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Hiking Black Hawk’s new Maryland Mountain Recreation Park

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12 miles of trails for hiking, running, and mountain biking

By Aaron Storms

When driving to Black Hawk Sunday afternoon, I once again passed under the new bridge for the Hidden Treasure Trail Head, and thought to myself, “Self, how many times are you going to drive by this new trail system without stopping to check it out – it’s a beautiful day, you’re by yourself, you have no pressing engagements, so why not?” So I pulled the Jeep into the parking lot, took a quick glance at the sign and didn’t see anything really indicating how long the trail system was, so figured I’d hike for an hour or so to see where it went.

After an hour, I texted my wife to let her know why I wasn’t home yet, and that I was probably near the peak and would be home soon. I could see red farmhouse near Chase Gulch Reservoir and a rock outcropping that I believe to be the “Queen’s Chair” with a sign that said to follow the zig-zag trail up to the peak. At that point the trail turned from a wide bark-covered road to a narrow single-track trail and kept going up and up, in and out of the trees with amazing views until I met one of the trail crew near the peak. At that point, there was a marker with a notebook in a jar to sign before heading back down again. Not wanting to retrace my path, I took another “hiking only” trail in a more direct path but more vertical down until the trail ran out and I met another couple guys on the trail construction crew with jackhammers and miniature CAT backhoes who were finishing out the trail, and they said they estimated it would be complete in two weeks. Following the trail marker flags, I eventually hooked up with the main wide trail and headed back to the Jeep. Looking at the time, it took me about 2 hours and 45 minutes to hike the trail with no breaks and a steady pace. I can’t wait to hike this beautiful trail system again, but next time will wear hiking boots and shorts, and will take a bottle of water!

 

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