Given that this only has seasonal access, TA does not list this hike as a "...to Do". In the spirit of giving back I thought I would share my experiences from last weekend's trek.
Below are pertinent map coordinates:
trailhead - +39° 15' 33.80", -106° 27' 32.17"
tunnel - +39° 15' 33.80", -106° 27' 32.17"
Note that driving the last five miles on Hagerman Pass Road includes a dirt road (in pretty good condition), narrow roads, no guard rails, and steep cliffs. The hike itself also involves at times walking along 15 foot-wide trails with 40-foot drops on either side. While you don’t need hiking boots and a pole, one or the other is helpful. With those warnings out of the way, this is a relatively easy, unique, beautiful hike. Nonetheless, if you are afraid of heights just stop reading now.
Since the forecast was for no rain that day, we got a late 1 p.m. start on the trail. My wife, 15 YO, and 10 YO have been living in Colorado for three years so we all thought this was a fun, easy hike. My brother, his wife, and their 6 YO who live at sea level thought it was a little more challenging. My niece was not up to keeping up with the rest of us for the first 500 yards much less 5+ miles, so my brother ended up carrying her on his shoulders for half the way up the mountain. My sis-in-law found the small water crossings intimidating, while me with my hiking boots would just walk right on through almost without worrying about where I was stepping. Point being is while this is termed an “easy” hike, I probably should have set higher expectations as to what “dangers” we faced.
We took the “long” way up and were rewarded by a beautiful assortment of wildflowers near Hagerman Lake. My niece got to make a snow angel on a patch of snow near the lake, and they all loved climbing rocks to the tunnel entrance. Each of us had 24 oz. of water and that was about right for this relatively warm (upper 70s) day. I brought some snacks for us to dine on at the tunnel. Next time I’ll bring some type of wipes/Purell.
For the trip down we took the short-cut to Douglas City. While that required a couple of us to scoot down the trail on our bums in a couple of spots (this is where sis-in-law got scared), we were rewarded by seeing some of the abandoned cabins.
Last year my son and I did this 5.5 mile route in 3’20”. This year with the extended family we added 1’40” to that time. Afterwards everyone was happy about the hike, and I hope my brother, sis-in-law, and niece tell their stories of adventure when they get back to Texas.