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The Incline, Manitou Springs CO, Hiked on Easter – 4/5/2015

20 May

At the Top.jpg

Starting Elevation:  6530 Ft

Highest Elevation: 8550 Ft

Trail Length: We did the Standard loop so 3.7 miles

Trail Uses: Hiking only up the incline

Degree of Difficulty: Strenuous

Bathroom: Yes in the parking lot

Pets:  Supposed to be no dogs but there were lots and off leash too and 2 almost knocked me down no owner in sight.

Fees: Yes – $5 when we went last April but I suspect it may go up or already has.

It has been over a year since I posted last and I actually started writing this post way back when we did the hike. I had kinda forgot about the blog except to look up hikes or show friends hikes I thought they might like, but I got my renewal notice a few weeks ago and today I realized I need new motivation to get back on the healthy bandwagon.

A lot has happened over the last year but through it all we never stopped hiking.  Last Fall I had a bad hip injury that kept me on flat short hikes for about 4 months but I started taking photography classes to help keep up my spirits. I have been very slowly working on getting back to climbing since the beginning of the year and had one big set back that was very depressing.

The super bummer, while injured I gained back a lot of weight. So I am going to try this again.  I am going to Germany next week and then when I get back I am full on back to hiking to healthy I have at least a dozen new hikes to write up and I am back at 60 pounds I have to lose to get to my goal.  I am not sure how I will continue with the format, if I will do a weigh in separate from hikes or combine them.  I see wordpress has changed a lot since I was on last so I have lots of new learning to do.

I will also try to show off some of my new photography skills and I am super excited about that.  Another motivation to get back to writing.  Thanks to all of you who have kept checking out the blog while I have been gone, I hope to get reacquainted with the blogging world.

incline sunrise.jpg

 

Now on to this particular hike.

On Easter 2015, since I couldn’t be home with my family I was lucky enough to go on a hiking date with my hiking superheros, Wendy and Didier.

They patiently took us too the Manitou Incline which is known all over the place as straight up torture.  In the first mile you climb straight up 2000 vertical feet. It is used regularly by the Olympic athletes that train very close by and lots of fitness enthusiasts.

We started just before sunrise and thought that since it was Easter it might be less crowded, but in fact the it was lit up with lots of headlamps ahead of us.

getting a sunrise picture.jpg

It is essentially a giant staircase that we were climbing with a couple hundred other people and I know for a fact that it was a light crowd that day. There is a bail out about half way up, and it gets evermore steep after that.  Also the steps aren’t at even height so I often found myself using both my hands and feet to climb it like a ladder at its steepest point.
Once you get to the top, it is amazing views of Colorado Springs and beyond and Sunrise was gorgeous.

Past the bail out.jpg

Looking down.jpg

Once at the top and you have finished celebrating with lots of selfies, take the Barr trail down.  Do not go back down the incline it is so steep and people fall and get hurt all the time.  The Barr trail was updated as well and it an easy decent back to the parking lot. As I recall it is about 3 miles down.

Barr trail.jpg

Barr trail view.JPG

All in all, I feel like you have to do the Incline at least once in your life.  The number of people doing it is so crazy that I honestly never want to do it again.  It is great exercise for sure and a great way to get into climbing shape, maybe just go during the week when there are less people.  I would also go as early as possible and start that one hour before sunrise as it is exposed and can be very warm.

A few more pictures will follow the directions.

Directions( copied from the website http://www.manitouincline.net ::

The easiest way to reach the trailhead is to take highway 24 West to the last Exit for Manitou Springs on Serpentine Drive. This is also the stoplight for the Cave of the Winds. Turn left (away from Cave of the Winds)onto Serpintine Drive which will descend quickly and end at Manitou Avenue. Veer left onto Manitou Aveneue and follow it to a roundabout(rotary). Exit the roundabout on Ruxton Ave heading southwest towards the Cog Railway. The trailhead is located just west of the Iron Springs Theater. Parking is usually difficult to find. Trying to find a close spot usually just results in a lot of wasted time. Just think of your walk to the trailhead as your warm up.

The standard route no longer begins in the Barr Trail parking lot. This parking lot is to be used for the Barr trail alone, access to the trail is now to be from near the old Manitoul Incline Base Station and incline hikers should park on Ruxton Ave.

Do NOT park in the parking spots for the Cog Railway. They will tow you. If you really want a close spot you can pay to park in the Iron Springs Theater parking spots. Last I saw it was $5 to park there.

Prize at the top.JPG

Easter bunny.JPG

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Deer Mountain, RMNP Estes Park CO, Hiked 7/19/14

21 Nov

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Starting Elevation:  8930 Ft

Highest Elevation:  10,013 Ft ( A total Elevation gain of almost 1100 Ft)

Trail Length: 6 miles – it took us 3ish hours but we did spend a lot of time on the summit.

Trail Uses:  Hiker & Horses ( but no horses allowed on the Summit spur)

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate

Bathrooms:  There are bathrooms at the visitors centers there was nothing near the trail head

Pets:  No this is Rocky Mountain National Park and no Dogs allowed

Deer Mountain trail sign

I am so sorry at how long I have been away.  I will have to catch you all up soon, I can tell you that I have had just a few breaks in hiking but have been mostly hiking every weekend.  I want to get out those new trials I did while away and then one big summary of some amazing days out on the trails between then and now.  First Deer Mountain!

Wow it has been a long time since I hiked this one, I almost forgot what it was like!  I did it the weekend after I had company in town so I wanted something that challenged me but was not too much, because when my company was here we had done 3 tough hikes in just 5 days.  I was wiped when we hit this trail.

This hike was exactly what I needed as it has great views all the way up of the mountains that make up Rocky Mountain National Park. But there was this weird haze in the air we hoped would burn off but only ended up getting worse.  We speculated that it was from that horrible fire in California this summer.

The trail head is right off Trail Ridge Road and there is literally a little bit of a wide shoulder for maybe 6 cars to park.  You can park along the road in some places near here, but get there early if you want a parking spot at any of them.  There are also shuttle parking lots at the various gates and you can take a shuttle to so many places in the park so you don’t have to worry about finding parking.

We got there around 7:30 and just barley nabbed a spot.

We got there around 7:30 and just barely nabbed a spot.

The trail starts out super wide and very well maintained, the whole trial was very well maintained and we even talked to a couple of Park rangers we passed while hiking.

Start of the trail

Start of the trail

First trail marker

After a decent climb, while the stellar views just started opening up all around us we got the Switchback part.  Sadly the haze in the air made it hard to get any really great pictures.  I actually gave up taking them because there was no depth but we stopped a lot just to ohhhhh and ahhhh.  It doesn’t take too long to start the switchbacks up the to flat before the summit.

The views were everywhere

The views were everywhere

Starting up the switchbacks

Starting up the switchbacks

Then towards the end of the switch backs

Then towards the end of the switch backs

There were a lot of switch backs on this one and it was a strange struggle that day.  I am not sure if it was the altitude or exhaustion from the few days before with my guests in town, but it took me time to get up this part.  I would not say it is particularly hard but that day for me it was.

Once we turned the corner of the last switchbacks we reached a nice flat that felt like it went on forever but was probably more like a quarter of mile maybe half a mile before the final summit climb.  The summit climb sign made us want to come back and do the rest of the trail back to Estes just to see what is was like.

The summit climb Summit climb conditions

It was just a short steep climb to the summit, and then WOW!  Such an amazing payoff so quickly!

The Summit

The Summit

I will tell you we hung up there as long as we could before more people started showing up.  I think we got a solid 25 minutes up there just to take it all in.  It was lovely.  The hike back down was crowded…. and it was just around 10AM.  I cannot imagine what kind of traffic this trail gets throughout every summer day, but I can tell you I was glad we got there early and had it mostly to ourselves.

If you ever find yourself in Rocky Mountain National Park and you want a great view payout without a ton of effort this is the hike for you.  Of course there are so many great trails in the park but I really liked how this one was both a nice work out with great payout.  There were views in every direction and of the almost the whole park. After the directions will the be the few goodish pictures I took while at the top.

Directions:    The Deer Ridge Junction Trailhead is located 3.05 miles west of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station along Trail Ridge Road (Highway 36). The trailhead is located on the north side of the road at the Trail Ridge Road – Highway 34 split. There is no designated lot, but roadside parking is permitted. Parking is limited.

View of Estes Park from the Summit.

View of Estes Park from the Summit.

View looking south towards Long's Peak

View looking south towards Long’s Peak

The view West-ish

The view West-ish

Looking North was a little obstructed

Looking North was a little obstructed

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Beginning again – Weigh in Day +9LBS ( 50lbs down 40 Lbs left to go)

9 Aug

So this is the first time I have really weighed in – in months. I have to say I was surprised it wasn’t more, which makes it about a pound a month.

Fat and in pain

Fat and in pain

I can tell though that I have lost a lot of the climbing muscles in my legs which makes me think it may just be 9LBs on the scale but the damage is worse because of the muscle loss.

I would like to say this was a better week for me health wise but it was actually worse.  I had a crazy stressful week at work, worked long hours and squeezed in a workout at least once a day, sometimes twice but no weights.  I didn’t track my food like I wanted to and I am sure I went over my allotted calories every day.

Plus I drank alcohol almost every night, just one drink a night but still I normally don’t drink during the week. But post hike it is always a celebration.

Oh well, I have to start somewhere….

My new goal will be to lose 40 lbs by next July 4th.

The hike I did today was a repeater but it is way out my ability right now.  I am thrilled I made it all the way… and I have summit fever again….I love Colorado.

On Twins sisters

On Twins sisters

There is so much to see just here and I haven’t even started to think about all those other states and countries I have hiking envy over…I am looking at you Rob P My favorite Uk Backpacker!  SO that means I need to get over myself and move forward…..slowly this is me getting over myself….

Get out there and hike, life is way too short!

 

Still Hiking, just not so healthy……

1 Aug

It has been 8 months since I have been on track for the healthy part of this blog…. the hiking has finally started to suffer as a result. I am not sure how it happened other than me consciously deciding to not be healthy.  For about half that time, I have managed to ignore how far off the rails I have gone.

Nugget

Not only have I been struggling with being healthy I have been less than forthcoming about my struggles as if they will just disappear.  And not just with you but with everyone in my life.

So this is my confession, I have fallen far off the healthy bandwagon.  I have been way outside my daily calorie intake.  I have had a considerable cut back on my exercising.  I have been eating my emotions.

I have been trying hard to find inspiration, the last few hikes we have done I was sweaty, overheated and strangely struggling with my breath.  I know I have gained back weight but I am not sure how much at this point as I have been avoiding scales for months.

I have to find balance again in my life in terms of how to control my bad eating habits. I have been trying to figure out where is the best place to start ….again.

I am confessing here because I can’t pretend it is not happening anymore I need to be up front about it all.  I am going to get back to my Lose It! app and tracking my daily calories in and out.  I am also going to venture to get rid of my cheat day which sadly turned into my cheat 3 days….I apparently can no longer be at home without a guardian or having my hands tied behind my back to avoid shoveling food in my face.

I have been going to some of my favorite blogs for motivation, but I have to tell you Nancy over at My year of Sweat always makes me think through my issues a little more in-depth then I am normally willing to do  because she is so good at identifying all of her issues, stumbling points and triumphs.  Over the last year she has become my “live a better life” superhero.  If you don’t know Nancy, please check out her blog it is awesome -> just like her!!!

I am still hiking every weekend and I have been getting in as many days as I can, I have 2 new hikes I need to write-up that I did weeks ago and of course I have done a bunch of repeaters.

The rest of my summer I am going to focus on getting get back into the shape I was last fall.  I really want to do Grays and Torreys (14ers) before the summer ends.  I still want to try to backpack, but to be honest I may not get to it until next summer.

I will start listing my weigh-ins  again weekly.

Thanks for being patient with me and thanks for helping me get back on the healthy track.

Now get out there and hike, I know I will be hiking this weekend!

Grizzly Gulch, Bakerville CO Hiked 6/21/14

27 Jun
Torrey Peak

Torreys Peak

Starting Elevation: 9800 ft

Highest Elevation: 11,000Ft ish (we didn’t have our watch and I can find almost nothing on this trail.  I know the parking lot is at 9800 ft and I got 100 flights of stairs so 1000 ft total elevation gain)

Trail Length:  6 Miles from the parking lot right off the exit- 4 miles if you have 4 wheel drive and can go to the pull off a mile up the road.

Trail Uses:  Hiker, biker, 4 wheel drive cars, horses

Degree of Difficulty: Moderate but only if you have to climb the road from the parking lot – if you drive up the road to the pull off easy

Fees: None

Bathrooms: None

Pets: Yes

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Taking 2 weeks off of hiking and exercise was killer for me. honestly by week 2 I was so antsy I snuck in a few walks and some elliptical just not in shoes with backs.   On my weekend off hiking I went to REI and met a shoe fitting guru.  Seriously he took a look at my heels, measured my foot and simultaneously started listing all the things that happen while I hike.  Like I have no flexibility at all in my feet and that I come down super hard when I walk or that my plantar fascia was screwed up.  Then he proceeded to go through all the different shoes and why they wouldn’t work.  He handed me a pair of Adidas trail runners in an awful mint green.  I super didn’t want to like them and at first I didn’t, I walked around and my feet were coming right out.  He switched up the laces and tied them a specific way > then they were HEAVEN… ugly heaven but heaven none the less.   He also found me a delightful boot, it too is strangely ugly but I think I am going to test them out this weekend before I commit.

Yes I am wearing purple socks with mint green trail runners.

Yes I am wearing purple socks with mint green trail runners.

I picked a hike that I had written down on one of my many lists of hikes I found on some random webpage, Grizzly Gulch at just 4 miles round trip with maybe 900 ft of total elevation gain.  I knew after 2 weeks of almost no exercise I needed to take it easy but I still wanted a view and supposedly this hike would take us to 11.300( I don’t think it did). But when I started to research the hike I could find almost nothing, the only thing I knew was it went to a meadow behind Torreys peak.  Then I found a few trip reports that said they couldn’t find the meadow.  I found pictures but no directions ….. any where. At like page 8 in a google search on my 5th combination of words I found a snowshoe with a hint of the two turns to look for.  I decided at 10 PM on Friday we would risk it.

From the parking lot

The start of the hike is along the road to Grays and Torreys which are 2- 14ers (Mountains 14,000 +ft above sea level) that are insanely popular.  If you have 4-wheel drive this hike could be just 4 miles, since I didn’t know where the trail break would be I figured if we couldn’t find it we could at least hike up to the trailhead for Grays and Torreys and get 8 miles in.

stevens gulch road View on the way up

At almost exactly 1 mile from the parking lot, we came to the first fork.  The sign for Gray’s Peak said stay straight and then there was a small parking lot with road heading off on the right.  We went right.  Taking the road for 2 miles of the hike is kind of challenging only because of all the trucks heading up to Grays & Torreys and the dust clouds they create, otherwise it is surprisingly beautiful.

Go right to Grizzly Gulch Road

Go Right at Grizzly Gulch Road almost exactly 1 mile up on Stevens Gulch Road

The view is great

Grizzly gulch road

The Grizzly Gulch Road/trail

From here the road/ trail gets much more rustic, we passed a few people camping long here and since I didn’t really know where the meadow was I went on guesses.  We passed one road going right then in just a quarter of a mile we came to what I was guessing would be my second right.  You come up to the fork, you will know it by 2 things. there are 2 old cabins on your left and what looks like another parking area than there is also 2 road signs, 189.1G & 189.1C…. Take 189.1C on the right and stay on it.

189.1C on the right

189.1C on the right

Go past the Cabins

The cabins are on the wrong road unless you want to go to an old abandoned mine

From here  it is not far and the trail has a ton of snow melt water on it.  At first it wasn’t bad

The snow melt isheavy

It wasn’t deep until we get to an impassable part.  For a second we thought about turning around, but the feet felt great and we had hardly gone anywhere so we took off our shoes deciding to cross.  For the record a knee-deep snowmelt streamed F@$#ing cold

I see the trail over there

See the trail over there

In theory it sounded  way easier than it actually was.

My Face Sums it up

My Face Sums it up

Seriously, it took all my tough girl genes to not start crying right about here, it was so cold.  I toughed it out, got to the other side and thought “I am not sure I can make it back over”.

From here we continued up the road past this lovely gentleman who was burning some fallen trees. At first I thought we went the wrong way and asked if it was ok that we hiked through, we were looking for Grizzly Gulch.  He was so nice, he is literally living in heaven with the most amazing scenery all around his home.  He let us hike through and told us we might find a bridge across the stream if we went along the stream little bit off the trail down on his property.

The Hardest Part

The Hardest Part

From here the trail was just a road that had some ups and downs but nothing like the first mile up.  The views were breath-taking, the stream and snow melt had transformed everything into this idealized hike and even with all the clouds it was perfect!  We had more fun enjoying all the views then we had in weeks!  The trail was still wet in places and we crossed the stream one more time but in just 1.5 miles we got to the meadow and it was amazing!!!

The Stream

The Stream

Getting closer to the Meadow

Getting closer to the Meadow

Second stream crossing

Second stream crossing

Way easier to cross

Way easier to cross and a view

The Meadow

The Meadow

I was so happy we found this elusive meadow, I honestly just stood there for almost a half an hour taking it all in.  We could have easily have gone on ….well sort of, the next river crossing is just to right of the fence in the picture above and it was like a 4 lane road wide.   My feet felt great but I didn’t want to push it in my new shoes, healing heels and really I didn’t want to feel that icy cold water again.   We took our time before turning around and heading back.   I know that we could have gone on and hiked to that ridge but for now I was satisfied with what we had seen!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Honestly the whole way back all we could talk about was how beautiful it all was and how happy we were that we found the meadow.  The other great part, we had almost the whole trail to ourselves.  The only time we saw other people were when we crawled out of the trees after finding a way to cross that uncrossable part… it was a fallen tree that was super stable in front of some wicked rapids.

Rapids where we found an out to taking our shoes off

Rapids where we found an out to taking our shoes off

This tree was heaven sent

This tree was heaven-sent

It was just maybe .2 miles to the road again….. it was also right off the road on the other side.

the path to avoid a water crossing

The way back from here was even better with weather coming in, sometimes dark clouds are as good as blue sky.  I honestly cannot wait to get back there again, this a gem that it seems like no one knows about or else takes a wrong turn too soon.  If I was honest with myself, no one hikes it because they are all hiking Grays and Torreys, but what a miss on their part because while summiting is awesome so is a really great meadow and this is an amazing meadow.

Directions:  Take I 70 to exit# 221 and go south, for the full 6 miles park in the lots there.  Otherwise drive up a mile to the road fork and park there for a 4 mile hike.

Looking back at Torreys

I couldn’t stop turning around and watching the sky change around Torreys

view on the way back

The view going back down Steven’s gulch road wasn’t bad either

me on the way up

Me on the way up Stevens Gulch road

bird

Cool Bird

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Hiking repeaters over the weekend of 5/31 & 6/1/14

6 Jun

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My usual hiking buddy was not available for a Saturday hike so I leaned on one of my friends…. and frankly kind of tricked her.  At first I was all sweet, I will pick something easy but with good views…something close.  But Lisa has been working out like crazy so after a few probing questions I had originally picked Carpenters peak (Hike Details here) in Roxborough State Park.

And then the weather just kept getting better and better. I mean it was crazy beautiful and warm all week, the forecast for the mountains was just as good.  I started dreaming of beautiful vistas and a high hike without snow or the need of snowshoes  up high.

I have been craving a high hike for weeks and as the week went on I decided  to sweet talk(trick) Lisa into something a little more challenging. I was very strategic.

She innocently thought it sounded great, I am very good at playing it as easy….

I told her it would be fun to do St. Mary’s Glacier and if we got to the top of the glacier then we would go to the base of James Peak(hike details here).  It was a huge stretch and I felt super bad for making her try it but at the same time I needed to be there on Saturday even if we only made it to the lake and no further.  In fact that was all I hoped for, because the truth is you need to work up to 10K and above and Lisa hadn’t but I was in good shape from that standpoint.  St. Mary’s starts at 10,400 and getting to the flats meant we have to get to at least 11,700ft ,  I would not put Lisa in danger just to get my views.

Starting out on the trail no snow

Starting out on the trail no snow

Getting to the lake was no problem, there was no snow until there was a there was a ton of snow but it was early enough in the morning that we could walk on top of it without traction devices.  The lake was beautiful, partially frozen with the most amazing blue skies overhead and a crazy amount of snow ….. on the Glacier.

Us on the Lake

Us on the Lake

I seriously had resigned myself to going no further because the glacier can be daunting but Lisa was totally game.  When we started up I told her to be honest and take her time, our only schedule was to beat the storm that would eventually hit.

Check out how blue the sky is.

Check out how blue the sky is.

We started climbing up, the glacier was decidedly mushy but no postholing, I had traction devices for us both which helped prevent unnecessary sliding which I am sure would have killed Lisa’s resolve.  It took just a few minutes of climbing and she asked so is that the top? To which I replied, do you want me to be nice or honest?   She hesitantly said honest and I reminded her in the car when I told her the glacier was about a mile long so no that wasn’t the top.  Then I made her turn around and look at the view, it was the prefect motivation!

I am pretty sure my name is tied to a lot of swear words right about here.

I am pretty sure my name is tied to a lot of swear words right about here.

About halfway up I am pretty sure Lisa was ready to kill me but she kept moving up.  When we were with in view of the top I asked her if she wanted me to remain ambiguous or tell her the truth?  That brave girl picked truth again which was good because we were almost up.  We took our time and when we got to the top we were both so excited, I am so proud of Lisa she did amazing!

Success - We are at the top

Success – We are at the top

We were sweaty after all that climbing even though it was in the 40’s on the way up, but the wind at the top was cold and so jackets went on.  We walked around on the flats looking for a way without snow to James peak but there was just too much of it, where there wasn’t snow it was wet or a full on snow melt streams.

Top of the Glacier looking towards James Peak

Top of the Glacier looking towards James Peak

We climbed a little more and saw Grays and Torreys (14ers) in the distance while looking at James Peak ahead of us. There was also the amassing clouds making their way around James peak for the predicted afternoon thunderstorm so we took our few pictures and headed down.

Garys and Torreys (14ers)

Grays and Torreys (14ers)

Lisa loved the hike and the views were spectacular.  I have to agree with her, I had great company and the pleasure of showing someone such a beautiful place for her first time.

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In the end we did 5 miles total with 1300ft of elevation gain.

Sunday Aaron and I hiked Deer Creek Canyon( Hike details here) to get him acclimatized to the altitude after him being at sea level for a week.  The trail was crowded and it was crazy hot…. I did terrible like could barely breathe terrible. and my feet were again torn up.

views at Deer Creek on Sunday

views at Deer Creek on Sunday

I have taken it easy this week with my heels and refused to wear shoes that might aggravate them any further.  We are doing an easier hike tomorrow that won’t require much climbing since we have had a week light in exercise.  But we are still getting out and I am hopeful that this next week will be a better one all around.

I hope whatever you are doing this weekend, it includes hiking some where!

Matthews/Winters Park, Lakeview CO Hiked 5/17/14

23 May

best view

Zorro Trail> Dakota Ridge Trail> Village Walk>Red Rocks Trail> Morrison Slide> Red Rocks Trail> Dakota Ridge> Zorro Trail

Starting elevation: 6055 ft

Highest Elevation: 6800ft ( total Elevation gain was around 1600 ft)

Trail Length: Approximately 9 miles, it took us 4 hours to do the whole hike

Trail Uses: Some sections are hiking & horses only, most are hiker, biker & horses

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate-mostly because of length

Fees:  None

Bathrooms:  At the parking lot of both Green Mountain and Matthews/Winters Park parking lots

Pets:  Yes – On Leash

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At 5PM on Friday I found our hike for the weekend, it didn’t give me the climbing I wanted for the but it did give us some good mileage plus we had never done this one, extra bonus.  I had wanted to do this one for over a year, but I had written across the map “lots of snakes only hike in winter”  and yet this winter we were obsessed with snowshoeing and completely forgot about this one.

Saturday was strangely humid for Denver so when we pulled up to the trailhead we were cold but determined to not overdress this time.  We actually parked in the lot for Green Mountain (hike details)in Lakewood because that was the best place to start for the loop hike we wanted to attempt.

Starting out

Starting out looking towards the trailhead

The trailhead across Rooney Road

The trailhead across Rooney Road

Zorro is a nice easy climb up about 500 ft over the course of almost of a mile to the Dakota Ridge Trail.  The bad part of this section is all the noise from 470 on this side and then when we got over the ridge, I70 noise was also super loud.

One of the views as we approached the top of Zorro

One of the views as we approached the top of Zorro

Some rocky steps close to the top of Zorro.

Some rocky steps close to the top of Zorro.

As we were on this side of the mountain or hogback, there were clouds all over the front range and they were low.  Green mountain just across the road was covered in clouds, when we got to the top it was all blue skies over Red Rocks.

Green Mountain all cloudy

Green Mountain all cloudy

Dakota Ridge Trail - Go right.

Dakota Ridge Trail – Go right.

Yay Blue skies

Yay Blue skies

Me on Dakota Ridge with Red Rocks in the background

Me on Dakota Ridge with Red Rocks in the background

We walked along this until we crossed over to the west side and through some trees, had a small break from traffic noise until we could see I70 and then the noise was all back.  We could also see the parking lot for Matthews/Winters Park below us.

Coming down Dakota Ridge

Coming down Dakota Ridge

There is Matthews/Winters Park...and I70

There is Matthews/Winters Park…and I70

Coming down Dakota Ridge was the most muddy part of the whole hike but wasn’t super bad and before we knew it we were at the road crossing to get to the next set of trails.

Matthews/Winters Park

Matthews/Winters Park

Trail Map

Trail Map

As we got to the next section of our hike, there were a bunch of vault toilets that we could take advantage of.  It was also the start of all of this fantastic red beauty and because of all the snow the weekend before, the green was amazing against the red.  We took Village Walk ( no Bikes allowed) To the Red Rocks Trail.

Changing over from Dakota Ridge to Village walk.

Changing over from Dakota Ridge to Village walk.

The next trail section starts just after this creek crossing.

The next trail section starts just after this creek crossing.

Village walk

There is an old Cemetery just off the Village Walk Trail.

There is an old Cemetery just off the Village Walk Trail.

Red Rocks goes back to bikers and hikers

Red Rocks Trail start

Red Rocks Trail start

I have to tell when we got to this part of the hike, I was so glad it snowed the week before because the flowers were so plentiful and as we got to the lowest part on this trail there was an oasis of green & red with the running water was stunning.  It was the best part of the hike!

An Oasis

An Oasis

2nd creek DSCN1721

From here we started climbing back up to the Morrision Slide trail, which climbs up to a lovely flat with lots of views of everywhere we had been so far and where we were going.  It is also the highest part of the hike.

Picking up Morrison Slide

Picking up Morrison Slide

Views of Red Rocks and the Part of Dakota Ridge we had already been on

Views of Red Rocks and the part of Dakota Ridge we had already been on

Morrison Slide flat part on a beautiful day

Morrison Slide flat part on a beautiful day

After the beautiful flat top of Morrison Slide we started descending back to Red Rocks Trail.

Back on Red Rocks Trail

Back on Red Rocks Trail

Trail Conditions coming down Red Rocks Trail

Trail Conditions coming down Red Rocks Trail

I have to tell you coming down this portion of red rocks trail was really hard to not keep looking behind us as it was just a perfect view.  Which made the next section a little disappointing because it was detour on a regular road with car traffic, down to the other side of the Dakota Ridge Trail which also is known as Dinosaur Ridge.  I saw that the construction in Red Rocks had forced a detour of the trail but I never guessed it was actually on the road.

Boo - Detour :(

Boo – Detour 😦

Crossing over to the Dinosaur Ridge part and a closed road.

Crossing over to the Dinosaur Ridge part and a closed road.

This is cool!

This is cool!

I have heard about this place but I have to tell you it was way cooler then I thought it would be.   They left dinosaur bones in the rock so that people could see what they look like when they are discovered!  We were like little kids checking it all out, oohing and ahhing

Dinosaur bones

As we finished up reading about all the bones and the changing landscape, we got back to the original Dakota ridge trail.

End of detour

no more paved road

no more paved road

This last section of the hike was all white and felt so different from the rest of the hike and I loved the change!

The last stretch

I really enjoyed this hike and I honestly think we did it with perfect conditions, on the best day possible.   It is a really exposed trail which means in the summer it is likely HOT, I mean it didn’t get much above 60 while we were hiking and the sweat was pouring off of us-now I get why there are typically a lot of snakes here.   The downside(outside of the snakes of course) is how close it is to both 470 & I70, the noise went away for a good portion of the hike but when it was around it was pretty bad.   Despite that, I will for sure do it again and likely bring guest hikers here because of the great views of Red Rocks.  After the directions will be pictures of all the flowers we had the good fortune to catch before they burn off in the sun.

This 3 day weekend we will get in 2 hikes that will both likely be repeaters!  I hope you all have great plans for the holiday weekend that includes a hike!  Life is too short… you should hike more!

Directions: Take I-70 West from Denver for about 9 miles to C470-East exit (exit 260). Go about 2 miles on C470 East and take the Alameda Parkway exit. Turn right onto Alameda Parkway, then take your first right onto Rooney Road. Go about 1.5 miles and the trail head parking lot will be on your right.

flowers 1 flowers2 Flowers 3 flowers4