Roadtrip to the Rockies: Lake Katherine

Sometimes in my blog posts I flip flop between stories and information.  I find when I google something, I am usually looking for an answer to a question, thus I try to write informatively.  Other times, however, the experience was just too good to pass up.  Our hike to Lake Katherine was just that.  We laughed so hard, we were likely a nuisance to anyone seeking solitude.  Soooo sorry to you folks!


Roadtrip to the Rockies: Thunderhead Trail

  • Thunderhead Trail
  • Distance:  3.3 miles (longer on map provided by the ski mountain)
  • Type: Moderate, Point to Point
  • Elevation Gain: 1,322 ft
  • Other: Toilets Available, Dogs Allowed, Parking Fee, Gondola Fee (uphill only)
  • All Trails Link

Thunderhead Trail is the most popular hiking route on Mount Werner, the ski mountain in Steamboat Springs.  The point to point trail travels 3.3 miles from the base of the mountain to the summit. 

inside mad creek barn

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Mad Creek Trail

  • Mad Creek Trail
  • Distance:  8.8 miles RT
  • Type: Moderate, Out-and-Back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,322 ft
  • Other: Toilets Available, Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

Mad Creek Trailhead is located about 15 minutes northwest of downtown Steamboat Springs in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area.  It is a very good trail for visitors from lower elevation as it only gains 1,322 feet over 4.4 miles which makes for a gradual grade.

view from uranium mine trail

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Uranium Mine Trail

  • Uranium Mine Trail
  • Distance: 3.1 Miles RT
  • Type: Moderate, Out-and-Back
  • Elevation Gain: 593 ft
  • Other: $5 Parking Fee, Toilets Available, Dogs Allowed
  • All Trails Link

For our first afternoon in Steamboat Springs, we selected a short, moderate hike in order to acclimate to the altitude as my visiting friends came from sea level.  The Uranium Mine Trail begins just down the road from the upper parking area for Fish Creek Falls.


Emerald Mountain on Thanksgiving

What better way to make room for Thanksgiving calories than to hike up to the quarry at Emerald Mountain in Steamboat! I followed the snowpacked road to its summit with no need for snowshoes or microspikes now that I have some new hiking boots from North Face. Anyone with a narrow foot should try North Face boots!


Emerald Mountain is clearly a place for locals to go exercise and socialize. Some folks were running the trail while others were letting their dogs run free. I don’t recommend this location for any hiker who is afraid of dogs. There were more dogs than people, none of which were obeying the “leash law.” I got to greet several happy mutts!


The Emerald Mountain area offers a network of trails, though it was a bit hard for me to figure out all the options, so I followed Blackmer Drive almost two miles to a spectacular view of the town of Steamboat and it’s snow covered, ski slopes.


Afterward, I got to dive into turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and a variety of pies with my family and friends. I doubt if I burned as many calories as I ate, but at least I exercised a little. Happy Thanksgiving to all. ETB


The Rockies: Sights of Steamboat Springs

A few days in Steamboat Springs offered a variety of fun activities from hiking to tennis and paddle boarding at Catamount to dining out at a choice of restaurants to simply relaxing with friends and family.

My visit started with a hike to Gold Creek Lake along trail #1150. Ellen recalled the hike being mostly flat and pretty. The book of hikes in the area reported the roundtrip was just over six miles. It sounded like a perfect adventure for both of us as six miles is my favorite distance and Ellen needed a flat hike due to a problem with her achilles tendon.

Upon leaving the house, Gary asked if we had our hiking poles since it was “hilly”. I suppose I should have read the description in the book and noticed the 1,000 feet of elevation gain so Ellen didn’t have to suffer through the incline. Certainly none of the hike was difficult, but with an injury that is aggravated when walking up hill, this may have not been the best choice. To Ellen’s credit, with a few times resting her ankle, we followed the lovely trail beneath aspens, pines, and across the creek as we admired wildflowers all the way to a breathtaking lake where we enjoyed our lunch. Our trek down was much faster on this clear day, one of the few we have had this summer.

On Monday, we took a break from hiking and spent the day at Catamount, Steamboat’s Country Club. Ellen and I played tennis with my sister-in-law, Katie, and my niece and nephew, Sam and Mollie. It was so much fun! Tennis may have to replace my recent soccer void. After lunch, we tried out paddle boarding. It was my first time. Nice to try…glad I did it…but not my thing. While we played, my brother Bart was at work and Gary worked on projects at the house as well as dinner. It’s nice that he enjoys cooking, so we got to enjoy a nice dinner on the deck.

My final day in Steamboat called for rain. All morning was overcast and cool. We chose a short hike to Lake Dinosaur. I think it took longer to drive to the trailhead, which is unmarked, on the rough 4-wheel drive road than it did to walk the 0.75 miles to the lake. I’m told on the drive up, it is not uncommon to spot a deer, bear or moose. Today, however, the animals were elusive. They must have been hiding from the looming storm. I think we spotted a chipmunk and a bird.

On the other hand, the meadows of wildflowers were absolutely magnificent! Reds, whites, purples and yellows popped on the lush green slopes. The marshy trail crossed the flat grassy area, making it an easy stroll to the tranquil lake. After a short time by the water, we returned to the car and prepared for a bouncy descent back to the house. What a nice end to a lovely visit to Steamboat Springs! ETB


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.


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