tina on mount ida

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Mount Ida

  • Mount Ida
  • Distance:  9.6 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 2.388 ft
  • Other: Fee Required, No Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

Where to Stay

While I generally travel a lot, in the summer I stick to Colorado for the amazing hiking.  As a result, I planned a few days of hiking near Grand Lake and in Rocky Mountain National Park with my friend Tina who drove in from New Mexico. Miraculously, we secured a cabin last minute at the historic Grand Lake Lodge which was perfect.

inside mad creek barn

Eight Great Hikes in Steamboat Springs

Having been to Steamboat Springs a handful of times over the last several years, I have accumulated a list of hikes from easy to moderate that are great for most visitors.  The hikes range from 0.5 miles to 8+ miles and the majority are easily accessible.

The trails are listed below:

view from summit of Pennsylvania Mountain

Happy Hiking: Pennsylvania Mountain

  • Pennsylvania Mountain
  • Distance:  4.7 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,341 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

Pennsylvania Mountain is a 13,000 foot mountain located near Fairplay, Colorado.  Access to the trail head is via a well graded dirt road. When I arrived early on a Saturday morning, I was the first car in the cul-de-sac parking area.


Happy Hiking: Shrine Ridge Trail

  • Shrine Ridge Trail
  • Distance:  4 miles (6.6 if adding on additional trail)
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 961 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed, Dirt Road to Trailhead
  • All Trails Link

Shrine Ridge Trail is located off Shrine Pass Road in the White River National Forest near Vail, Colorado.  Though dirt, Shrine Pass Road from I-70 is easily navigable to the dirt parking lot complete with pit toilets.  Tanya and I arrived just before 8am on a Thursday and there were only a few other cars.

view of blue lake

Happy Hiking: Little Blue Lake

  • Little Blue Lake
  • Distance:  6.2 miles (but we hiked closer to 8)
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,411 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • AllTrails Link

After thoroughly enjoying my hike to Lake Isabelle last week despite parking challenges and a failed off trail excursion, I returned to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.  This time, with my friend Colin and my National Parks card in hand.


The High Line Canal: Segments 8-11

Continuing our journey to cycle the entire High Canal Trail, Nancy and I set out on a Sunday evening to complete segments 8-11, approximately 20 miles.  Parking for the beginning of Segment 8 at mile 20.5 is on neighborhood streets near Horseshoe Park.  While the High Line Conservancy guide suggests parking at S Elati St., we followed Google maps to Horseshoe Park in Littleton (not Aurora).  The directions led us to a cul-de-sac next to the trail entrance.

old engine at Fredonia mine

Happy Hiking: Fredonia Gulch Trail

  • Fredonia Gulch Trail
  • Distance:  4.5 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,341 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

I have recently been on a kick to hike to lakes as I find the beauty of the lakes peaceful and the challenge rewarding.  Today, however, I changed up the scenery.  After a few days of longer hikes, I wanted something short.  With it being the weekend, I also looked for a trail less traveled.  While staying at our family cabin near Bailey, Colorado, I searched for nearby options on All Trails. 


Happy Hiking: Hunt Lake

  • Hunt Lake Trail
  • Distance:  7 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,945 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

Hunt Lake Trail is located in the San Isabel National Forest near Salida, Colorado.  As I mentioned in my previous post about Kroenke Lake, both Salida and Buena Vista are great towns to visit while exploring the surrounding wilderness area that feature some of Colorado’s famous 14ers.

kroenke lake

Happy Hiking: Kroenke Lake Trail

  • Kroenke Lake Trail
  • Distance:  9.3 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,673 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed, Rough Road to Trailhead
  • All Trails Link

Kroenke Lake lies in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and is just a short drive from Buena Vista.  Buena Vista and Salida are wonderful small towns to visit while exploring this amazing wilderness area chock full of Colorado’s famous 14ers

lake isabelle

Happy Hiking: Lake Isabelle

  • Lake Isabelle
  • Distance:  8.6 miles RT (7.6 from where I started)
  • Type: Moderate, Out-and-Back
  • Elevation Gain: 950 ft
  • Other: Toilets Available, Dogs Allowed

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

I have been wanting to hike to Lake Isabelle for a long time.  For some reason, however, I only think about it in the winter time when the gate is closed which requires many extra miles along the road.  Finally, I timed my hike to coincide with opening day at Brainard Lake Recreation Area.