Escaping The Nutshell
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Here's a loop we sometimes do during the week to stay in shape. Weekends are just too crowded here. Parking at the Centennial Trailhead on Sunshine Canyon Drive, we go down to the Sanitas Trailhead and take the Mount Sanitas Trail for the 1.6 miles to the summit, which is a nice climb of about 1200 feet.
About 100 feet below the summit is the Lions Lair Trail. This trail continues north along the Sanitas Ridge, then turns east, and finally south to meet with Sunshine Canyon Drive. It's the nicest part of the loop, leading through meadow interspersed with ponderosa, with a great view of the Indian Peaks, and with far fewer people on it than the Sanitas Trail.
The Lions Lair Trail eventually ends on Sunshine Canyon Drive, but you don't have to take the road back. About a hundred feet down the road, on the other side near a dumpster, you can pick up the Sunshine Canyon Trail. This trail parallels the road, and is much nicer and safer. It will take you back to the Centennial Trailhead.
Total distance for this hike is about 4.4 miles. The altitude varies from a low of about 5600 feet to a high of about 6800 feet, making a low to high difference of 1200 feet.
Ignore spike at beginning of elevation profile.
© 2012-2015 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos
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