Kenosha Pass: Fall foliage, Bigfoot and hot dogs
By Carin R. Kirkegaard; courtesy photos
September arguably heralds in some of Colorado’s best days to get outside, especially in the high country. With warm sunny days cooling to crisp evenings, hiking, biking or even driving over mountain passes provides an opportunity to witness the state changing colors and showing off the vibrantly-hued fall foliage.
At 10,000 feet, Kenosha Pass is a 75-mile drive west from Castle Pines. The pass is where the 486-mile Colorado Trail intersects with U.S. Highway 285. It’s the perfect day trip out of the Denver metro area and offers miles of aspen-lined trails that open up to high-plain vistas and views of Mount Evans and Bierstadt in the distance. On sunny days, when the sky is filled with white billowy clouds, their shadows blow across the open fields.
In Colorado, the height of fall colors can start anywhere from mid-September and last though early October. The higher the elevation, the earlier the turn. To be safe, leaf peepers who want to witness Mother Nature in her full colorful glory, should plan a trip to Kenosha sometime during the second or third week of September.
Set on the North Fork South Platte River, the town of Bailey offers an opportunity for a break on the trip west. The Sasquatch Outpost is located just off the main drive through town and is listed as one of the top 10 wackiest places to visit in Colorado.
The Sasquatch Encounter Museum is ground zero for those looking to solve the mystery of Bigfoot. There is a map that documents sightings, and the owners host meetings where like-minded individuals gather to share information. The store offers a large selection of Bigfoot-related souvenirs and camping supplies for anyone going on a hunt. According to the website, “We specialize in Squatching gear and cater to both the novice who is just beginning to learn the art of Squatching, or the experienced Squatcher!”
After a hike through the golden gloaming of aspen leaves, make sure to stop on the way back through Bailey at the Coney Island Boardwalk. A 42-foot giant hot dog nestled in a 35-foot bun on the side of the road is hard to miss. A mountain creek runs behind the 1950s style diner, and hikers can find sustenance from the variety of hot dogs, hand-cut fries and ice cream offered on the menu.
The hot dog has a storied history in the state. It opened its doors in Denver on West Colfax Avenue in 1966. Originally, the owners envisioned opening a chain of giant hot dog diners, but unfortunately the restaurant closed in 1969. In 1970 the hot dog moved west to Aspen Park, located in Conifer where it was renovated. Then in 2006, it moved further west to its current location.
To learn more about Kenosha Pass trails, visit https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/kenosha-pass-north. To learn more about Coney Island Boardwalk, visit https://www.facebook.com/ConeyBailey/. To learn more about the Sasquatch Outpost, visit https://www.sasquatchoutpost.com.