Copyright: Tom Kuekes - US Forest Service
Bighorn sheep are sometimes detected by the loose rocks that fall from their paths on a steep rock face
This trail travels mostly through lodgepole pine and open meadows. The first 2 miles follow old logging roads with carsonite posts with arrows marking the route. There are two overlooks into Cattle Creek in the first mile with nice views. At the end of the trail you have two options: you can turn north onto Cattle Creek Trail which is 4 miles of rolling decent to Forest road #509 and 2 miles of road to the Basalt Mountain road. Your other option is the Red Table Trail. It is 1.6 miles to Toner Reservoir. The trail crosses the dam to the east side, then north with the grass growing over the trail making it difficult to see. After the reservoir it is a steady 3 mile climb of 2000 feet elevation gain to a road on Red Tables with a couple of great views on the way. Cattle graze in the area making lots of trails, so carry a compass and map to find your way. Please leave gates in the position that you found them. For safety, bicycles must yield to hikers, who in turn yield to horses. Keep your speed down and ride safely. To protect wildlife please leave your dog at home, this is an important wildlife area for elk. This trail should not be ridden prior to June 21st to avoid disturbing calving elk. Water is nonexistent, so plan accordingly. Enjoy.
Directions from Carbondale: From Carbondale take Hwy. 82 east to El Jebel and turn left at the Texaco and head up through El Jebel and Missouri Heights for approximately 6 miles past Spring Park Reservoir. Here the road forks. Take the right fork onto forest road #509 for approximately 2 miles to the intersection of Cattle Creek and Basalt Mountain Roads. Turn right on road #524 and go 6 miles to the top of Basalt Mountain. The Trail starts by a locked gate and the bulletin board is 300 feet past the cattle guard on the top.
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