Hiking the Shoshone Trail at Pinewood Reservoir in Colorado
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.