Day 7 of our trip found us at Bob’s place again for breakfast before we headed out to drive the Hagerman Pass Trail. The trail starts just outside Leadville and crosses the divide towards Basalt. The road mostly follows an old railroad grade including the remains of a train tunnel. The tunnel was completed in 1885 to cross the continental divide between Leadville and Aspen. At one time, a massive wooden trestle was located near the tunnel to switchback trains up the elevation to the tunnel. The trail itself wasn’t anything difficult, but there were several pretty sections as we climbed high above the Turquoise Reservoir towards the tunnel site.
The kids enjoyed wandering around the old tunnel site, but were a touch disappointing to find out that we wouldn’t be seeing any trains come through the tunnels. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect with the “historical” parts of our trips and them, but that’s to be expected when you’re working with a 5 and 3 year old 🙂
We didn’t grab many photos of the pass as the wind picked up and the temperature had dropped. I made the required stop for a photo op by the pass sign.
The trip back down the mountain has some nice views as well.
In order to avoid driving the long way around back through Basalt and Aspen, we used our trusty old school paper map to find a more direct back roads route. We followed Frying Pan Road to the Eagle-Thomasville Road. This route took us through several scenic valleys and past Sylvan Lake State Park.
Eventually we landed in the town of Eagle at yet another charming playground. They must just grow naturally out here. The kids wiggled around while I aired up the tires of the truck.
After giving the kids a needed break from their car seats, we headed over to Gore Range in Edwards for dinner with my folks. Good food, but the service was lacking a touch and the prices were a little high.
After dinner we headed out to see the Ford Gardens in Vail which I never knew existed. These gardens are the world’s highest botanical gardens located at 8,200 ft. They had a kid’s play area and nice walking paths. The best part is that it is free! I’m glad we got a chance to go through it as it was quite lovely. Even my son was exclaiming how beautiful it was!
Once we explored all the lovely the things the garden had to offer, we made sure to finish wearing out the kids by visiting, you guessed it, another playground attached to the gardens complex.
The rest of the evening was low key as we packed up and prepared to head further west the next day.