Category Archives: RMNP Hiking

Mount McHenry And Ribbon Falls In Rocky Mountain National Park



I took this photograph while on a hike a few weeks ago…before all of the snow! It as a glorious day and just perfect weather. Ribbon Falls is still in the shade a bit, but I think you can see it with Mount McHenry in the background.

Since then, the mountains have gotten hit with a ton of snow and cold temperatures. But I thought I’d post this one anyway. It was such a pretty day. I guess it’ll be a snowshoe hike now until next spring!

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Old Man Mountain In Estes Park Looks Beautiful In The Fall With The Golden Colors



Old Man Mountin is impressive any time of the year. But in the fall, the golden colors make it even more beautiful. You can see the silouette of the “Olds Man’s” face at you look up.

The stories that go along with Old Man Mountain and the Native Americans in this part of the country are amazing. I wrote one about a year ago here on my Blog. Old Man Mountain was very revered as a place that the Native Americans used to have their vision quests. Today it’s a great place to go for a hike…. the views on top are incredible!

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Hike To Dream Lake In RMNP Is Beautiful This Time Of Year



The hike to Dream Lake is picturesque and at any time of year. You hike past Nymph Lake which also has beautiful views of Hallett Peak in the distance. From there you hike to Dream Lake and then on to Emerald Lake or Lake Haiyaha, if you like. They are all beautiful and not too difficult.

A  short distance before you get to Dream Lake, there is a small stream with a bridge over it. This photograph is taken right past the bridge. I just loved the view with the vivid colors.

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Do You Say Anything Or Just Walk Away?



Yesterday was a beautiful day in the mountains.  Totally blue sky, warm temperatures (for this time of the year) and no clouds in the sky.

We decided to go to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park and hike up to Flattop Mountain (12,200′).   RMNP has been hammered by snow this season and it is a great start for a long and enjoyable snowshoeing and skiing winter.  Last year the wasn’t the same amount of snow until the beginning of March!  There was up to 2-3 feet of snow on the trail.

Hiking is similar to sea kayaking.  With sea kayaking you dress for the possible immersion in the water.  If the temperature is 80 degrees (air temperature) and the water temperature is 58 degrees, you dress for the water temperature.   You do not go out with just a bathing suit and a t-shirt as that is a recipe for a possible catastrophe.

The temperature early in the morning was 38 degrees as we wore goretex jackets, fleece, boots, gloves, etc.  We brought along our crampons, poles, walkie talkies and other important gear. We didn’t see anyone until the Dream Lake overlook.  The couple was from Nashville and was dressed properly for the occasion.  They seemed to have all the important gear with them and I applauded them under my breath.

But unfortunately, that was the only time we passed hikers that were prepared.  Here are some of the people we passed yesterday:
1. A couple of people were wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
2.  Numerous people didn’t even carry water or enough water.
3. Numerous people were just in sneakers.
4. One person was hiking with no shirt on.
5. Groups of people didn’t even have any food with them.
6. One person even had an ironed, short-sleeve work shirt on.
7. Some people were hiking wearing cotton shirts.
8. And the list goes on and on.

We learned our lesson a while ago when we mentioned to some kayakers that they were not prepared for any danger that might occur on the water.  Since then, we have not said a word.  And yesterday was no exception. We knew that we were prepared and that is all that mattered.

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It’s Amazing What You Can See On The Trail…If You Are Looking!



We have hiked up the Cub Lake Lake many times over the past few years. It’s  beautiful hike…not too long and not too difficult and very pretty. Two summer ago when I was participating in the Rocky Mountain Nature Association’s Teacher workshop, a naturalist led all of the students on that same hike. Wow! What I didn’t know!

He introduced us to stories of how the meadows were formed by the glaciers, how the rocks were deposited there, and then proceeded to identify just about every flower, shrub, tree, bird and animal on the trail. His knowledge was incredible. Now I try to carry a flower, tree and bird identification book with me when I go out.

As we were passing a grove of aspen trees that I’ve passed many times before, he said,  “Now look at that tree. Do you see anything unusual about it?” We all looked and one of the guys said, “There’s bear claw marks on the tree. Maybe he was trying to escape from something.” When we looked up, there were tracks of where the bear clawed his way up the aspen tree.

On our last hike, I stopped and took some pictures of the bear claw marks. Now I try to really keep my eyes open and try to take in everything I can on a hike. I’m not sure if I’d ever had noticed those marks if they hadn’t been pointed out to me.

So, keep your eyes open and your ears open and learn as much as you can when you hike or even when you take a walk. You’ll be amazed at what you might have missed! And it’s so much fun to learn a new flower or tree. I bet you can’t identify all of the flowers or trees where you live!

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It Was A Great Day For Hiking Up Cub Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.



PT and I went for a great hike yesterday on Cub Lake Trail. The forecast was to be in the 50s with no rain in sight. The wind had died down here at the house but we know by now that  weather conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park are sometimes very different. We did bring all of our winter gear….just in case!

When we got to the trail-head, which is about 10 minutes from our home, the winds were howling and it was cold. We were the only car there. We bundled up in our fleece and Gore Tex jackets, with mittens and hats and set out. It was a glorious day, full of bright sunshine and we were ready for a  good hike. Cub Lake Trail is one of the most diversified of all of the trails in the park. You go through meadows, across a river where you might see an American Dipper, along the old glacier field dotted with thousands of huge balancing rocks and sometimes many elk, through the pine trees, through the aspen trees and on up to Cub Lake.

If you’re lucky, you might even see a moose…we didn’t yesterday. It got warm hiking up the incline but once we got to the lake, we zipped up again as the wind was ripping across the water. The mountains were white with snow covering them. They’ve gotten really hammered in the past week. It was a short stop, just enough to take some photographs and then we headed back down. It was such a beautiful day and a great day for a hike…we were glad that the winds didn’t scare us away.

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There’s Snow In The Mountains In Rocky Mountain National Park!




What a difference from one week to the next! Last weekend we were still wearing shorts and t-shirts, marveling at how beautiful the weather has been and what a gorgeous extended summer we were having! Last year at this time we had already had 2 significant snowfalls. So far this year the temperatures were still in the 70s during the daytime. Not bad for the beginning of October.

And then on Friday, the weather changed. It is still beautiful but we turned  the heat on in the house with temps at night in the 30s and 40s and in the daytime in the 60s. We got out the  jeans and jackets. What a difference a week makes!

Phil and I took a ride into the park to see the snow in the mountains. You can see that it is still autumn at the bottom but definitely winter at the top!

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Hiking Black Lake Trail In Rocky Mountain National Park On A Warm, Fall Day



My friend Debbie had talked about hiking the Black Lake Trail for a couple of years so we decided to hike it last week. It was a gorgeous day with the temperatures in the 70s. How often can you hike in shorts in October? Plus the aspens were in full color so it couldn’t get much better.

We started our hike about 7:30am, hoping to get  a parking spot in the Glacier Gorge parking lot. It was a beautiful hike up to Alberta Falls and then up to Mills Lake. It surprised us that the sun was so low already in the sky. It didn’t really get up over the mountain until after noon. We decided to take many of our pictures on the way back down.

The hike is 9.8 miles round trip and very pretty. What I had forgotten were all of the steps. Debbie kept saying, “Boy, there are a lot of steps!” Yes, there were a lot! We stopped at Mills Lake which is 2.5 miles for a little rest and a snack. The lake is just beautiful with many reflections. Then we headed up past Jewel Lake and hiked through the meadows and up more steps. The Ribbon Waterfall near Black Lake was cascading down but still  in a dark shadow. The sun hadn’t gotten that high yet.

We hiked up the last and steepest steps and reached Black Lake. It looks like it was carved out by a huge glacier with the majestic mountains as a backdrop. It really is spectacular!

Wanting another little rest and some fuel, we had lunch by the side of the lake and gazed at the gorgeous scenery around us. We talked about all of the diverse trails in Rocky Mountains National Park and how lucky we were to live nearby.

The hike down was much easier and we were glad we had our hiking poles to help with those hundreds of steps! What a perfect day with perfect weather!


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The Aspens On The Trail Up To Alberta Falls And Mills Lake In RMNP Last Week Were Spectacular!



The golden aspens on the trail up to Alberta Falls and Mills Lake were spectacular last week. They were in peak color and just beautiful. They made a golden canopy above the trail that was so pretty, I just had to take a picture!

We couldn’t believe that we were hiking in shorts and a t-shirt in October…what awesome weather!

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The Colorado State Flower, The Columbine, Is Still Blooming On The Black Lake Trail In RMNP



I was hiking up Black Lake Trail on Tuesday when I saw a field of wildflowers. I couldn’t believe it! There were Columbine, Senecio, Bistort, Asters and Indian Paintbrush. I was pretty close to Black Lake so the elevation must’ve been  about 10,000 feet. I thought that the wildflowers that high had died weeks ago.

The wildflowers were all nestled against a rock wall that was pretty high and pretty wet but in the shade for most of the day. It was just such a treat to see these beautiful wildflowers blooming in October!


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