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.
From the trail a look at Meeker & Longs Peak.
A look up from where the land slide started
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!
Up and behind the hut looking back
Closeup of hikers on the Eastern summit of Twin Sisters
Almost to the summit, you pass this forest service station
One last look at Longs & Meeker and the valley below from the Twin Sisters summit
Summit reached! 11428 feet
A look across towards the northwest
Closeup look at Estes Park and Lake Estes
Longs Peak and Mt Meeker from the trail
Closer up, Longs Peak(right) Mt Meeker(left)
wildflower of some kind
A little warmup walk to the trailhead, up the road and around the corner
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.
Look on the left between the mountains and you can see Denver, if it werent for the haze.
A hazy Mile High skyline
Freight train coming out of another tunnel
Look just under center you can see the parking lot from where we began.
Looking up after a few minutes on the trail
Closeup of the creek, even further up
A look back after a few minutes on the trail.
The intersection of Eldorado Canyon Trail & Walker Ranch Loop Trail
On the descent, a look down at South Boulder Creek
Sitting creekside, having lunch.
Nice red home
Nature at work
South Boulder Creek before crossing the bridge
Looking towards the Continental Divide on a hazy day
Another look further up the creek
One of the tunnels of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad
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!!!