A great day to get out of the city with temperatures reaching the mid 90s and head up to the high country to hopefully cooler temps. Take Hwy 7 towards Lyons and just outside of Allenspark to the Wild Basin trail head.
This time back to the Wild Basin trail head within Rocky Mountain National Park for another attempt at Ouzel Lake. My last time on this trail was in June 2014 and a combination of a missed alternate trail, a washed out bridge from the flooding in late 2013 and injuring my knee along the trail, I never made it to the lake.
A look back
Very exciting and lucky to capture this shot of a bull moose today
The final approach to Ouzel Lake
Overall it was a great day to be on the trail, as you may or may not know traffic is also heavy mostly due to Ouzel Falls and and the Cascades along the way. Getting there as early as possible is a great idea to find a decent parking space. The highlight of the day for myself of course was spotting a bull moose on the descent from Ouzel Lake.
Distance covered this hike was 9.9 miles, taking an alternate trail part of the way up and back down the normal trail coming back down.
A look ahead.
Finch Lake with Copeland Mtn on the right, Elk Toot Mtn on the left
A view across the way
Trail junction in some of the burn area of the Ouzel Fire from 1978
A doe, a deer, a female deer!
I’m so far behind and in the midst of playing catch up so this entry will only consist of a few photos and brief info about the trail and hike.
The trailhead was the Allenspark trailhead
Finch Lake Stats
4 miles one way, Trailhead elevation – 8470 ft , Elevation gain – 1442 ft.
Stats from National Park Service website.
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!
Summit reached! 11428 feet
Longs Peak and Mt Meeker from the trail
Closeup of hikers on the Eastern summit of Twin Sisters
A look across towards the northwest
Closer up, Longs Peak(right) Mt Meeker(left)
Up and behind the hut looking back
One last look at Longs & Meeker and the valley below from the Twin Sisters summit
Almost to the summit, you pass this forest service station
A little warmup walk to the trailhead, up the road and around the corner
Closeup look at Estes Park and Lake Estes
wildflower of some kind
Destination, Eldorado Canyon State Park, just outside of Boulder, in the town of Eldorado Springs. It was my first visit here and makes my 4th state park out of Colorado’s 42 state parks. This state park is a rock climbers paradise! And because of that, it was listed as one of the “Ten state parks you cant miss!” by Smartertravel.com in 2007.
The hike on Eldorado Canyon Trail is rated as moderate to difficult. The 3.5 mile trail climbs fast in the first mile, then it levels out some and then drops pretty steep again the last mile ending at the Walker Ranch Loop Trail. (So you can expect your calves to get quite a workout!) Turn left onto the Walker Ranch Loop Trail towards South Boulder Creek about a quarter mile maybe, cross over the bridge and find a spot to enjoy lunch or just the sounds of the creek rushing by. Take advantage of some wonderful views in all directions while on this trail. Freight trains follow the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad through a number of tunnels high above the park. On a clear day you get a good look at downtown Denver in the distance.
We had clear blue skies at the start of this hike and the skies became hazy as the day went on. After lunch by the South Boulder Creek, on the return hike back there were some dark clouds, but none too threatening looking. And luckily no rain fell anywhere near the park. All and all, I logged a little over 7 miles on Saturday, too bad there is no such thing as frequent hiker mileage points!
Enjoy a few photos I took from Saturday.
Nature at work
Looking up after a few minutes on the trail
Closeup of the creek, even further up
South Boulder Creek before crossing the bridge
On the descent, a look down at South Boulder Creek
Another look further up the creek
A look back after a few minutes on the trail.
One of the tunnels of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad
Freight train coming out of another tunnel
The intersection of Eldorado Canyon Trail & Walker Ranch Loop Trail
Nice red home
Look on the left between the mountains and you can see Denver, if it werent for the haze.
A hazy Mile High skyline
Looking towards the Continental Divide on a hazy day
Look just under center you can see the parking lot from where we began.
Sitting creekside, having lunch.
This is a great hike if you want variety of scenery and elevation gains. There were a lot of people on the trail this day, but many were there just to take a short hike a mile or so in and turning around. Maybe it was because it was a holiday weekend. But it was great to see so many different nationalities and people of many backgrounds being outdoors and enjoying what nature and our state parks have to offer!
Diversity in nature is something we don’t often see or even think about, but this day was different. Possibly it’s something we will discuss in the future.
I will be back on a trail this coming weekend, since I don’t have to work. The thought right now is probably Twin Sisters Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. The last time I did this trail was almost exactly 3 years ago this weekend. I’ll let you know for sure as the weekend gets closer. Get out and enjoy the outdoors!!!
Road trip! Just to get out of town for a few hours I rode with my friends up to Cameron Pass. No adventure planned other than taking in the scenery. I had never been up to Cameron Pass before so I am always up for checking out new areas to hike for future adventures. Cameron Pass divides the lower Medicine Bow and the upper Never Summer Mountain ranges with a pass summit of 10276 feet.
There are lots of trails in the area for snowshoeing and hiking. A good amount of back country skiing is done here as well. The Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol are ready to assist if need be.
Following the Poudre Canyon Highway (Hwy 14) a little further past the Cameron Pass summit to The Colorado State Forest State Park Visitor Center, (yes State Forest State Park is the actual name, weird I know) you can learn more about the area and that this part of the state is huge when it comes to moose. Imagine my excitement! Unfortunately on this day there were no moose to be seen, not that were trying that hard to look for them.
Between the pass summit and the visitors center, you will see an impressive peaks and some jagged rocky formations, the Nokhu Crags. The Nokhu Crags were first named by the Arapaho Indians. Nokhu is shortened from “Neaha-no-xhu” which means eagle’s nest. Here are some impressive photos from a couple of climbers who made the climb in 2006.
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.
6.4 miles later my first hike of the season was a success, despite the heat. Bridal Veil Falls is located within Rocky Mountain National Park, just outside of Estes Park, CO. This was my first time on this trail and overall it was easy hike with the most difficult part being the last half mile where it’s the most steep, but definitely manageable. Overall elevation gain over the 3.2 mile trek in is just over 1000 feet.
Here are a few photos from Saturdays hike.
I’m back, I havent gone anywhere, literally and unfortunately. But I’m happy to inform you that I have a hike scheduled for this weekend with some friends and I’m so excited to be able to get back outdoors! The plan right now is to head up to Rocky Mountain National Park and hit the Cow Creek Trailhead and hike towards Bridal Veil Falls. Needless to say, you know you can expect pics after I return.