Pat and I haven’t had a lot of luck with this hike. The first time, in August 2018, we began our hike under blue skies, but as soon as we sat down at Lake Helene to eat a snack it began to rain. Between the precipitation and the low-hanging clouds obscuring the mountains, it wasn’t… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Two Rivers Lake & Lake Helene
Colorado Day Hikes: Butler Gulch
Colorado has turned me into a winter person. I swore that would never happen, but it appears I was wrong. Growing up in Montana, I never liked winter. It's cold and dark and lasts way too long. Then I moved to Washington for college and, in addition to cold and dark, winters there are humid… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Butler Gulch
Colorado Day Hikes: Lower Coney Lake
Lower Coney Lake, located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado, is beautiful. Getting there was awful. This was partly due to weather and partly due to the fact that, all in all, this was not my best day on the trail. My friend Savannah, her husband Blake, and I arrived at Beaver Reservoir around… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Lower Coney Lake
Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Wind River/Glacier Basin Loop
Normally I’m excited for snowy mountains and frozen alpine lakes and snowshoeing, but this past winter I had trouble locating my enthusiasm. It might have been because winter took its sweet time arriving in Colorado. The mountains ended 2021 with snowpack that was far below normal, and it didn’t actually snow in Denver until December… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Wind River/Glacier Basin Loop
Colorado Day Hikes: Helms Lake (the winter version)
As I’ve spent more time in Colorado and gained more knowledge and confidence in my winter hiking abilities, I’ve begun to push myself harder. I’ve tackled longer and more challenging hikes, and been rewarded with gorgeous snow-covered views and relative solitude. But I’ve also established some limits on just how much I’m willing to challenge… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Helms Lake (the winter version)
Colorado Day Hikes: Lake Isabelle
You know how sometimes you set out for a hike and get a bit too ambitious and then spend the last few miles regretting your ambition? This was one of those hikes. It was a 70°F/21°C day in Denver in early March, which meant it was also an unseasonably warm day up in the mountains.… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Lake Isabelle
Colorado Destinations: Snow Mountain Ranch
February is always a risky time of year to make partially-non-refundable reservations for anywhere in the Colorado Rockies. Weather can change in an instant, closing mountain passes and rendering travel downright dangerous. But our anniversary is in February, so we made the reservation and crossed our fingers and ended up getting pretty lucky. At the… Continue reading Colorado Destinations: Snow Mountain Ranch
Colorado Day Hikes: Kenosha Pass
Welcome to the first post of our 2020 adventures! For us, the decade began with a winter hike along the Colorado Trail at Kenosha Pass. And while both Kenosha Pass and a hike on the Colorado Trail were things I’d been wanting to check off the list for a while, the biggest excitement of this… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Kenosha Pass
Colorado Day Hikes: Mayflower Gulch
This might actually be my favorite winter hike of all time.
My first trip to Mayflower Gulch was with a friend in early 2019; the second visit was actually just this last weekend with Pat. Mayflower Gulch is a beautiful winter destination. The only downfall is that to get there from Denver one must brave the ski traffic on I-70. And boy does it suck.
A comprehensive guide to winter hiking
I never really gave any thought to winter hiking until we moved to Denver. I'd been snowshoeing twice, but that's about it. Here in Colorado, though, there are some truly stunning winter hiking opportunities, so we decided to tackle a new challenge. Before heading out for a hike in winter conditions, there are some additional considerations that aren't a typical part of summer hiking. With lots of help from other people and some of my own research, I've gradually acquired the knowledge and gear necessary to stay warm and safe while winter hiking. That's what I'd like to pass along to you today. We'll talk about necessary and optional gear, choosing an appropriate hike, and what to expect when you're on the trail.