Trail Report: Lookout Mountain Loop Trail | Del Norte, Colorado
Trail Info: Lookout Mountain Trail
Skill Level: Easy
Trail Type: Loop
Distance: 2.5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 383 Feet
Closest Town: Del Norte, CO
Trail Report: Lookout Mountain Loop Trail | Del Norte, CO
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Not very many towns come with their own trail systems or even having trails within the towns city limits. Del Norte, Colorado is very different. When looking for hiking trails in this area I was surprised at the amount of adventure this little town had to offer. Within a 10 mile radius, I could stay busy for a while!
Lookout Mountain Park Trail System
You can find several hiking and mountain biking trails within the area with numerous levels of activity. The town of Del Norte itself has what they call the Lookout Mountain Park Trails System. A 200-acre park with 8 miles of single track trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and runners.
It’s one of the perfect spots for a “lunch break” adventure and is close to town!
Within the Lookout Mountain Park Trail System is the hike to the summit of the Lookout Mountain, which is a 1-mile, difficult hike. The summit has a 600-foot elevation gain which gives great craggy switchbacks near the summit of the mountain.
This is no 14’er by any means; the summit is a mere 8,475 feet but allows for amazing views of the San Luis Valley. The hike gives almost all hiker experience levels the chance to experience many traverse landscapes!
As you can see the Lookout Mountain Park Trail System is comprised of several trails within the park. You could easily make it a day full of discovery or pick a trail on a given day for a short and sweet day hike.
The trail system is dog-friendly, however, keeping dogs on leashes is a must and of course, abiding by “Leave No Trace” policies.
There is no potable water within this trail system. However, with this type of day hike, you should come fully prepared with your own water in a water bladder in your daypack. I brought roughly 2 liters of water with me when I completed this hike for Darby, my adventure dog, and I to share. It was plenty.
When I completed the Lookout Mountain Trail I was using my iPhone and my All Trails app maps to keep me on the right course! While the trail and the trail system isn’t too technical I did get lost! I ended up having to walk through a residential area back to my truck which added about 2 extra miles to the hike.
Backup Navigation Needed!
My phone also died about the time I had to walk through the town of Del Norte so trying to find out where I went wrong on the trail didn’t help. This was the first time I wasn’t able to completely follow a trail map on my All Trails app. I believe I went wrong when I neared the end of the loop. I’m thinking that I should have continued up to the Summit and then back down I would have been able to complete the loop!
Thankfully this mishap happened in on a short trail and within the town; with people around. Countless scenarios went through my head as I was thinking what would have happened had I been on an alpine trail with no one in sight for several miles and with no cell reception … with a dead cell phone.
A whoopsie such as this could have been the difference between life or death on a more technical and remote trail and clearly humbled my booty about needing to take more time in learning navigational basics!
Looking back at the maps and how the trail was supposed to go and where I got “off trail”, I don’t recall seeing the trail veer off to complete the loop, nor did I see any signs. I plan to go back and try completing the actual loop again. I will be taking a map with me of course and I want to see if I can find where exactly I went wrong.
Besides my navigational mishap; my dog, Darby, and I did have a wonderful hike and it was the perfect temperature out to do so. We only saw one rabbit and a snakeskin, eww. Glad we didn’t actually have to see a snake though!
This hike was rated as easy and for the portion I completed I would say that I certainly was easy. There are some areas within the hike that you’ll want to take some precaution. The trail has some spots where large, loose rocks are in the middle of the trail and require some maneuvering, but it is doable and not a big deal.
I did not take trekking poles with me and didn’t see too much of a need for them. I’m trying to learn which trails and types I need my trekking poles most on. I do think that I should have taken them with me anyway since you never know when you’ll need them.
Have you hiked this trail before? Where and how do you think I went wrong? What was a lesson you learned while on the trail?
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Cheers to boundless adventure in the outdoors –