Winding River Resort Trip - East Shore Trail
Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Summer vacation August 2021: Grand Lake Colorado
The second trail we rode today is called East Shore Trail. It runs along the eastern shoreline of Shadow Mountain Lake. We had to drive through town a bit to get there but it was pretty close, maybe 15 minutes from our last parking spot. There is a small parking lot at the trail head with a spot for trailers which was empty when we got there. By the way - we haven’t seen any other horses on these trails at all since we have been here. It just seems crazy to me that these trails aren’t more utilized by horseback riders! On the way up the trail we passed several young families out for a hike and two mountain bikers. Again, everyone yielded to us and it was no problem at all to navigate through them. This was a beautiful ride of the lake. The wind off the lake was fresh and cool and felt so good as the sun got pretty warm today. The trail started out wide but soon became a single track. We planned to ride out to an open meadow and back but there was a downed tree blocking our way so we decided to turn back and head up the ridge toward Shadow Mountain and the fire tower lookout. The beetle kill in this area of the park was really hard to even wrap our minds around. Most of the trees were newer growth and the ground was littered with fallen pines. It looked like we were walking though a bonfire just ready to be lit. No exaggeration. It didn’t take much to imagine the mountains on the other side of the lake ablaze and realize it all looked like this when the fire started. Just a ticking time-bomb for forest fires.
The climb up the ridge was a good climb but there were no stairs at all which is much easier on the horses when it is just the natural terrain. We had already ridden them pretty far today so we didn’t want to over do it. We stopped to let them air up a few times on the way but within 30 seconds they had their air and were ready to go on. Their stamina this trip has amazed me. We mostly rode along the top of the ridge and paused for a few photo ops on the way. It was stunning looking down at the Lake and the town beyond. We could see for miles.
On the way back Sedona was brave enough to lead most of the way. It was really good experience for her. Anytime she got nervous I just had Tim switch places with me and we leap frogged back and forth to build her confidence. By the end of this ride we had gone 4.8 miles and gained 650 feet of elevation up to the top of the ridge.