Old Kiln Trail Date: 11/1/2010 Difficulty: Moderate Miles: 5.5 miles oneway to Lower Ribbon Trail Trailhead Rating: Time: 3.5 hrs Type: In-out/Shuttle Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 38°59’35.78″N, 108°37’29.34″W
The old Kiln Trail is located about a ¼ mile above the Mica Mine trailhead. The limited information that I have been able to find on the trail indicates that it is a casualty of the BLM’s budget cuts and has been abandoned. There is still a sign indicating the Old Kiln Trail and a BLM trailhead marker but that’s about where any maintenance ends.
The trail begins by bearing left once you step through the fence and continues to follow an old road for a short distance. There are some decent views of the grand valley through this section. About one hundred yards or so there is a branch in the road that breaks off to the right. This little offshoot just leads up to a knoll where there are a number of old fire pits and old cans then circles around and back to the main trail. Once you get to the end of the road, the trail turns into an actual “trail” and begins weaving its way through the trees and works it way down into a small gully.
Once you get down into the gully there is a small expanse of slick rock. The trail disappears in this are but if you follow the slick rock straight down you will pick the trail up once again. From the looks of it, the trail appears to be used very little. Some sections of the trail all but disappears but if you look close you can kind of see where it is suppose to be. When I went on it there were one set of footprints that I followed until they turned around.
The trail basically follows a small bench along a fairly large canyon. As you near the end of the ridge your options become fairly limited. Small ridge or bench you have been following becomes a very narrow slickrock section that terminates between a cliff edge and a fairly steep hillside. Unless I missed something farther up the actual trail ends here.
Since I had only gone about a mile and wanted to go longer I decided to climb the hillside to the right and follow the higher ridge on down. From this point on there is no trail. I was able to find some old game trails to follow most of the way down but even those came and went.
My route took me farther down the hill and closer to civilization. The good thing about this section is that you can only go up or down and not left or right because there is a canyon on each side of you. Eventually I came to the junction of the two canyons and figured I would need to turn around. As I stood surveying the area I spotted an actual highly used trail in the bottom of the canyon. Looking around I figured if I went down the left or western portion of the ridge I would be able to climb back up because it wasn’t quite as steep of the other sections. I had to carefully pick and choose my route over to the other trail by going a short distance up the right hand canyon and crossing the gully there then making my way to the trail.
Once on the new trail I followed it as it climbed out of the canyon and followed another ridge down the hill where I finally realized I was on the Ribbon Trail. It eventually climbed out of the canyon and terminated on Little Park Road.
Once I verified where the trail went I decided to turn back and follow the path I took down back up. Overall, the hike was decent, it would not take much at all to connect the actual trail to the Ribbon Trail at the bottom. I think what would make for a good hike would be to branch off the Ribbon Trail at the bottom and follow the Old Kiln Trail, cross Little Park Road and drop off into Ladder Canyon and connect to the Mica Mine and Rough Canyon trails. Maybe someday they will do that.