Hike of the Month - Picnic and Wading Pools on the St. Charles
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I took dozens of pictures on the short hike from the western edge of San Isabel Lake, up the St Charles River, and through the picnic area. This shady hike is easy enough for children and a great place to explore the variety of wading pools along the way. Many of the pools are foot-friendly with soft gravel bottoms, but water shoes would make the day even better.
Pack a lunch or grab a sandwich at the Lodge and follow the boat ramp down to lakes edge; at the ramp go right and follow the sunny path around the lake to the west. As you reach the west edge you will find a trail leading into the forest to your right. Continue through the park until you hear the river just in front of you and stay to the right of the river. The trail will end and require an easy cross of the river about 500 feet up, with the trail picking up again on the other side of the river.
From this point, let the kids (or the dog) pick the path and the wading pools. The cool water will get plenty of attention but the length of the trail to several well-placed picnic trails is short so there is no need to hurry.
Two foot bridges will cross the river along the way and both sides of the river offer clean picnic spots including fire pits at some points. Near the top of the trail watch for a beautiful natural staircase worth several photos. There is also a nearly waist deep pool at this point, which easily became my destination for the day.