2020 was a rough year for all of us, Rocky included. First, the park was closed for weeks in the spring due to the pandemic. Then it closed again for 15 days in October and November due to forest fires. In all, nearly 30,000 acres of the park burned. It was absolutely devastating to watch… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Twin Sisters Peak
Above tree line is one of my favorite places to be. I love the panoramic views and the tiny plants and the beautiful desolation of the tundra. Tree line here in Colorado is around 11,600-11,800 feet; above that elevation, you can generally expect to find either an endless jumble of rocks or a vast expanse of tundra. As there are well over 1200 mountains that exceed this elevation, there is quite a bit of tundra!
Judging by the name, one might assume this hike would pass by Missouri Lakes en route to Fancy Pass before looping back to the trailhead… which is somewhat accurate. You do hike past the Missouri Lakes. And you do climb Fancy Pass. And also Missouri Pass. Plus, you hike to Fancy Lake and Treasure Vault… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Missouri Lakes-Fancy Pass Loop
No matter where you are in the Colorado Rockies, there’s always that one person who manages to make it up a terribly rough dirt road in their sedan. My Colorado readers can verify this. Wherever you go, the trailhead parking lot will be filled with trucks and SUVs … and either a Prius or a Corolla.
Autumn in Colorado is never going to be the same as autumn on the east coast. We just don’t have as many trees that turn so many vibrant shades of color. But we do have cottonwoods and aspens and willows, all of which turn yellow… usually some time around mid-September. As we probably should have expected, given the utter chaos that was 2020, the status of Colorado’s fall colors was thrown into question when the mountains got a dusting of snow at the end of August. And then another storm rolled in immediately after Labor Day weekend and dumped up to 14 inches of snow. The cold and snow – coupled with the previous two months of drought – meant we were now at risk of the trees turning from green straight to brown. But all hope was not lost.
Sometimes, bucket list items are completely overhyped tourist traps. And sometimes, they’re more than worth the hype. The Four Pass Loop is one of the latter. We’ve seen a lot of incredible places and done a lot of amazing things since moving to Colorado, but this one is definitely near the top of my list.… Continue reading Colorado Bucket List: Backpacking the Four Pass Loop
Summer 2020 hiking season was abruptly and heartbreakingly interrupted in mid-August, thanks to four large, rapidly spreading wildfires that prompted many closures and blanketed Colorado with thick smoke. Just as firefighters began to make significant progress, the west coast caught fire and the smoke from those states was blown all the way to Colorado and… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Heart Lake
Pat and I could stay in Colorado for the rest of our lives (personally, I have few objections to this!) and probably never run out of places to backpack in Rocky. There are so many options. I haven’t actually counted, but I’m fairly certain that at least ¾ of the trails in the park extend… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Lion and Snowbank Lakes
Due to the pandemic, entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park was a little more complicated in 2020. In addition to a fee or pass, one needed to reserve a timed entry permit. This allowed the park to reduce the number of visitors and spread them evenly throughout the day to better facilitate social distancing. Plenty… Continue reading Colorado Summits: Lily Mountain
A vast majority of Colorado’s state parks are in the plains or foothills in the general vicinity of Denver. Many of them – especially the ones on the plains – are centered around bodies of water and geared toward water sports. They’re also crowded since they’re so close to a high population area. Because of… Continue reading Colorado State Parks: State Forest