When he was younger, on the front lines of the rock climbing revolution of the 1970s, Colorado Springs resident Stewart Green would’ve been bothered by someone writing about places he considered “hidden gems.”
Now he’s writing about them.
“It just goes with the territory,” says Green, the accomplished author with Falcon Guides, which last year asked him to write on Colorado’s lesser-known trails. “Most people are grateful to find new places. And most of these places, it’s not like you can’t go on the internet and find a lot of information. It’s not like I’m revealing anything that nobody’s been to before.”
Yes, he’s sorry to admit, in these boom days of outdoor recreation, a true “hidden gem” might no longer exist. Nonetheless, he’s filling the pages of “Hiking Colorado’s Hidden Gems,” due on shelves next spring.
Green is featuring 40 hikes, including some at state parks along the Front Range. While those close to Denver and the Springs are quick to fill up, Green prefers the rugged country that surrounds lakes at Lathrop State Park near Walsenburg.
The red rock formations at Roxborough State Park aren’t talked about like those at Garden of the Gods, but they’re no less wondrous in Green’s view. And, he notes, the Littleton state park offers a marvelous summit hike in Carpenter Peak.
Down south near Cañon City, Green writes of Temple Canyon being as serene a destination as it sounds. Out east, he spotlights the often ignored Pawnee and Comanche national grasslands and the Curecanti National Recreation Area out west.
Also on the Western Slope, he loves the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and the Craig Crest Trail atop the Grand Mesa — “places that locals might go to,” Green says, “but other people in the state aren’t really aware of.”
And if these locals don’t want him writing about these places? Sorry, but it’s good to “spread the wealth,” he says, away from the loved-to-death likes of Rocky Mountain National Park, for example.
“It helps protect the land,” Green says. “And it gives us more chances for that private, solitary experience, more of what makes being outside a therapeutic way to be.”
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