𝐁𝐑𝐔𝐍𝐎 𝐆𝐔𝐋𝐂𝐇 𝐅𝐔𝐍 𝐑𝐈𝐃𝐄 on July 16th
𝘙𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘓𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘳: 𝘏𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘓𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘯
An absolutely stunning destination ride, we met along Bruno Gulch Road near the public horse corrals since a couple of us camped out the night before. There are four corrals which are sturdy and fairly large (of course my gelding still thought it would be fun to get cast by rolling right next to a panel ).
Relatively close to Denver, it is not an official dark sky location but still “away from it all” enough to see the Milky Way and enjoy some peace and quiet. This beautiful spot is a two hour drive for most of our members, whether you come from Parker, Penrose, or Pueblo.
I need to tell you that I have had this trail on my Bucket List for a couple years, and it did not disappoint. I first came across this ride on Top Horse Trails (https://www.tophorsetrails.com/.../6198-Geneva-Creek-Trail), and was glad someone had done a lot of the research needed to get others out there safely.
Several RMBCH members and their guests came along, all with great trail horses and riders who supported each other as needed. A favorite of the group was “Mexico,” a plain red gelding whose former life as a pack horse for the cartel made for some very entertaining stories.
In order to get to see the Geneva Creek Iron Fens, which is unique to Colorado, you have to take a Jeep road for a good portion of the ride, so plan for very rocky segments. Interestingly, a “fens” is a type of wetland that is peat-forming due to available groundwater. This particular one is very mineral and iron rich, which creates limonite in some really amazing terraces (see photos) at over 11,000 feet.
Riding on a Sunday, we expected to see a fair amount of hikers, bikers, and drivers, but really had the trails mostly to ourselves. A nice hiker took a group photo for us about halfway there, and all of the campers at Shelf Lake Trailhead were very friendly toward the horses. We passed a few off-roading vehicles, and met a few more hikers, all of which were very considerate of our equestrian needs. I always love to come across educated trail users!
The trail has several excellent creek crossings along the way to keep the horses hydrated, as well as plenty of native grasses, clover, and dandelions for them to nibble, making this a pleasant out-and-back route of about 13 miles roundtrip.
FYI there is a lot more riding than the Iron Fens trail up here, so make a plan to visit for a couple days if you can, but know that some of the trails are very steep and challenging. This is Thirteener and Fourteener territory, so high elevation and extreme technicality can be anticipated on most of the trails here.