TELLER COUNTY — In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
Located along County Road 62, less than 10 miles from Divide, is The Crags and Devils' Playground Trailhead.
Covering more than 5 miles of terrain and around 850 vertical feet, the hike is considered to be moderately challenging by most hikers. A lot of that has to do with the elevation, as the hike begins at almost 10,000 feet above sea level!
Parking can be limited at this popular hiking spot, but overflow parking is available nearby.
Part #1 — Nicely wooded, but lots of climbing
The hike is divided into three main segments.
Like many trails here in Southern Colorado, this one starts out with a pretty quick climb.
The first is a lovely, yet challenging walk through a forest of pine trees. It's shaded quite nicely, which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the temperature.
You'll also encounter a few switchbacks in the lower section, but nothing too terrible.
Part #2 — Wide open fields of Aspen trees
We've now reached the second section of our hike.
It's filled with fields of aspens, but instead of getting the chance to see those golden leaves shimmer and shine, most of the trees have already turned bare for the season.
Still, we manage to find a few yellow Aspen trees dancing in the breeze.
* Side note — We did our hike on Wednesday, October 12th, past the peak of the leaf-peeping season in Teller County.
It's here that we also catch our first glimpse of Devils' Playground and the other rock formations that give this hike its name.
Part #3 — Back to the forest we go
As we leave the open meadow behind - my favorite part - we enter the third and final segment.
Almost immediately, it becomes steeper, tougher and more challenging.
And if the hike's difficulty doesn't get to you, the elevation just might.
At more than 10,600 feet, it can be a little difficult to breathe up here. Make sure to listen to your body, take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of water and/or electrolytes.
On this high-altitude adventure, there's also a lot of variety in the terrain.
From loose rock to giant boulders to firmly packed dirt, you'll want to come equipped with the right shoes for this hike.
Twisted conifers towards the summit also give off some serious Dr. Seuss vibes as views of the snowy Continental Divide appear off in the distance.
At around 10,800 feet, these views are a big payoff. Make sure to enjoy them before hiking back down.
The Crags Trail rating
Now it's time to rate my latest adventure.
For difficulty, the first part and the last are the most challenging. We're going to score this 4 out of 5.
When it comes to scenery, there's a reason why this is one of my favorite hikes in the Pikes Peak Region. 5 out of 5.
For fun level, the distance of the hike at over 5 miles makes it challenging, along with the elevation factor. That said, we saw quite a few families out enjoying the trail. I give this 5 out of 5.
Now for my final score! Let's rate this one 5 out of 5 stars.
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