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Interpretive Hike: Cottonwood-Sweet Dreams Loop

 11/20/2021  |  08:30 AM - 03:30 PM
  Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area  |  Registration Required

Special Events - All Ages

PLEASE NOTE: This hike date has been changed from 11/06 to 11/20. See linked document for full UPDATED description. (new date, start time, and route) From the parking area, we head south along the Arkansas River on an old 4-Wheel Drive road that used to be called the Pole Line Trail, for a short distance to the west opening of Cottonwood Gulch where we turn east into the Gulch. The hike up Cottonwood Gulch is through a beautiful closed canyon with many rock features of much geologic interest: igneous rocks exposed by rifting through the canyon, metamorphics, and a diorite stock. We will also encounter a portion of the Tenderfoot Mountain volcanic lava flow where it has been eroded through by stream flow. The route is in the stream-bed for this first mile where we encounter much rock and a few low ledges and opens up for the remainder of the walk to the Sweet Dreams intersection at mile 1.3. We turn south onto the Sweet Dreams Trail and climb 0.3 mile to the top of the ridge forming the south wall of Cottonwood Gulch for nice views of the Gulch and surrounding area. We then continue south through Pinyon Foothills forest to a ridgetop at about 2.3 miles that is the high point of our hike at 7570 feet. We continue south about a half mile to an andesite volcanic ash outcrop that may be about the southern-most extent of the volcanic debris deposits from Tenderfoot. We continue south through Pinyon forest to a third ridgetop and descend into upper Sweet Water Gulch where we almost immediately encounter a beautifully cliffed gulch and a nice place to stop for lunch at approximately 3 miles. Very soon on the descent after lunch we reach the intersection of the Chicken Dinner Trail far north of the Salida stockyards. (Please see linked hike description for remainder of description.)

Maximum Participants: 10

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Jennifer Crawford
(719) 539-7289

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