DIRECTIONS: From Bailey, CO drive 10.8 miles west on Highway 285 to Grant, CO. Turn right (north) on Guanella Pass Road. Drive 6.6 miles to the turnoff for Geneva Park campground and Duck Creek Picnic Ground. From the turnoff, go 3.25 miles to the Shelf Lake Trailhead. The last 3.25 miles are rough road, high clearance SUV or 4WD required.
If you want to explore the upper reaches of Geneva Park and looking for a nice easy hike, then check out this portion of the South Park Trail. This portion is great for kids and adults alike. Getting to the trailhead is harder than the hike but don't let that stop you. This is a beautiful area and the trail sees less traffic than the more popular hikes in the area, such as the hike up to Shelf Lake.
From the Shelf Lake Trailhead and parking area, cross the road to find the South Park Trailhead. The South Park Trail is a very long trail connecting Guanella Pass to the valley below. The trail weaves through Geneva Park and this hike descriptions follows just a small portion of the trail to a scenic pond and a second pond that is only a seasonal (usually dry) pond.
The hike starts by crossing an open meadow with beautiful views of the peaks at the head of the valley up near Guanella Pass. Quickly, the trail enters the pine forest and crosses Geneva Creek at a foot bridge. From here the trail heads south and rambles gently through nice forest for a little more than half a mile to the pond. The best views from the pond are from the southern shore with some peaks popping up in the distance.
If you continue along the South Park Trail you'll soon reach the second pond which was dry in May, leading me to believe that the pond is typically dry, still a nice spot to visit and a good turnaround point. That being said you can follow the South Park Trail south for another 10 miles before it ends.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
South Park Trail
(Geneva Park to Ponds)
Pike National Forest
Date Hiked: May 30, 2020
Distance: 1.8 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 100 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,966 to 10,050 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.55947, -105.76235
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service