I went back to Hermosa to run up Hermosa, Little Elk and then come back on Pinkerton Flagstaff and Jones Creek for a 31 mile run. Little Elk does not get much attention around here, and the trail off Hermosa is barely noticeable. At the top the transition from Little Elk to Pinkerton Flagstaff is riddled with cow trails and other unmarked, equally traveled paths that even if you have done this before there is a good chance you will get lost. I've biked this perhaps 5 or 6 times and still got lost on this run.
The trail overlooks this cave, but the drop down to it is a lot like the steep cliff walls shown here. There may be a route down there, I just have not found it.
There is a nice valley you climb, which is part of a hunter's camp.
Somewhere in here there is an even more primitive trail that takes you over to Dutch Creek, at least according to the maps. I have not found it.
This little cabin is an active hunter's camp. One year I looked in the window and found a stack of Playboy magazines. I guess when not holding your gun, you hold onto something else?
Most of the trail through meadows like this is very hard to follow. Sometimes you half to walk the perimeter of the meadow until the trail reappears.
Once back on Pinkerton Flagstaff though it is a straight shot on the ridge back to Hermosa. Awesome views in all directions.
And ribbon singletrack
This is an early season and a late season loop. I'll be back to take photos when the aspens turn back to bright fall yellow.