Today was gorgeous weather-wise and I’d been itching all week to get in a hike. Again wanting to keep it close to the Denver, I chose to drive over to Golden and give the Nightbird Gulch Trail a try.
Nightbird Gulch Trail by itself is a hikers only single dirt trail of 1.8 miles, it becomes more of a rocky trail as you ascend. At the end of those 1.8 miles, the trail junctions with the Mt Galbraith Loop Trail of 1.6 miles around the Mt Galbraith summit. Nightbird Gulch has an elevation gain of somewhere over 800 Vft from the trail head starting elevation of 5972 ft.
Look up at Mount Galbraith
Zoom in shot of parking area by the trail access
Traffic on the Cedar Gulch Trail
Signage at the junction
The Mt. Galbraith Loop Trail can also be accessed from the opposite end of the park from the Cedar Gulch Trail. This trail is 1.3 miles to the junction and is also the more popular trail than the Nightbird Gulch Trail. The Nightbird trail is accessed through a residential area with on street parking for a few cars, maybe 6 or 7 unless you park on both sides of the street. The advantage to hiking the Nightbird Gulch Trail is you get 5.2 miles total when you include the Mt Galbraith Loop versus 4.2 miles from the Cedar Gulch Trail, depending on what you’re up for I guess.
On this afternoon I just did the Nightbird Gulch trail in and out, 3.6 miles total. Next time I’m adding in the Mt. Galbraith Loop as well.
Directions to trail. Coming from State HWY 93 turn on Iowa Dr and then turn on Canyon Point Circle.
Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Each trail in this park are for hikers only. Cost to access, free.
Sorry for the delay in posting this. Been busy a little as of late.
It was gorgeous weather here in Colorado on this day so the idea was to head up to the high country to do some snowshoeing. Peaceful Valley was if I remember correctly my first time ever on snowshoes well over 10 years ago. The snow was good, though not great in a couple of spots and it was rather windy a good part of the day. We encountered a number of people on mountain bikes on the trail and a few cross country skiers as well. All and all a good day to not be sitting on the couch, not that there is anything wrong with sitting on the couch(There’s a time and place for everything). Here are a few photos from that day, enjoy!
Looking down over the edge
Ahead on the trail
Which way? So many to choose!
Mountain bikers and their really HUGE tires
For some reason a Coors commercial comes to mind.
I shot pictures with my new camera, new to me anyway. As you know I lost my previous camera, my Olympus and since had bought another, two actually. This one I used this day is a Fuji Finepix S9000, it’s an older camera, an awesome deal I got on Ebay and I wanted something different than what I had previously and something older at the same time. I’m still getting used to all of it’s functions and settings, so be patient with me while I improve my use of it.
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!
Longs Peak and Mt Meeker from the trail
Up and behind the hut looking back
Summit reached! 11428 feet
wildflower of some kind
Closer up, Longs Peak(right) Mt Meeker(left)
One last look at Longs & Meeker and the valley below from the Twin Sisters summit
Closeup look at Estes Park and Lake Estes
A look across towards the northwest
A little warmup walk to the trailhead, up the road and around the corner
Closeup of hikers on the Eastern summit of Twin Sisters
Almost to the summit, you pass this forest service station
I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July yesterday. I of course had to work my 2nd job yesterday, so celebrating was not on my agenda. So I figured since I have the day off today that I would catch up on the blog with my hike to Roger’s Pass Lake from 2 weeks ago.
I did this hike last fall and this time around it was much more difficult than before. It’s a relative moderate 4 mile hike to the lake, but what made it more difficult this time around was the numerous snow fields we ran into the second half of the hike. So needless to say I was a little unprepared. Some of the snow we ran into was on and off the trail, near bridges crossing rushing water. Some of it solid enough to walk cross with no problem, others not so much. And some were at least 3 feet deep! I know as I suddenly sank down in one up over my waist! Talk about cold!
All and all it was a good hike, as any hike is, but this day I got a lot more out of it, than I had expected, still that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We did come across some bear tracks in the snow close to the lake. That was exciting I thought, though I didnt follow the tracks to see where they might lead. But the idea did cross my mind!
These are a few photos from the hike, I hope you enjoy them!
Just a sample of what was to come as we went further up
A half frozen Rogers Pass Lake
I dont know that my body will forgive me for what I put it through on this day, but I do know I am tougher for it! Get out and enjoy the outdoors! Next hike for me is this weekend, Saturday actually. Eldorado Canyon Trail in Eldorado Canyon State Park, just outside of Boulder, CO.
While skiing at Monarch a couple of weeks ago, we heard mention of Red River by a snowboarder on the quad chair lift. Wondering and not thinking to ask, we had to look it up for ourselves. Red River Ski Area is just over 4 hours from Denver in Red River, New Mexico. Immediate thought was “Roadtrip!” of course. A nice easy drive to explore new territory in a small mountain town and carve out some turns in. Red River is small, though not the smallest town I’ve been in. Population numbers as of 2010 were 477. Red River doesn’t seem like a town of fewer than 500 when you’re there. There are plenty of places to stay, grab a bite to eat, hear live music and shop.
Red River Ski Area of the Carson National Forest in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range has 57 trails and a base elevation of 8750′ and it’s top elevation is 10350′. The front of the mountain consists of mostly blue and black runs and a few green runs. The backside of the mountain is where most of the green runs are and 3 blues. The backside trails are through lots of Aspens which make for a scenic time. There is the Ski Tip Restaurant and Bar at the top of the mountain where you can grab a bite to eat if you choose. One thing that makes Red River a unique place to ski is that the chair lifts on the front side of the mountain are right there in town literally. You can purchase your lift ticket right there at the lift at a ticket vending machine with a credit card. There is a lodge that contains a day care, cafeteria, retail shop and ski school. There are 3 terrain park areas on the mountain.
I really enjoyed my time at Red River. Don’t let the size fool you, the layout of its 57 trails is great and gives you a great a variety. Scenics trails, lift lines were small and fast, the staff is friendly and there are some amazing views. Here are a few photos from Saturday at Red River.
It’s been at least a couple of seasons since I last hit the slopes. So I was excited when earlier in the week I got an invite to do some skiing on Saturday down at Monarch Mountain. Monarch is just about 3 hours southwest of Denver and well worth the drive down even if only for a day trip. First of all there’s hardly the traffic headache like there is most weekends driving West on I-70 towards Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin, etc. And if I’m going to spend 3 hours in traffic, I’d rather be moving towards my destination than being stuck not going anywhere on the interstate on the weekends. Not to mention you can actually get a lot of skiing in at Monarch, the lift lines are never tirelessly long and move pretty quickly, which equates to lots of runs! Here are a few photos from Saturday, enjoy!
If you’re wondering, I ski mostly blues and greens. I’ve done a black diamond or two in my time and some of them not by choice. But hey you gotta get down the mountain at some point, so why not learn the hard way. Double black diamonds are not on the “to do” list just yet, if ever!
But today was about having fun first and foremost, while also regaining and improving my form. There wasnt a ton of snow at Monarch on Saturday, not like I’ve seen in the past up here, but still a decent mid-mountain base measurement of about 29 inches is plenty. It’s been a dry winter so far this season here in Colorado in terms of snowfall totals, but hopefully there will be a rebound for more snow soon.
I do own my own equipment. I have a pair of Rossignol skis and poles and my boots are by Lange. I’ve rented equipment maybe my first 4 or 5 times early on, then decided it was time to purchase my own. It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made, and I’ve only been skiing since 2004.
There are no hotels or rooms at Monarch, but there is a hotel just up the road from the entrance or your best bet is to if you are staying in the area is to get a room in nearby Salida, CO which is 20 minutes east of Monarch. Get outside and have a good time no matter what you choose to do!
A huge thank you to Deb and Charles for the invite and letting me tag along! Great time as always!
First snowshoeing adventure of the season from a couple of weeks back. Because this was the first of the season, the plan was to go in as far as where the trail first crosses over Scott Gomer Creek, right around 2 miles, have a bite to eat then head back down the trail. This is a great idea if you want to just be outdoors for a bit and enjoy what was a gorgeous day to be outside. Living life, burning tons of calories and not stressing about the work week or any of life’s problems! Here are few photos from the day.
Luckily I was able to get you some photos, as yours truly didnt charge the batteries for his camera, so I instead used my phone for pictures this time around.
If you’re interested in the gear I have and use. Take a look at my gear checklist below.
Snowshoes by Atlas Snowshoe Company.
Poles by Komperdell.
Backpack by Outdoor Products.
December 1st, sunshine, 60 degree weather, of course I’m going hiking. Headed south towards Colorado Springs then west to the town of Green Mountain Falls, CO. There are 20 miles of hiking trails around Green Mountain Falls. More info can be found here.
The Catamount Trail is an in and out trail leading to Catamount Reservoir 3 miles later, with an elevation gain of 1430 feet. The start if the trail is actually in town. You walk for nearly a mile through town before getting to the actual start of the trail, then from there you get lots of steep rocky switchbacks trail up to the ridge. A really great lower body workout. You can expect for your quads and calves will be screaming at you the next day. Remember no pain, no gain. Once you reach the top of the ridge, the trail flattens out for a little bit, becomes a bit more rocky again before coming to a dirt road leading to the reservoir
Be aware as this is mountain lion territory. Luckily none were seen this day. I will settle for the few deer seen instead.
Here are a few photos for you to enjoy.
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.
Today was a great chance to get outdoors after the brief cold spell and snow we had earlier in the week. So the plan was to head south to Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods and get a decent hike in, since its been almost 4 weeks since the last time I was on a trail.
It’s been 8 or 9 years since I’ve last been to Garden of the Gods, but I’ve never hiked any trails through the park itself. According to the Garden of the Gods website, there are around 15 miles of trails within the park. None of the trails are too strenuous, hardly any elevation gain, and the not one trail longer than 3 miles. It’s a good idea to combine a couple of trails to get a nice day in the park, log some mileage and experience some of natures awesome rock formations throughout.
We did a combination of the Siamese Twins trail, Palmer, Perkins Central Garden and Scotsman trails, ending back on the Siamese Twins trail. The Perkins Central Garden trail is the only trail with a concrete path.
It was a good day today on the trails and out in nature. Here are a few pictures from todays hike.