felt nervous. (And I am scared of heights so you should be fine!) The hardest part of this trail is trying to pay attention to where you are walking with so many wonderful things to look at.
As you get closer to the west end you will start to see a few more trees and a couple of bridges over some small creeks. I did this hike in the fall when it was really dry but I think it will have a few more water features in the spring and early summer with all of the melt off.
The trail is just over two miles from one end to the other. Then a turn and walk back makes for a really enjoyable four and a half mile journey between two giant mountains.
This is a very enjoyable and easy hike that I think all will enjoy!
Video of the Narrow Gauge Trail
I have put a couple of videos together about the Narrow Gauge Trail. This first one is a shorter narrative look at the hike.
This second video is a raw time lapsed version of the hike so you can get the feel of the trail. I call this my Hiker Edit. If you enjoy either of these videos make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free and will notify you every time I post a new video.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 4.64 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 420 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 8,974 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 45 minutes.
After doing a series of steep hikes lately it sure was nice to get to one that was almost completely flat! There really is no extra effort needed to complete this trail. It is flat, there is the smallest section of rock and other wise it like walking on a dirt sidewalk. Nice easy hike!
About 95% of the Narrow Gauge Trail is a wide dirt path. There is a small rocky section where the trail narrows but otherwise the terrain is easy to manage. I think a regular pair of cross trainers or running shoes would be fine for this trail.
There is parking available on either side of this trail but I am going to focus on the east side as that seemed to be the main parking area. The trail is located at the dead end of County Road 290 in Chaffee County. There is a large turnaround there with room for several cars. No facilities are available at the trailhead although there is a picnic table near the east trailhead.
Wrapping up the Narrow Gauge Trail #1432
Wow, what a great little hike. Nothing challenging with this hike and just a lovely with even lovelier views. I really enjoyed that it was flat so there were no issues with keeping my eyes on the views and just really enjoying myself.
As nice as the trail is, I don’t know if this is a hike to make an entire trip over but if you are going to be in the area it would be a nice quick and easy way to enjoy the beauty of Colorado.
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