Round Trip Distance: 0.7 miles
Elevation: 7061 - 7094 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Visitor Center
Attractions: Forest hike, deer, elk, turkeys
The Forest Discovery Nature trail is located in Ridgway State Park near Ridgway, Colorado. The trail begins near the Visitor Center where it makes a short loop around the forested hilltop of pinyon pines and Utah junipers overlooking Ridgway Reservoir several hundred feet below.
The trail begins on the south side of the Visitor Center.
Even though the trail isn't paved the surface is hard packed and there is very little elevation change. Baby strollers will certainly have little difficulty and wheelchairs might find it suitable (at least with some assistance).
The Forest Discovery is an interpretive trail with several numbered posts that designate points of interest in the accompanying trail guide which is available in the Visitor Center.
The first point of interest along the trail is a teepee where an informative kiosk covers several details of the Ute people that once called the area home. Children will enjoy going inside of the teepee while everyone will benefit from learning a little about those that lived in them.
After passing the teepee the trail begins a loop. Take the right fork at this point to stay in sync with the numbered posts.
Looking to the east across a grassy meadow you can see the Coxcombs, Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain.
Keep a lookout for deer as you stroll along the path through the trees.
There might not be any one place in Ridgway State Park where you can see the reservoir in its entirety so each viewpoint tends to be a little different from all the others.
These pictures were taken in the month of July and as you can see the San Juan Mountains still had quite a bit of snow that hadn't melted yet.
A nice aspect about the hard packed gravely trails is that they hold up very well to a little rain. Actually, on the day these pictures were taken there had already been a whole lot of rain yet the trail was perfectly fine.
For those that are looking for a longer hike or bike ride there are various trails that connect the Visitor Center with each of the campgrounds. All total there are currently around 12 miles of trails within the park to enjoy. The parks itself is connected to the town of Ridgway, some 6 miles away, by the paved path of the Uncompahgre River trail. As far as the Forest Discovery Nature trail goes, if you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.