Little did I know I was in for a bit of a surprise when hiking along the trail then suddenly about a little more than a mile in the wooded trail opens up to blue skies and lots of damage and debris. This landslide or washout was due to the immense saturation of rain the state received back in September of 2013 caused flooding throughout the state. I last hiked this trail only a couple months earlier. More on the Colorado flood here.
Crossing in the middle of the landslide, looking down at the damage.
A look up from where the land slide started
From the trail a look at Meeker & Longs Peak.
The trail does continue across the slide as the trail is visible and marked with little orange flags. Once you cross the area the trail then turns steeply on a makeshift social trail that later meets back up with the original trail. Just take your time and follow the flagged trail. You will want to get to the trail head as early as possible as it fills up fast. Count on adding a little more distance to the nearly 7.4 round trip hike depending on where you park.
Great views along the trail and especially at the summit.
OK, I’m playing catchup on a hike or two, so here’s the first one.
It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve hiked the trail up to Twin Sisters. It’s a rugged trail with lots of great views of Long’s Peak and Mt. Meeker along the way. It’s always a heavily used trail as you can tell by the line of cars parked along the road leading to the trailhead. A little more than 3.5 to the summit, 3.7 according to a lot of the websites out there, more if you want to count the walk from your car to the trailhead depending on how far away you have to park. Consider it a little bit of a warmup to the actual hike itself. You should be stretching anyway before and after any hike.
Starting elevation 9000 feet, elevation gain to summit 2428 feet.
The day started out a bit overcast, but as we hiked further up the trail the clouds moved away and sunshine rained supreme for awhile. Once reaching the summit, a few clouds moved in again but not of a threatening kind, so everything was good. All and all another great day to be outdoors! Here are a few photos from the hike, unfortunately for me charging my batteries the night before the hike, didnt last so long, so I only was able to get a couple of shots basically by shutting the camera off and allowing the batteries to rest every few minutes, so I could try to get a good capture. Anyways, enjoy!
A little warmup walk to the trailhead, up the road and around the corner
Closer up, Longs Peak(right) Mt Meeker(left)
Up and behind the hut looking back
Summit reached! 11428 feet
wildflower of some kind
Almost to the summit, you pass this forest service station
Longs Peak and Mt Meeker from the trail
A look across towards the northwest
One last look at Longs & Meeker and the valley below from the Twin Sisters summit
Closeup look at Estes Park and Lake Estes
Closeup of hikers on the Eastern summit of Twin Sisters
Saturday was a great day for a hike, honestly any day is a great day for a hike. But yesterday was a special day even before getting on the trail. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, then you know I am always on the lookout for wildlife when hiking. From a cautious perspective, but also from the perspective of witnessing animals in their natural habitats.
While driving to the Wild Basin trailhead and we’re almost there and suddenly out of nowhere two moose, both bulls, ran from the woods and onto the dirt road. That was the good news, the one animal that I’ve always wanted to see in it’s element I’m now seeing and not just one but two! Now for the bad news. For the next 15-20 secs one of the bulls stood there with a full rack posing like he was waiting for me to take his photo. All the while I’m fumbling around in my backpack reaching for my camera to get a shot. By the time I did get the camera, he ran back off up into the woods. Needless to say, seeing the moose more than made my day, on the other hand, not getting a picture I wasnt too happy about. Oh well, next time.
Anyway, the hike to Ouzel Falls is 2.7 miles one way with an elevation gain of over 800 feet, starting at 8500 and ending at 9366. The trail runs along side the North St. Vrain Creek, crosses over the Calypso Cascades 1.8 miles in. The trail doesn’t end at the falls, you can continue on to Ouzel Lake which is another 2.2 miles past the falls. Along the trail where it opens up you can get a good look at Mt Massive and Longs Peak off in the distance as well as a number of burn areas from past wildfires, where trees and vegetation are showing signs of coming back. I’ve done this hike 2 or 3 times before once on snowshoes and this hike never gets old.
On the way up or down the trail you can take a look at Copeland Falls, theres a short trail off to the side of the main trail and connects back to it.