Collin Szewczyk

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January 24, 2013
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Frozen fun at the fins

If you're out looking for a quick hiking, snowshoeing or cross country skiing opportunity, Thompson Creek may be the perfect place. Located minutes outside of Carbondale, this secluded trail is a beautiful choice if you're looking for a quiet, scenic reprieve from everyday life.

The trail takes you between two opposing worlds; bright, warm desert-like rock formations climb out of the hillside, while an arctic, shaded forest hides in the shadows below.

Thompson Creek itself is a frozen cross country track that leads you through meandering bends, all the while being serenaded by the gurgling sounds of flowing water underfoot. The area is home to diverse wildlife, such as black bear (in summer), mountain lion, coyote, deer, elk, turkey and grouse. Fossilized dinosaur footprints have also been found in the area, but the main attraction of this prehistoric site are the "fins" that protrude from the hillside. These vertical sandstone slabs tower up to 60 feet high.

To get there from Highway 133 in Carbondale, turn west on Main Street, which turns into County Road 108 (Thompson Creek Road), and continue for about 7 miles to the Spring Gulch skiing area. A half mile up from Spring Gulch, turn left on the first road (Road 305) and follow it for 2.4 miles to the trailhead. There is a bridge with a large culvert just to the right of the trailhead. The road can be very slick, so drive carefully.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 24, 2013 12:49AM Published Jan 24, 2013 12:47AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.