Happy Hollow

Round Trip Distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 8145 - 8187 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Dave Wood Nordic
Fee: none
Attractions: Ungroomed trail

Happy Hollow is part of the Dave Wood Winter Recreation Area in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Montrose, Colorado. The trail begins off of the Branson Loop where it crosses a hollow and makes a short loop around the knob of a hill. Enroute it is connected to by the Plantation Alley, DP and Dewdrop trails.

The trailhead is about 15 miles west of downtown Montrose. To get there drive west on Main Street from Townsend Avenue and follow the signs for Colorado Highway 90 for about 4 miles. Watch for the sign for the Dave Wood Road where you will turn left. Continue for another 11 miles or so. The trailhead is on the right as you come to the forest boundary. There is additional parking across the road on the left.

From the trailhead follow the Branson Loop for about a quarter mile. The quickest route to Happy Hallow is to go to the right as though following the Branson Loop in the counterclockwise direction.

After another 0.6 miles the Happy Hollow trail branches off on the right. The turnoff isn't labeled but it is marked with a 4x4 wooden post. There is a shortcut that is commonly used that branches off 1-2 hundred feet before reaching the official start of the trail.

The Happy Hollow trail starts out heading away from the Branson Loop for a hundred feet or so and then turns to the right and begins paralleling it back in the other direction.

After a couple hundred more feet the trail turns away from the Branson Loop once again at the same point where the shortcut route comes in.

The trail continues with a well marked route that leads through the trees to the point where it makes a gentle descent into Happy Hollow.

As the trail rises back out of the hollow it comes to the spot where the loop begins. For this post we followed the trail to the right.

The trail is fairly pleasant as it travels around the east side of the loop. There is a slight uphill hump at first after which it quickly levels off.

The first wooden post that comes up marks the point where the Plantation Alley trail branches off on the right.

As the trail reaches its northern edge it comes to another wooden post where there is an intersection with the DP and Dewdrop trails.

The west side of the loop seems to be more primitive and much less traveled but with little fanfare it continues around the knob of the hill until it reaches the point where the loop began. At the time we were there for this post there was a big storm moving in so we headed back to the trailhead the same way that we came.

Courtesy US Forest Service
Happy Hollow is a short trail but by the time you make it to and from the trailhead it comes out to around 2.2 miles. If you are on cross country skis the distance can go by pretty fast with not much in the way of hills to slow you down. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.