Zack and I arrived at the trail head in a fine mood around 9:40. I hoped for a warm hike and dressed accordingly – in shorts! I chose to be more cautious with Zack and dressed him in sweats. The hike down into the canyon itself is pretty quick. You lose a lot of elevation very quickly. Within 45 minutes we had reached the canyon bottom and were exploring the ruins of the dam. Zack found it amazing to look at construction of the dam and to observe how the massive rocks had been put in place. After a short snack at the dam we moved onto to the longest part of hike. We were on the western side of Cherry Creek and the trail led us through groves of aspens and pine trees. The canyon at places is very deep and the sides are very steep. The trail for the most part is perched above the steepest slopes. At various points throughout the canyon there are falls that tumble the water downward with a loud roaring sound. At other places you can see the remains of summertime floods that have washed debris high up the canyon wall.
After about 3.5 miles of serious hiking we reached the bridge at the far northern end of the canyon. We traversed the bridge and then began the painstaking processing of climbing back up to the rim of the eastern side of the canyon. There were countless switchbacks and the climb was tiring. Finally we made it to the top and we were rewarded with wonderful views up and down the entire canyon. By this time Zack was starting to get tired and it took some cajoling to keep him going. But he was determined to make it to the end as this hike would be a new “longest” Zack hike.