Category Archives: Hiking

Mount Morrison

Was suggested this trail by my Ultra Marathon-r gym buddy. I underestimated the butt kicking this thing was!

We weren’t sure where the trail head was and we watched the radio tower as we drove around Red Rocks. Very easy to find actually – entrance 4, walk up a touch, it’s on the left by the no bikes and no horses sign.

There is just a little bit of parking in front of the locked gate. The first part was pretty gross and muddy – and UP!

Our fitbits indicated we did closer to 6 when we finished. We expected 1.5-ish up and then back down.. We did give up about 300 elevation gain up at the end.. I was watching some other fellas need to touch their knee to their nose to climb up. We weren’t prepared and I needed to be somewhere later that day! And i knew it would take some time to get up that last bit!

Verdict:

  • HARD
  • Longer than the indicated
  • View of red rocks is amazing, but you are also under the power lines for a bit!
  • Close to home and the front range

Silver Dollar Trail

One of my favorite trails, always fun to try and figure out when the snow will clear!

This year was one of the latest and flowers were gorgeous!

The first year we did the trail we didn’t make it all the farthest lake. The second time we attempted it, there was so much snow, we didn’t make it past the first lake! This time we got all the way to Murray lake.

Pro tip – if you can drive up to the trail head, you save 1/4 mile and an all up hill 1/4 mile!

The trail is well marked – blue paint on trees, it can be slightly hard to follow in the forrest, but otherwise an easy trail to follow.

The views once you get out of the trees just continue to get prettier and prettier! The 3 lakes, the snow melt that fills the them, the sound of running water all around, so great!

Verdict:

  • Just under 4 miles, my fitbit did not agree.
  • 1000 foot elevation gain
  • It’s a nice trail, and a good upward push with a reward of beauty to eat your lunch at!

James Peak

One of the hardest hikes – ever?

9 miles, 8 hours, 30 mph winds, snowfield to overcome, and a trail that was all unstable rocks! Snap!

We started off “early”, hit the parking lot at 7am to start our adventure. I had extra weight in my pack – at some point, it will feel so wonderful to have a pack with nothing in it! But for now – we train!

Last time i tried this we went the wrong way due to poor instructions. Ugh.

This time I was going to overcome! I had microspikes to get over the snow, layers to deal with the wind… High boots to protect the ankles. Off we go!

This was by far one of the hardest hikes! It took us 2 hours to get up and over the snowfield, then another 3 hours to reach the summit!

Verdict:

  • Documentation says 8 miles, more like 9.
  • Height is 13,200
  • Elevation gain is nearly 3k
  • The wind was insane, check the weather and then listen to the weather!
  • The trail is very intense once you start the uphill portion. Watch your footing and your ankles.
  • Final answer – damn hard

Eldorado Canyon Trail

We decided to give this one a try in early afternoon. We ended up turning around due to fear of lightening… But we gave if the college try and did a good bit of it!

It starts with a significant uphill and seems to continue forever! Eventually you get up and out of the canyon and wow the sights!

Its a nearly 2k foot elevation gain, and i think it is the first few feet, ok miles..

The route goes into the trees and does some up and down toward the “end”

It definitely beautiful!

Verdict:

  • Watch the weather, go when there is no rain or weather
  • The elevation gain is definitely a butt kicker, but you can do it
  • Total mileage is near 7miles

Carpenter Peak

We decided to cross this one off the list before it was too late and hot in the season. It was still probably a little too late, but i’m looking forward to doing it again in the fall and adding the back loop! It’s part of Roxborough State park. There are other shorter option, but none have much shade! All trials info here

We started pretty early – hit the park by 8, 8:15. It was free day, we didn’t know till too late, but apparently the people wanting free, also wanted to sleep in, so we were ushered right through the park and into the first parking lot woot!

Pro tip: bathrooms at the visitor center and very nice, with a sink and soap and hand drier!

We started out just as another large group was getting started. We were a little nervous, but it all worked out and as we took turns passing each other we learned some interesting tidbits!

Verdict:

  • 6.5 miles, 1000 foot elevation gain
  • A nice hike, in direct sun.
  • Add more on in the fall and take a different way back

Herman Gulch

We had done this as “family” a few years ago. I decided to do it again this year as as training hike!

We started pretty early, a smidge before 7am – it was about 45 degrees, and the path was mostly in the shade until our way back down which was great! Don’t worry about too many layers, this was mid july and climbing up that first steep butt kicker gets your heart going and your heat up!

The hike has everything – forest, meadow, alpine rocky and a lake – everywhere you turn it’s a beautiful sight! Totally worth the journey!

The flowers were absolutely stunning this time! Meadows of columbines! So many different colors and types! We saw a lot of people just hiking the first mile to see the flowers

Verdict:

  • 6.5-7 miles, 1700 foot elevation gain, starts at about 10 and ends at 12,130
  • Hard!
  • It is definitely a slog, but you can do it!!
  • The lake at the end was amazing, totally worth the trip, bring a snack and enjoy!
  • Pro tip – porta potty is gross, bring TP
  • All trails link

Another option: You can extend the trip on the continental divide trail. About half a mile from the end there is a split that isn’t signed.

Apex Park – Enchanted Forest via Pick and Sledge Trail

I had had this hike on my list for a while! Finally grabbed a friend and headed there on a Saturday morning! I thought 7:30 was early enough, but i was wrong, there is a ton of the trail that has no shade and it basically all uphill!

Verdict:

Nearly 7 miles

First half is uphill, second is pleasant and in the trees, but there are also some uphills there as well. Fun info on what the area used to be and the cost to move livestock!

Nice hike, close to home, plenty of parking, lots of people and bikes.

Devil’s Firetower

I really enjoy this hike, i’ve done it a couple times and love it each time.

This year i grabbed a friend, and headed out at 6ish! We took a different 9 mile dirt road and found the trail head. We headed off to enjoy the trail! I had my killimanjero backpack on and added my 4lb bag of sugar to add some heft to the jaunt!

We were on of the few groups that started so early, but definitely not the first.

The views were amazing, there was a low covering of fog a nice distance away, it was peaceful and beautiful.

Verdict:

3.2 miles, 800

Nice quick uphill hike, get the lungs going, then 400 steps to the fire tower!

The ranger who mans the fire tower is very sweet and very knowledgeable.

Chief Mountain

We have been doing mileage and sticking to the front range due to the summer taking it’s time arriving in Colorado! We looked at the reviews and decided to hit up Chief Mountain to get some time above 10k feet!

I’ve done this one years ago with the hubby before our first and only hike up a 14er.

We arrived by 9, we knew storms were headed our way by 1, but felt confident we could get up and down in time!

Parking is on the side of the road and you run across traffic to get to the trail head. Get that adrenalin pumping early, right? Just kidding, there is not a ton of traffic on this road, and plenty of sight lines before you cross.

The road up is pleasant, but if you go as late as we did you have to contend with bikers. There is not much shoulder and plenty of blind curves, so be prepared to enjoy the scenery at 5 miles an hour behind a bike at times! Same goes for comming down, but surprisingly they ride those bikes fast on the way down. Too fast for my thin skin!

The hike is pleasant. Starts in the trees, nice incline up. Eventually you come out of the tree line and get to see the beauty that is colorado!

Verdict:

3.1 miles (both our electronic devices said much longer, closer to 4.2 – since the sign says 2 miles to the top after you climb a bit…)

Elevation gain – 984– starting elevation 10,000

The snow was not enough to put on micro spikes, but could be slick at spot!

Views were amazing and the ground squirrels are very pushy!

One of the ground squirrels i dubbed chip

Loch Lake Trail – RMNP

It rained and was icky all week – so we knew hiking normal trails was out, but since the snow still was pretty high in Rocky Mountain National Park we decided to head there with our micro-spikes!

The parking angels shined on us and we got one of the last 4 spots in the parking lot. We had multiple different forecasts depending which app we chose, so I had to borrow a jacket from Suman, and it was windy in the parking lot!

We started off and pretty soon we had to pop on our microspikes. Those helped alot

The trail was well packed most of the time, a bit of an elevation gain along the way. We eventually dropped our heavy layer and kept on trucking. Up past Alberta falls and to the lake. There was definitely a big push to get the final leg to the lake, but it was worth it.

Makes one feel special to be able to live in such an amazing place!

Fun and scary was butt sliding down the hill – definitely left some of the hard part off the knees!

Verdict:

5.7 miles (both our electronic devices said much longer, closer to 7)

Elevation gain – 1072 – starting elevation 9000

Winter conditions was fine with micro spikes

Lake was beautiful, parking could be terrible