Rowena Down and Back
Best for: Easy hiking, cool hiking on hot days, snowshoeing and cross country skiing in winter.
This relatively easy trail is actually an historic road from the gold rush days of the late 1800's. It is known as the "Rowena Trail" because it connects Sunshine with what was then the town of Rowena located at the base on Left Hand Canyon. It is more properly called the Highland Road, and many locals still use that name. During Sunshine's hay days, the Highland Road was the main road from the west, bringing mail to Sunshine and then to Boulder. The round trip is 3.9 miles, with a 385 foot ascent from Left Hand Canyon.
To access the trail, make your way to the Sunshine Saddle. The trail starts at the vehicle gate to the west of the Saddle. This trail is a favorite for snow shoeing and cross country skiing in the winter, as it is on the north side of Butzel and heavily shaded and the slope is great for cross country skiing. It is also a summer favorite for its cool shade. The trail is a steady, easy decline for just under two miles to another vehicle gate at Left Hand Canyon. So, you round trip will be just under two miles. As you descend, you'll have good views of Left Hand Canyon and several mitigated mine entrances. There are mine entrances, "glory holes" and mine building debris all along the trail, so there is a real sense of local history dating to the days when Sunshine had thousands os residents. Look up as you ascend your way back, for great views of Boulder Heights above and to the left. Watch out for cyclists in the summer. The trail has been "discovered" by mountain bikers connecting loops from Gold Hill, Lee Hill and Sunshine Canyon.