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Hiking the Shoshone Trail at Pinewood Reservoir in Colorado

Updated on May 31, 2020
Chad Claeyssen profile image

Chad enjoys getting outdoors and loves to share his tips and experiences to help others find great places to hike and camp.

The Shoshone Trail is a two mile hike with great views of the Pinewood Reservoir and surrounding mountains. The trailhead is located approximately twelve miles southwest of Loveland, Colorado.

The Pinewood Reservoir near Loveland, Colorado
The Pinewood Reservoir near Loveland, Colorado

To access the Shoshone Trail, park at the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space parking area. A park entrance permit is needed for the Larimer County Parks in this area, including the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space, Flatiron Reservoir, and Carter Lake area. Permits are available online or at entrance stations near Carter Lake. Permits are not available at the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space.

A brochure with a map and information for a self-guided nature hike are usually available at the parking area. Numbers on posts along the trail correspond to information in the brochure. I recommend downloading a brochure from the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space website if you're interested in it. When I visited last, there were none available at the trailhead.

Walkway across the dam at Pinewood Reservoir
Walkway across the dam at Pinewood Reservoir

To get to the Shoshone trail from the parking lot, walk across the dam via the walkway at the north end of Pinewood Reservoir. The trailhead is near the restrooms. The first section of the trail is moderately difficult. The path is well marked and meanders through pine forests as it winds its way uphill.

Plaque along the Shoshone Trail
Plaque along the Shoshone Trail

When the trail reaches the top of the hill it flattens out and becomes relatively easy. Here the path goes alternately through pine trees and open spaces. Between posts numbered 3 and 4, a plaque on a rock is inscribed with a poem and the names Kay Ramsay, Florence, and Philip Shockey, presumably the people the open space is named for. From this spot a short trail leads to a rocky outcrop and provides a great vantage point above the Pinewood Reservoir.

View of the Pinewood Reservoir from the Shoshone trail
View of the Pinewood Reservoir from the Shoshone trail
Trail sign at Pinewood Reservoir
Trail sign at Pinewood Reservoir

Continuing along the trail you'll hike along the top of the ridge for a half mile or so, and over a small bridge, before starting your decent back towards the lake. The trail follows a fence as it makes its way downhill to the reservoir. A trail map is located at the junction of the Shoshone Trail and the Besant Point Trail at the edge of the reservoir. Make a left turn and walk about a half mile, following the Besant Point Trail along the lake, to complete the loop back to the Shoshone Trailhead. Along the way the trail goes around an inlet called Fisherman's Cove. The cove has a picnic table and provides a relaxing place to take a break and listen to the water rushing out from under the mountain.

*The loop hike can be extended about two miles by turning right, walking along the reservoir to the Blue Mountain Trailhead, and following the road north (left) back to the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space parking area.

Photo of the Pinewood Reservoir from Fisherman's Cove.
Photo of the Pinewood Reservoir from Fisherman's Cove.
Fisherman's Cove at the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space in Colorado
Fisherman's Cove at the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space in Colorado
Shoshone Trail, Loveland, Colorado:
Ramsay-Shockey Open Space, Pole Hill Rd, Loveland, CO 80537, USA

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