One-way Distance: 0.6 miles
Elevation: 6922 - 7034 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Visitor Center
The Pinyon Park trail is located in Ridgway State Park about 6 miles north of the town of Ridgway, Colorado. The trail begins near the Visitor Center and travels around the base of Elk Ridge toward the Dutch Charlie boat launch area where it comes to an end at the Secret Place trail. Enroute the trail travels through the edges of the pinyon forest that covers the hillside of Elk Ridge. At times it is bordered on one side by grassy meadows that deer find inviting between dusk and dawn.
This post begins at the south end of the Pinyon Park trail near the Visitor Center just off of the road leading up to the Elk Ridge Campground.
The Pinyon Park trail is of similar construction as the other non paved trails in the park. The trail base is composed of crushed rock that repels water very well and creates a nice smooth path for hiking and biking.
There is a little over 100 feet of change in elevation from one end of the trail to the other. The change is gradual enough that for the most part it is hardly noticeable.
Several benches provide the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery and perchance view some of the local wildlife.
This deer was on the path in front of us until it saw us approaching. The next one that we saw was laying in the trees 20-30 feet from the trail. It didn't bother getting up but rather watched us as we strolled by.
The grass seems to get greener toward the north end of the trail. It might be that the soil is deeper here and retains more water.
The trail comes to an end at its junction with the Secret Place trail. There is a parking area just off to the right at this point. The boat launch is just past that as well as some nice restrooms. If you go left along the Secret Place trail you can jump off on the Twin Fawn trail that leads up Elk Ridge or continue ahead where you will find some picnic tables and fishing access along the channel that connects Mears Bay with the reservoir. As far as the Pinyon Park trail goes, if you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.