Cleveland National Forest – Silverado Motorway
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First of all, the drive out to Silverado is always a treat. You get to see the most diverse architecture imaginable. There are hillbilly shacks and Mc Mansions, ranches and propane tanks everywhere. Despite the clash of old and new builds, you’ll feel like you’re in the country, and it’s only 15min away from “civilization”. Since I grew up in this area I’ve heard alot of local lore about these canyons, like the haunted farm, and the satanic church that is supposed to exist somewhere among the rolling hills of Silverado and Modjeska Canyons. Who knows how true any of that is, all I know is I wouldn’t stay in the canyons alone after dark.
Anyway, once you reach the end of Silverado Canyon road, one thing you’ll want to do is make sure you scope out the parking beyond the Maple Springs parking area. Maple Springs was full when we arrived, but there was parking in the next clearing (right near the trailhead to the left of the road).
We started off this hike at 10:30am and it was about 58 degrees out. We both packed big coats expecting it to be cold or windy but it wasn’t for most of the hike and we both shucked our coats after the first 10min. One thing to lookout when doing this hike at this time of the year is the position of the sun. The hike up was totally exposed (we both got light tans on our faces), but the hike down was shady at 1pm and light was failing fast, so keep that in mind when you plan your time out there.
We were glad for our jackets at the top of this hill as it was windy and exposed. The map we were following said that Bedford Peak was at the top, but we couldn’t locate a proper peak. We saw a tattered windsock which probably marks the “peak”, but that was it. A stone’s throw away, Silverado Trail intersects the Main Divide and that’s where we turned around after eating some lunch. I’d say that the hike up wasn’t strenuous, but I’ve been accused of being part mountain goat. It’s Intermediate really, unless you were to hike it in the Summer in which case I’d say you’ll have a tough time of it.
The map estimates that it’s 2000 feet of elevation gain in 3mi. We made it up in about 1.5 hours taking our time. Coming back down, you have to pick your way in spots, and definitely watch your ass for Mountain Bikers. We counted 20 bikers and 16 other hikers, so if you want a more solitary route, this isn’t the trail for you. It has really great views though and I would do it again as a quick getaway hike.
Miles covered: 6-7 round trip
Elevation Gain: ~2,000
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