Waldo Canyon fall hike photos

Waldo Canyon fall hike photos

Photos taken on the Waldo Canyon trail west of Colorado Springs, Oct 21, 2011. See also photos from when I previously hiked this trail a few years ago, in early summer. Copyright (c) 2011, Sandra J. Loosemore. Photos are provided for personal viewing only; no other use is permitted without prior written consent.

The trail starts out at these stairs at the east end of the parking lot.

View looking down the canyon, over highway 24. There's a little bit of fall color there.

Since it was very late in the season there weren't too many wildflowers left, but here's some yellow aster-type flowers.

And another variety, with broad fuzzy leaves.

And here's a third variety, with divided leaves. I think this one is probably Bahia dissecta (ragleaf bahia). The stuff growing to the right of the flowers, with the even more finely divided leaves, is artemesia, also known as sage or wormwood; you can buy this as a decorative perennial in nurseries.

These purple asters were growing in a shadier spot. I think these are Machaeranthera bigelovii, tall tansy asters.

More purple asters growing on a big plant.
Splashes of fall color as the trail goes through a small stand of trees.

About a mile from the start, the trail finally turns a corner to the left and heads into Waldo Canyon.

Some big rocks on the trail.

I was surprised to see ferns growing among the rocks. It was very dry on the trail to this point.

The rocks continue to form a wall across the canyon.

Above the rocks, there's a broad meadow. The fall colors here are already past peak, with a lot of bare branches.

I took the left fork in the trail, to go around the loop section clockwise. This section of trail follows the creek, which has just a trickle of water in it after a month of dry weather.

After about a mile from the fork, the trail starts to climb away from the creek and out of the canyon.

Pretty soon Pikes Peak comes into view.

The views keep getting better and better as you continue uphill. This middle section of the hike is the best part!

Looking more eastward, the very pointy peak on the horizon is Cameron Cone. Beyond it, the one with snow on top is Almagre.

Easy walking as the trail approaches a saddle on the ridge.

Starting to head down at this point. This section of trail crosses back and forth into Williams Canyon, the next one to the east of Waldo. Here we're headed pretty much due south; Cheyenne Mountain is straight ahead, on the skyline.

Pikes Peak still looms in the background as the trail wanders around the open hillside.

This section of trail overlooks Williams Canyon. In contrast to the granite in Waldo Canyon, here the rocks are sandstone and limestone, and the cliffs have been carved into cool formations.

Plenty of rock formations on the trail, too! Nasty walking on this section, even though it's mostly downhill.

One last view of Pikes Peak.

The switchbacks down to the trail junction in the meadow are really steep and covered with loose gravel. Maybe next time I do this trail I will try the loop section in the opposite direction and see if it's any better going up this way.

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