Colorado Trip Reports

Colorado Photos

The Colorado Rockies and beyond
June and July, 2017

In June of 2017, Christy and I started and ended our summer trip in Colorado. In between we did some hiking and backpacking in southern Utah and northern Arizona. On our first full day we did a great hike in the Lost Creek Wilderness (photos) . The next day we did the extremely popular hike to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. (photos) . Afterwards we headed to Utah and Arizona. After a couple of weeks in the Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Staircase Escalante, and more, we finished up our trip in Colorado. Only July 4th we dayhiked in the Lizard Head Wilderness. (photos) . Christy was suffering from altitude sickness the next day. She spent the day at Ouray Hot Springs while I dayhiked to Ice Lake near Silverton. (photos) . Next we relocated to Silverthorne, Colorado. Christy had a procedure performed on her knees on Thursday, putting an end to her hiking on this trip. I did a short hike in the Gore Range that afternoon. The next day I did a 10.5 mile loop hike in the Flat Tops Wilderness from Stillwater Reservoir to Devil's Causeway and the top of the Chinese Wall. (photos) . I finished up the trip with my friend David, climbing Mount of the Holy Cross. (photos) . I returned to Denver a week later for a work assignment. At the end of that week I did two short backpacking trips in the Holy Cross Wilderness, to Missouri Basin, Fancy Pass, and Notch Mountain. (Missouri Basin and Fancy Pass photos) and (Notch Mountain photos) .

Ice Lake

The Colorado Rockies
September 2012

In September, 2012 Bob J and J Bob joined me for a 2-week trip to the Colorado Rockies. We went in the last half of September to take catch the peak of fall color. We started our trip car camping and dayhiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our first hike was a loop from Bear Lake including Alberta Falls, The Loch, Sky Pond, and Dream Lake. (photos). The next day, we hiked to Chasm Lake. (photos). From there we drove west through Rocky Mountain National Park and on to Grand Lake, Winter Park, Frisco, Leadville, and Aspen. We camped near Maroon Lake before driving on to Ouray. (photos) The next day we dayhiked to The Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness before driving on to Durango to get ready for our backpacking trip. (photos)

We began our backpacking trip the following morning. We took the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to the trailhead at Elk Park. On day 1, we hiked from Elk Park up Elk Creek to a beaver pond at 10,000'. (photos) . The next day, we continued up Elk Creek to the Continental Divide, passing old mining ruins along the way. (photos) . The next day, we climbed over Hunchback Pass and Nebo Pass before descending to camp below Twin Lakes. (photos) . The following morning, I did a solo hike along the Continental Divide. Then we broke camp and climbed over the divide, before descending to a campsite near Rock Lake. (photos) . The next morning we descended the Rock Creek and Vallecito Creek valleys through snow, rain, fog, and spectacular fall foliage. (photos) . The next day we hiked up Johnson Canyon in an attempt to cross Columbine Pass. (photos) . On day 7 we finally made it over Columbine Pass, before descending to a campsite in Chicago Basin. (photos) . We concluded the backpacking trip with a hike down Needle Canyon, and a train ride back to Durango. (photos) . We finished our Colorado trip with a dayhike on the Goulding Creek Trail before driving back to Denver. (photos) .

Weminuche Wilderness

Rocky Mountain National Park
March 2007, September 2008, and February 2020

In March of 2007, a business trip gave me the opportunity to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in the "off-season". I spent one afternoon in the park dayhiking to Mills Lake and The Loch. I rented snowshoes in Estes Park, but the snow was packed down, and I didn't really need them. The biggest highlight of the trip was seeing several hundred elk in a meadow with snowy peaks in the distance. In September of 2008, another business trip gave me another chance to visit the park. This time I took 3 days and did a backpacking trip along the Continental Divide across Flattop Mountain. In February of 2020, another business trip enabled me to spend a week in the Front Range. This time I was able to bring Christy with me! I finished my job by mid-day on Wednesday. That afternoon, we hiked in the Flatirons, from Flagstaff Road to Green Mountain. (photos) . The next day, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked from Bear Lake to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. (photos) . We returned the next day, and snowshoed to Mills Lake and The Loch. Mills Lake and The Loch. . (photos) . On our last morning, we did a short hike to Brainard Lake on the edge of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. . (photos) .

Rocky Mountain NP Photos

Mills Lake

The Colorado Rockies
August 2006

We took another cross-country trip in the summer of 2006 to visit the Rockies. After visiting the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota and backpacking in Wyoming's Wind River Range, we headed for Colorado. We spent two weeks there, starting with a visit to Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction.

Colorado National Monument Photos

Rainbow and Redrock

The next day we visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We endured a downpour there, but the weather cleared in time for us to enjoy the views from the north rim of the canyon. From there we relocated to the San Juan Mountains outside of Lake City.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Photos

The Black Canyon

We drove to Lake City, and car camped at the Williams Creek Campground near Lake San Cristobal. The next day we did a short dayhike in the Uncompahgre Wilderness. The next day Christy did a bike ride while Myron and I dayhiked to Cataract Lake. The following day we all climbed Handies Peak one of Colorado's 14ers.

San Juan dayhike Photos

Nice Rack!

After a few days of dayhiking, we were ready for a wilderness backpacking trip. This year, we decided to visit the Weminuche Wilderness for the first time. We started our 5-day trip at the Rio Grande Reservoir. On the first day we hiked to Weminuche Pass and on to a basecamp in the Rincon La Vaca. The next day Myron and I climbed the Rio Grande Pyramid. From there we headed east along the continental divide to Squaw Lake. We returned to the trailhead by way of the Squaw Creek valley.

Weminuche Photos

On the Continental Divide

After backpacking, we headed north to Glenwood Springs, where Christy and I did a bike ride along the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon. That evening we dropped Myron off at the Denver airport before relocating to Alamosa. The next morning we visited Great Sand Dunes National Park and did a short dayhike. From there we visited the Spanish Peaks and Capulin Volcano National Monument (photos) in New Mexico before heading back to North Carolina.

Great Sand Dunes Photos

Sunflowers and Sand Dunes

Collegiate Peaks Backpacking Trip
July 2003

In the summer of 2003, we took advantage of some free time and spent five weeks hiking in the Rockies. We began our trip in Colorado. We took two days to drive from Charlotte, and spent the holiday weekend with friends in Boulder. Our first backpacking adventure took place in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness near Buena Vista. Our goal for the trip was to climb several of the 14,000' peaks in the area. In fact, the route I planned required us to cross two 14ers with full packs. Read the trip report to find out how it went. After backpacking in Colorado, we continued our trip in Wyoming , sightseeing and backpacking in Yellowstone National Park and backpacking in Grand Teton National Park .

Collegiate Peaks Photos

Fungi fords Pine Creek

The Colorado Rockies
July 2000

We toured several areas on our first trip to Colorado. For this trip, we flew to Denver and spent a couple of days in Boulder. Then we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park and spent several nights at a condo in Winter Park. Dave joined us on our first 3 hikes in the Front Range. First we visited the unusual rock formations of Lost Creek. Our first serious hike took us to an overlook of the Araphoe Glacier in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The next day, we climbed Mount St. Vrain, which lies on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park.

July 2000 Photos

The summit of Mt. St. Vrain

Dave headed for South Dakota, and we checked out of the condo and drove to Leadville. This positioned us to attempt our first peak over 14,000'. Our goal was the summit of Mount Belford in the heart of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

Emerald Peak

We spent the final week of our trip backpacking in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness. Myron and Dorcas joined us for this portion of the trip. We spent 6 days doing the classic loop, though two of them were layover days. This still ranks as one of the most scenic and most difficult trips we've done.

The Maroon Bells

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