Rocky Mountain National Park: Three Hikes for Exercise

Continuing with the stay at home and hike theme of COVID 2020, I recently completed three hikes on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Actually, the summer and the fall are when I stay home in Colorado anyway to enjoy its natural beauty.

I recently took a housesitting job in Longmont on Trusted Housesitters.  As a result, I shortened my drive to Rocky Mountain National Park by 45 minutes, and it only took me about one hour to get to each of the three hikes.

I’d call these trails good for exercise.  What I mean by that is the hikes were either somewhat challenging or easy enough to run, and aside from the final destination, which was beautiful, getting there wasn’t quite as pretty as other hikes I’ve enjoyed this summer.  Consequently, I’d rank them as good hikes to get the heart rate going.

Happy Hiking!

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Fraser

I’m fortunate to have a handful of Denver friends who also have homes and condos in Fraser and Winter Park.  This week I got to join Brad and Angie at their beautiful home in Fraser.  While at Brad and Angie’s, when we weren’t discussing camper vans and photography, we were hiking.  At least Angie and I were, as Brad would rather mountain bike and had to work.

Happy Hiking!

The Highline Canal: Segments 14-17

It’s August, and I haven’t left Colorado since March!  That might be a record for me.  Fortunately I live in a beautiful state that offers a variety of outdoor recreation options.  While I tend to gravitate toward the mountains to hike, occasionally I stick around Denver for a bike ride along the High Line Canal.

My friend Nancy and I have now completed half of the 71 mile High Line Canal.  Our last ride was filled with challenges before we even started, but our ride along Segments 14-17 went very smoothly.  We only had to consult our map a few times, and that was only to verify what we already thought.


Happy Hiking: Woodland Trail

  • Woodland Trail
  • Distance:  10.2 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,263 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

I enjoyed such nice views at Old Baldy yesterday that I returned to the area to hike Woodland Trail to Skycraper Reservoir.  To my surprise, this hike was significantly different from Old Baldy despite beginning just 3 miles south at Hessie Trailhead.

The previous day while driving to Old Baldy, I took note of the Hessie Trailhead parking situation.  Just before 8am on a Thursday, there were a few spots left, so this Friday, I made sure to arrive just before 7:30am.  Many cars lined the road, but I did find a designated spot which is important as illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed!

view from old balddy

Happy Hiking: Old Baldy

  • Old Baldy
  • Distance:  8.3 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,847 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

So just as there are multiple “Blue Lakes” in Colorado, there is more than one “Baldy”.  I decided to tackle the Old Baldy Summit in Roosevelt National Forest near Nederland, Colorado.  The hiking in this area is spectacular, but the parking in this area is atrocious.  As a result, I don’t go as often as I’d like.


Happy Hiking: Winter Park

After three days in Grand Lake with Tina, I met my next guests in Winter Park, an hour away.  Dom and Gary had much farther to drive…from Texas.  Actually, they spent a few days in Vail first, so their drive wasn’t too long either. 

Corona Pass Road

We met up Friday night at my friend’s Beaver Village condo and prepared for a weekend of hikes.  The trailheads to all the hikes we took this weekend are located in Arapaho National Forest on Corona Pass Road.  While the road is just a few minutes down Hwy 40 from Winter Park, getting to the trailheads are somewhat tedious.


Happy Hiking: Watanga Lake

  • Watanga Lake
  • Distance:  7.9 miles
  • Type: Hard, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,522 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

Watanga Lake is located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Arapaho National Forest.  It is named for a Southern Arapaho Chief who lived in the late 1800’s.

I tried hiking to Watanga Lake a year ago in June and there was too much snow to even get to the trail junction.  This year, I waited until late July and hiked the Roaring Fork Trail to the lake with my friend Tina.  This was our third and final hike while visiting Grand Lake.

Tina and I at Bowen lake

Happy Hiking: Bowen Lake

  • Bowen Lake
  • Distance:  9.3 miles
  • Type: Moderate, out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,906 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed
  • AllTrails Link

How to Get to Bowen Lake

Bowen Lake may be reached from two different trailheads.  One trailhead is located in Rocky Mountain National Park and the hike is 16.2 miles.  The other trailhead is located in Arapaho National Forest off of County Highway 455.  The distance from this location to the lake is a more reasonable 9.3 miles.


The High Line Canal: Segments 12-13

Nancy and I ventured out on our next bike ride along the High Line Canal.  As I mentioned in my previous posts, we attempt to ride approximately 20 miles each time.

On our last ride, we slightly overshot our “turn around” location, so we marked our map with the spot where we stopped in order to start there this week.

We were both dragging on Sunday evening and our comedy of errors before our planned start time of 6pm didn’t help matters.  First, Nancy drove off without her bike.  As a result, she was late to our meeting place, the Bataleur Club House.

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.