The Rockies: Hiking Tanglewood Trail to Roosevelt Lakes

Despite reading the description of the trail and having hiked parts of the Tanglewood trail before, I didn’t realize what I was signing up for today. I don’t know if my legs weren’t fully recovered from the MS150 ride last week or if starting out with a slight headache is what made this 11 mile route with 2,700 feet of elevation gain in four miles so hard. Usually we average about a 25 minute pace uphill…we averaged a 25 minute pace downhill today!!

The first part of the trail was fairly flat, though rocky, and crossed the creek several times. As I mentioned I’ve hiked this part a few times with some folks some Texas at a much slower pace, taking pictures, looking for geocaches, and dragging the ole mutts along. Today, we had more of a mission to make it to the lakes, though I did declare before we set out I wanted to take some photos so we’d be hiking at a slower pace today, but I don’t think I could have gone faster if I tried.

The wild flowers were out in force. They were glorious…wild rose, blue columbine, and all sorts I don’t know the names of, so I got several breathers on the flatter portion of the trail for photo taking. After about three miles, the trail crossed the creek a final time and started switch backing up the mountain beneath the pines. The switchbacks were quite steep and rather strenuous. We saw some brush and came out into an open area excited to be in what we thought was “the meadow” we read about. The problem was the trail continued straight up the side of the mountain with hardly any switchbacks. ┬áThis is where I really needed the breathers!!

I said to Justin and Kristin, my fellow hardcore hiking friends, “Since when is the definition of a meadow, a steep incline?” Then I realized we hadn’t reached the saddle yet and we weren’t to the meadow…we were still hiking the “so-called switchbacks”. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, or the top of the ridge…a flat meadow!! Here we crossed from the Pike National Forest to the Arapahoe National Forest which was marked by a wooden cairn.

We descended slightly for half a mile to Roosevelt Lakes, two alpine lakes above the tree line where we sat and enjoyed a leisurely lunch, keeping our eyes peeled for mountain goats and also watching the storm that was rolling in. As the wind picked up, we packed up, found the trail, and stayed just ahead of the rain all the way down the mountain. The views were amazing, the flowers beautiful, and the weather….well frankly a little humid for Colorado…haha! Actually, I’ve been wanting to do that full hike for a while now, so I’m glad we pulled it out. I do my first fourteener next week, so it was good practice!