Roadtrip to the Rockies: Green Mountain Trail

Another day of the long holiday weekend equals another hike!  Danelle was game to hike with me on Sunday too, and we decided on Green Mountain Trail in Pike National Forest.

Strangely, we’ve hiked all over this area, including miles of the Colorado Trail, and didn’t know it was here.  We were the first to arrive in the dirt parking lot off Forest Road 550 at 8:30 am.  The trailhead parking is near Buffalo Creek Campground and has pit toilets.

Being July 4th weekend, the area was loaded with campers, so we weren’t sure how busy the normally lightly trafficked trail would be. 

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frosty trees at NCAR

NCAR and Its Hiking Trails

After a very snowy weekend in Denver, I talked my friend Kat into doing approximately a 4-mile hike in Boulder on Tuesday.  The trails at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) seemed like a good option as NCAR doesn’t charge for parking like the smaller surrounding lots do.  In addition, the exhibits at NCAR are sort of interesting.  Too bad this national weather research center doesn’t help out weathermen get the forecast right!

Anyway, while Denver got at least twice as much snow as expected over the weekend, Boulder was spared.  Only three inches fell in the area.  Having four days to melt, we expected we’d see little snow and a lot of mud.

Continue reading “NCAR and Its Hiking Trails”

4 Great Snowshoeing Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

Super Snowshoeing Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a wonderful place to visit anytime of year, but the ability to avoid the ski traffic on I-70 makes it a great place to snowshoe in the winter.  Below are three great snowshoeing trails.

Mills Lake Trail

This 5.3 mile trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular.  We had actually planned to hike farther than Mills Lake, but the sunny forecast was far from accurate.  Instead, a 40 mph sustained wind blew a stingy fresh snow into our face!  So much so, that when we laid eyes on the amazing lake and surrounding peaks, we were happy to stop at the lake and enjoy the scenery. Continue reading “4 Great Snowshoeing Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park”

Segment 25 of the Colorado Trail Closed Due to Wildfires This Summer

Views From Segment 25 of the Colorado Trail (Summer 2017)

So I took four summers to complete the Colorado Trail which I finished a little over a year ago.  This was a very big accomplishment for me and at times I wondered why in the heck I was doing it.  Especially during the final summer when all it did was RAIN!  During these CONSTANT storms last year, we slogged through rain and sleet, took cover from lightning and even aborted one camping trip.  At the same time, we enjoyed SPECTACULAR scenery and wonderful wildflowers.  Some of my favorite segments were in the San Juan Mountain Range.  Segments 24 and 25 were awe-inspiring! Continue reading “Segment 25 of the Colorado Trail Closed Due to Wildfires This Summer”

Road Trip to the Rockies: A Weekend in Aspen

Tanya and I spent a weekend in Aspen to enjoy the fall colors.  Interestingly, all the aspen at 10,000 feet and above were at their peak, while trees at a lower elevation had yet to change.  Since we hiked a bunch, we lucked out and stumbled across amazing color.  Had we been doing a lot of scenic driving, I think the best time for leaf peeping would be this up coming weekend. Continue reading “Road Trip to the Rockies: A Weekend in Aspen”

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Vail

Though I stayed in Breckenridge, I drove over the pass for a hike in Vail.  Most of the hikes in Vail are rated as hard as they tend to be long with significant elevation gain.  I didn’t have all day, as I was meeting some friends in Vail for dinner, so I picked one of the easiest trails I could find.

Bighorn Creek Trail is 6.9 miles and rated as moderate.  The parking, with only about six spots at the trailhead and six spots down the road, was extremely limited especially given no parking is allowed on the road and the trailhead parking is limited three hours.  In addition, I don’t think the regular hiker can finish this trail to the cabin in three hours except perhaps a trail runner.

The moderate rating was a bit of a misnomer though comparative to other hikes in the area, maybe it is correctly ranked.  The dry dirt trail begins with a steep climb and then levels off through a grove of aspen.  A small boulder field and a mountainside of dormant fireweed intermingle with more aspen before the trail begins to climb. Continue reading “Roadtrip to the Rockies: Vail”

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Breckenridge

As a member of the Schussbaumer Ski Club, eventhough I don’t ski, I have a place to stay in Breckenridge during the summertime at their chalet, just a few blocks from downtown.

As such, I headed to the mountains for some hiking.  I settled on McCullough Gulch Trail, a 6.2 mile hike to an alpine lake.

The trail is located off the same road as the popular 14er trail to Quandary Peak, where many cars were parked.  At first, I thought I was going to have to park on the lower part of the road and walk 1.5 miles to the trailhead.  Then I figured out I could pass the popular trailhead and find more parking closer to the McCullough Gulch Trailhead. Continue reading “Roadtrip to the Rockies: Breckenridge”