Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Elevation: 7062 - 7143 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Scenic Overlook
Attractions: Scenic views
The Scenic Overlook trail is in the Dutch Charlie area of Ridgway State Park about 6 miles north of the town of Ridgway, Colorado. The trail travels out to a point in the Elk Ridge Campground that overlooks Ridgway Reservoir. From the overlook hikers are treated to beautiful views of the headwater section of the reservoir and the San Juan Mountains.
The Scenic Overlook trail begins in the Elk Ridge Campground near the southern end of Loop D.
The path is a nice wide track composed of crushed rock that shields rainwater very well.
The trail can be hiked as an out-and-back or as a loop by combining it with a short section of the Sunset Ridge trail.
The forest the trail is passing through is composed of pinyon pine and juniper trees. These are the types of trees that are typical for the semidesert shrublands altitude zone in Western Colorado. The zone lies between 5000-7000 feet in elevation. Above it the vegetation gives way to oakbrush, aspens and pines. The zone below it is typically grasses and small brush. If you spend enough time in the area you get pretty good at guesstimating your general elevation.
The platform at the overlook is a pretty picture all by itself. It was built over a rocky outcrop where it has been fashioned around a pinyon tree.
Looking to the north from the overlook you can see all the way down to the dam.
To the south you can't quite see where the river runs into the reservoir.
Beyond the town of Ridgway the San Juan Mountains form an impressive horizon.
We zoomed in on Mount Sneffels (14,157 ft.) so that you can see just how rugged those mountains are. A couple of memorable hikes that you can do in that area are the Blue Lakes and Blaine Basin trails.
For this post we followed the loop around to get back to the campground. The distance is about the same and you get to see things from a different angle. Ridgway State Park has quite a few of these scenic little short trails that are great for a quick stroll or a family hike. It just goes to show that there is more to Ridgway State Park that just boating and fishing. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.