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A gorgeous hike on the valley floor with all of the water views.


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Map Key

4.3

Miles

6.9

KM

Lollipop

7,122' 2,171 m

High

7,053' 2,150 m

Low

142' 43 m

Up

142' 43 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

ADA Accessible Mostly gravel path

Family Friendly Easy, flat hike with great views.

Overview

This easy but beautiful lollipop loop hike follows the banks of the Arkansas River for most of its length, visits Sands Lake along the way, and then culminates with a loop around Franz Lake before working its way back. This is an easy hike that's almost entirely flat, following wide gravel paths most of the way. Therefore, it's both family-friendly and ADA-accessible.

Description

Begin the hike from the parking lot at Marvin Park by picking up the Arkansas River Trail. Alternatively, you can also hike to the beginning from downtown Salida.

Follow the paved section of trail along the river, passing by Sands Lake and then crossing CR 175.

On the opposite side of 175 the trail turns to gravel and begins to feel more natural. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Arkansas River rushing past along this section. The gravel path goes under the Highway 291 bridge and runs through towering cottonwood trees before climbing a short hill and reaching CR 154.

Take a right on CR 154 and hike alongside the road until you reach a parallel path that allows you to get off the road. At the road junction below Franz Lake, bear straight and hike uphill to reach the path along the dam.

Once at Franz Lake, you can wander about and explore or make the most of the trails by looping around the lake and the meadow to the west. Once you have enjoyed the beautiful views and wildlife at the lake, retrace your steps back toward Marvin Park.

On the way back, be sure to add a loop around Sands Lake so that you can enjoy this small lake in its own right.

Both of these lakes attract plenty of birds, especially waterfowl, making for great birding. You can also often spot all manner of wildlife along the river and next to the lakes, especially deer.

Flora & Fauna

Many birds, especially waterfowl, and plenty of wildlife, especially deer.

Contacts

Land Manager: City of Salida

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  2.0 from 1 vote

#5519

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  2.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#703

in Colorado

#5,519

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Photos

View across Franz Lake
May 5, 2024 near Salida, CO

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