Hiking Fourmile Falls Trail in Pagosa Springs
By Stacy Boone of StepOutdoors Colorado
I rather snickered to myself when I pulled into the parking lot. No one anywhere. Everything was quiet. From the trailhead to the waterfall that was plummeting hundreds of feet my only encounters would be of spider webs, nodding western red columbine and the shadows of the Englemann Spruce that stood strong and stoically on the treadway edge.
A wide and easily discernable pathway, concentrating on where to go was not required. Instead, the focus could be on the growing piles forming at the base of various trees. First thinking squirrel, further investigation revealed the reddish brown bark of the spruce. A beautiful tree, moments were passed as I conceived stories of living a hundred years in a canyon near the Continental Divide. But, there were many steps still to be taken so moving forward through the small rivulets helped to cool my dusty feet. The rise and fall of the poof that was generated with each step is much reminiscent of Pigpen and by the end of the day my calves would be caked with a fine covering of soil and minerals to be sent down the drain.
As the sun and shadows jostled for a position of right, the flowers began to turn their heads earnestly to the rays that were penetrating the needles of the tall surrounding shade trees. Removing my backpack countless times an array of photographs were taken of wild onions and dainty colorations of fine petals. A few new wild strawberry shoots made promises of delightful treats weeks away and the meadows clung to a few receding piles of dirty snow. The shades of green exposed the depth of the water without an up close investigation.
The ramblings of small elevation gains passed unnoticed and around a bend a surprise. She was forceful and gathering speed with the drop that sounded and reverberated at the clash of water hitting rock. Impressively pregnant with the hastily melting high altitude snow I knew I’d picked a perfect day to witness nature in all of her glory.
So opportune, the pathway ceased its dirt and changed to rocky challenges that needed a bit of eye foot supervision. Despite wanting to look high at the flowing water, I instead spent those last minutes negotiating foot placement. An often visited site for Pagosa Springs visitors, I knew how lucky I was to have these moments alone. I starred. I ogled. I snacked and when I thought my time was done I again shouldered my pack and headed from where I’d come meeting hikers along the way who were en route to a favorite destination in the Weiminuche.
Trail: Fourmile Falls Trailhead No. 569
Distance: 3.5-miles each way/7-miles round trip
Directions: From downtown Pagosa Springs turn north onto County Road 400 (FS 645). Travel north for 8.3-miles to a “Y” in the road. Veer to the right at the “Y.” Travel 4.6-miles to the end of the road and the shared trailhead of Anderson and Fourmile Falls Trails.