Rosalie Trail

On a warm and sunny day in late August, I set out for another hike into the Mount Evans Wilderness. Originally, I wanted to reach the summit of nearby 13er Rosalie Peak but ended up taking the Rosalie Trail further out into the wilderness instead.

Looking back on it, I probably spent more time bushwhacking through the wilderness than on the actual trail itself. Nonetheless, here is some more information about my hike:

  • Date: August 19th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 15 Miles
  • Route: Rosalie Trail and then bushwhacking off trail

Getting There

Both the Rosalie Trail and the Tanglewood Trail can be reached via the Deer Creek trailhead outside of Bailey, Colorado. It can easily be found by typing in Tanglewood Trails into Google Maps.

The Route

Upon reaching the trailhead, I started hiking up the trail but just followed the creek for several miles until it came out onto the actual Rosalie Trail. I stopped to have something to eat just before I reached treeline.

Sitting under a tree.

Shortly after I started hiking again, I reached the intersection with the Three Mile Trail and soon decided that it was time for something different. Although I did end up taking part of the Three Mile Trail for a mile out and back, I soon decided to start bushwhacking over the open tundra towards the east.

Rosalie Trail above treeline.
Looking over towards Mount Evans.

With the weather continuing to hold, I continued on through the tundra for several more miles. The scenery was so breathtaking as I was completely surrounded by mountains on all sides.

Continuing on through the wilderness.
Just incredible.
More mountains to the north.

As I was taking in the views, I continued on hiking up towards the ridge until I stopped to have lunch on top of a large rock outcropping. I sat there for about 45 minutes and left once I started to see some storm clouds forming in the vicinity of Mount Evans.

A perfect place to have lunch!
Looking west towards Kataka Mountain.
Storm clouds forming.

The Return Trip

At about one that afternoon, I decided to call it a day and head back to my car. The storm clouds would keep building and within a half mile of the trailhead, it started to rain but it just felt so peaceful.

Looking back at the storm clouds forming.
One last photo before heading towards the Rosalie Trail.

Once I got back onto the Rosalie Trail, things began to get interesting. I stopped to take a picture of the trail next to a pond. Little did I know that I would have some very close animal sightings within the next half hour of my life.

The trail next to a pond.

But that’s not all! Between fifteen and twenty minutes later, I was walking down the trail when I heard what sounded like horseshoes hitting the rocks on the trail ahead of me. At the time, I figured it was literally just a couple people riding horses up the trail enjoying the late summer day.

Much to my surprise, I kept hiking down the trail and turned a blind corner only to come face to face with a moose and her baby no more than fifty feet in front of me!

I knew I was way too close at this point but their was nothing that I could do about it. After looking at me, they both ran off deep into the woods.

Fifteen minutes later, I was walking down the trail just zoning out when I spotted a bear about 150 yards away. Once it spotted me, it just ran further down the valley away from me and more towards the creek.

Looking back on it, it was definitely an awesome afternoon out there on the Rosalie Trail that I will never forget.

Cupid and Grizzly Peaks

On a breezy Monday morning, I set out for Loveland Pass for another adventure. By the time I got there, the actual pass itself was closed as they were repaving the road. So I chose to be more adventurous and park further down the road and bushwhack up towards the ridge.

Here’s some more info about my hike:

  • Date: August 12th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 6.3 Miles
  • Route: Cupid and Grizzly Peak via Loveland Pass

Getting There

Loveland Pass is easily accessible from Interstate 70 and gets a lot of traffic, including Hazmat vehicles that use the pass throughout the year as they are prohibited from going through the Eisenhower Tunnel.

The Route

From the start, I knew that getting up to the ridge line was going to be very tiring. And it took a lot of work that morning . Within 10 minutes or so, my pants were completely soaked trying to work my way through the willow bushes. Luckily, I dried off within an hour because the wind at the top of the ridge was absolutely miserable.

The spot where I started my hike near Loveland Pass.

Once I crossed a small creek, I was finally out of the willows and more than halfway to the top of the ridge.

A small creek.
Looking over towards the top of the pass.

After taking a quick break, I reached the trail that branches off of the Mount Sniktau trail towards Cupid Peak. This part was pretty straight forward but I was amazed at how tiny Route 6 looks as it goes over Loveland Pass.

The trail.
Looking down on Route 6.

Upon reaching the trail, I didn’t stop until I reached the summit of Cupid Peak.

Cupid Peak

Standing at 13,117 feet, the views atop Cupid Peak are simply astounding. Even more so on a beautiful August morning. With the wind howling, I stopped to take in the views and some pictures too.

From the summit of Cupid Peak.
Looking towards the south.
Looking towards the northeast.

Now it was time to continue the journey up to the summit of Grizzly Peak. But before that, something weird happened. As I was hiking, I began to hear two people laugh but there was not a soul anywhere to be found. After about 20 minutes or so, I finally encountered two people who were further down the trail.

I did question my sanity in that brief span of time as I had worked all night before I set out on this hike. Nonetheless, I kept hiking further up the trail towards Grizzly Peak with what felt like a constant 30 mile per hour wind somewhat slowing me down.

Looking out towards Grizzly Peak.

Aside from the wind, it was turning out to be a spectacular day. Amazingly, no thunderstorms formed nearby either.

Getting closer now!
Such a peaceful view.
Almost to the fun part!
Navigating through the rocky portion.

Grizzly Peak

At an elevation of 13,427 feet, the views atop Grizzly Peak are pretty unique in that you can see the two nearby 14ers of Torreys Peak and Grays Peak. While I was sitting at the rock shelter, I could see numerous people hiking up to the summit of those mountains. I was just happy to have the summit of Grizzly Peak all to myself that morning.

The rock shelter at the summit.
The nearby mountains.
Looking out towards the Dillon Reservoir.
Great view of Grays and Torreys Peaks.
One last pic before departing.

Before heading back down towards my car, I was lucky to find some mountain goat fur only a short distance from the summit. Definitely was not expecting that.

The Return Trip

Given how tired I was at that point, I’m pretty glad that it was an uneventful hike back down to my car.

Descending Grizzly Peak.
Looking back up at the rocky section.
Hanging out with a marmot.
Scattered clouds and mountains.
So close yet so far away from my car.

Overall, this turned out to be a great hike on a perfect summer day. I’m glad I took advantage of the great weather to get out and summit a couple of 13ers that I can now add to my growing list of mountains that I have reached the summit of.

Pegmatite Points

On the first Tuesday of August, I woke up and decided to pick a somewhat easy hike for the day. I figured it was time to do some more exploring in the Mount Evans Wilderness. And with that decision in mind, I found myself at the Deer Creek trailhead outside of Bailey, Colorado.

Here’s some more info about my hike that day:

  • Date: August 6th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 9.9 Miles
  • Route: Tanglewood Trail via Mount Evans Wilderness

Getting There

Both the Pegmatite Points and Rosalie Peak are accessible by the Deer Creek Trailhead. Interestingly enough, you can find this trailhead by typing in Tanglewood trails on Google Maps. Personally, I like this trailhead as it is set back in the woods pretty far away from everything and you can also hear the creek as soon as you get out of the car.

The Route

From the trailhead, the route up to Pegmatite Points is very easy to follow. Early on, I crossed a bridge that goes over Tanglewood Creek and just stood on the bridge taking it all in. I had the feeling that it was going to be a good day.

Tanglewood Creek.

From there, I followed the trail up the creek until I came to a junction where the Tanglewood trail and Rosalie trail meet. It is very important that you keep going straight on the Tanglewood trail at this point.

Before you cross into the Mount Evans Wilderness, you will want to make sure that you fill out a free wilderness permit and keep it with you for the rest of your hike.

Heading up the Tanglewood Trail.
A sign welcoming you to the Mount Evans Wilderness.

For the first several miles, the hike is pretty mellow and just follows along Tanglewood Creek. At times, parts of the creek run onto parts of the trail but these can easily be avoided. Before reaching treeline, I encountered some nice switchbacks but they didn’t really last too long.

Going up through the switchbacks.

Once above treeline, the views opened up dramatically as the woods down below come into view. Additionally, the surrounding peaks also start to become more visible.

Peaceful view.
Looking west.

The switchbacks continue well above treeline until I reached the saddle between Rosalie Peak and Pegmatite Points. At this point, it was really starting to get hot as the afternoon sun was directly above me. At the saddle, Rosalie Peak is accessible by going right while the Pegmatite Points are off to the left.

Beautiful view on a beautiful August day.
A steep rock face just below Rosalie Peak.
The Pegmatite Points!

From far away, the Pegmatite Points really don’t look all that imposing. But once up close, I encountered some fun sections that required some easy scrambling until I finally reached the summit.

False summit.
Scrambling fun.

The Summit

With the summit at 12,227 feet, the views are just remarkable. Rosalie Peak looked so breathtaking and Denver is even visible way off to the east too. I sat up there and ate my lunch taking it all in for awhile. It didn’t even seem real.

Rosalie Peak from Pegmatite Points.
Another summit view looking out into the surrounding wilderness.
The valley below.

The Return Trip

With some more clouds starting to roll in, it seemed like it was good time to pack up and head back down towards the trailhead. But I simply had to take some more photos on the way back.

A stream crossing.
Heading through the woods.
I could sit here all day.

Although it was an uneventful trip back, it was so serene and peaceful out there. I really didn’t want to leave at all. Nature is just so amazing!

Until next time!

Four Peak Monday

After working my 12 hour shift from Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning, most people would probably go to bed. But not me. I had much different plans for my Monday and none of them involved spending my day off sleeping.

With that in mind, I made my way out to Berthoud Pass to begin what turned out to be a pretty remarkable day. Here’s some more info about my hike:

  • Date: August 5th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 13.6 Miles
  • Route: Mount Flora, Mount Eva, Witter Peak and Parry Peak via Continental Divide Trail

Getting There

Berthoud Pass is easily accessible off of US Highway 40 just outside of Winter Park, Colorado. Their is plenty of parking too.

The Route

From Berthoud Pass, I headed up to the summit of 13,146 foot Mount Flora and made it up there pretty quickly. It was pretty foggy that morning with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms developing later on.

Morning fog near the summit of Mount Flora.

From there, I made my way over to 12,884 foot Witter Peak which is on the way to Mount Eva. At the point, the fog was beginning to dissipate revealing a peaceful morning. I only encountered a handful of people in the eight hours that I spent out in the wilderness that day too.

Witter Peak in the distance.
From the summit of Witter Peak looking east towards Denver.
The view to the south.

After taking a quick break atop Witter Peak, it was time to continue on. Upon walking back to where I had originally veered off trail, I chose to continue further on towards the summit of 13,130 foot Mount Eva. It was pretty uneventful and before long I was signing my name in the summit register and taking in the views of the surrounding area.

Took a quick moment to relax and reflect on life.
Debris from an old building on Mount Eva.

After reaching the summit of three mountains that day, I simply was not content so I continued on my journey towards Parry Peak. At this point, thunderstorm clouds were beginning to form far off to the north. I figured I would make it quick and then retrace my steps back down towards the trailhead.

Parry Peak.

As I was making my way up Parry Peak, I was starting to definitely get tired but the end was in sight! So I soldiered on. But damn I was so relieved when I finally made it to the summit of 13,392 foot Parry Peak. I sat down at one of the rock shelters and ate nearly all of the food that I had brought with me. It was pretty amazing to be up there looking down and marveling at how small Winter Park actually looked.

Near the summit of Parry Peak looking back towards Mount Eva and Mount Flora.
Several rock shelters atop Parry Peak.
Looking north towards the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Winter Park.

The Return Trip

With storm clouds rolling in, it was soon time to head back. But it wasn’t that easy. Although all of these mountains are connected by rolling tundra, hiking back required reaching the summits of both Mount Eva and Mount Flora again in order to get back to Berthoud Pass. My calves were definitely burning when all was said and done.

Mount Eva straight ahead.
Looking back at Parry Peak from the lower slopes of Mount Eva.
Thunderstorms moving in to the north while I was descending Mount Flora.

Reaching the summit of four different mountains in one day was an incredible experience. I’ll never forget it. And by the time Monday night rolled around, I was definitely happy to go to bed for the first time in two days!

July 2019 Review

As I look back on the month of July, I’m pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish. I got out and hiked on eleven different occasions throughout the course of the month. Here’s a quick look at what I was up to:

  • July 1st: Mount Sniktau (13er)- 3.5 Miles
  • July 2nd: Centennial Cone Park- 12.5 Miles
  • July 4th: Pikes Peak (14er)- 14 Miles
  • July 8th: Deer Creek Canyon Park- 2.65 Miles
  • July 9th: Vasquez Peak (12er)- 12.4 Miles
  • July 14th: Loveland Pass Lake- 1 Mile
  • July 16th: Mount Evans Wilderness- 14.85 Miles
  • July 22nd: Bear Peak- 5.7 Miles
  • July 23rd: Mount Parnassus (13er) and Woods Mountain (12er)- 7.9 Miles
  • July 29th: Lily Mountain- 3.8 Miles
  • July 30th: Herman Lake- 6.8 Miles
  • Total Miles Hiked in July 2019: 85.1 Miles
  • Total Miles Hiked in 2019 so far: 309.54 Miles

Overall, I hiked to the summit of one 14er, two 13ers and two 12ers. In addition to that, I hiked to the summit of some smaller peaks on those mornings that I got off work and still had some energy. I originally planned on writing a post about Bear Peak near Boulder but scrapped that due to the fact that it was so foggy that entire morning.

For my hike on July 16th, I ended up getting most of the way to Abyss Lake before I somehow took a wrong turn. But I ended up finding an excellent spot to meditate! That in itself made it all worth it.

Aside from that, I figured I would share some more photos that I took throughout the month:

Above treeline while hiking to the summit of Pikes Peak.
Taken during a hike to Vasquez Peak.
Loveland Pass Lake.
Mount Evans Wilderness meditation spot.
Fern Canyon on the way up to Bear Peak.
The view atop Watrous Gulch.

I’m both glad and thankful that I was able to get out and explore throughout July 2019. Not only did I see a lot of cool places, I also feel like I experienced some self growth as well.

Herman Lake

On a cloudy Tuesday morning at the end of July, I set out on another adventure. In about an hour, I found myself parked at the Herman Gulch trailhead yet again for the second Tuesday in a row. This time, I decided to take the hike up to Herman Lake via the Herman Gulch trail. Here’s some more info:

  • Date: July 30th, 2019
  • Route: Herman Gulch Trail to Herman Lake
  • Mileage: 6.8 Miles

Getting There

The Herman Gulch trailhead is easily accessible by taking exit 218 off of Interstate 70. Their is plenty of parking but it does tend to fill up quickly on weekends.

The Route

For this particular hike, I simply followed the Herman Gulch trail all the way until I reached Herman Lake. It’s very well traveled and easy to follow.

Beginning of the Herman Gulch trail.

What surprised me right away was the amount of avalanche debris all over the place. Numerous trees had been uprooted and large boulders have been moved a considerable distance as well.

Avalanche debris

After passing through the avalanche debris area, I then encountered a large field of columbines. They were literally growing all over the place. The trail itself continues to go in and out of the woods with some areas being pretty wet while other parts had a ton of tree roots everywhere.

Large field of columbines.
Columbine close up.
Lots of tree roots.

Pretty soon, the mountains directly behind Herman Lake come into view. They just look so majestic for some reason. It continued to get even more cloudy to the point that I nearly turned around. I’m glad I didn’t though!

Storm clouds brewing.
Getting closer to Herman Lake.

Once I got closer to the lake, it was starting to sprinkle but I figured that their was no sense in turning around. Not only that, but I simply couldn’t turn around with so many amazing views all around me. A few minutes later, I reached the lake and was very surprised to see only one other person.

Looking back down towards the trailhead.
Herman Lake
A close up view of Herman Lake.

Originally, I intended to hike up to the summit of Pettingell Peak from the lake but with dark clouds continuing to build it seemed like a good idea to just turn around. Their is absolutely no point in putting yourself in danger to the point that you could potentially become a statistic. And I made the right choice!

The Return Trip

On this particular occasion, the trip back from Herman Lake was rather uneventful. Despite the weather, more people were beginning to head up the trail. This didn’t really surprise me given the fact that the trail is very heavily trafficked.

One last departing shot.

Once I got back towards the bottom near the trailhead, the sun began to fight through the clouds. I also took a few minutes to sit by the creek.

The creek was roaring!!

It was definitely a nice and relaxing hike! I totally recommend making the hike to Herman Lake if you haven’t done it already.

Mount Parnassus and Woods Mountain

On a sunny late July morning, I headed out for yet another cool hiking adventure. On this particular occasion, I set out to summit both 12,940 foot Woods Mountain as well as 13,579 foot Mount Parnassus. By my standards, it was a relatively easy day. Here’s some more information:

  • Date Hiked: July 23rd, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 7.9 Miles
  • Route: Watrous Gulch Trail to Woods Mountain and west slopes of Mount Parnassus
  • Class: 2

Getting There

The Herman Gulch trailhead is accessible by taking exit 218 off of Interstate 70. As soon as you go down the exit ramp, you will want to take two quick right turns and go on a dirt road. Plenty of parking can be found here, but definitely get there early if you plan on going during the weekend!

The Route

From the beginning of the Herman Gulch trail, I reached the intersection where both the Herman Gulch and Watrous Gulch trails split apart from each other and continued up the Watrous Gulch trail.

Where the trails intersect.

Below treeline, the trail is surrounded by a lot of trees and is pretty relaxing. The further up I started to get, I noticed that it does get pretty steep rather early on. Upon reaching a small creek, I was also greeted with a large uprooted tree!

Large uprooted tree.
The trail among the trees.

Before too long, the trees start to thin out. The surrounding area starts to come into view with remarkable views of nearby 14er Torreys Peak too.

Looking to the south towards Torreys Peak.

It was really turning out to be a nice morning. With nothing but blue skies around, I continued up the Watrous Gulch trail and made a quick stream crossing to stay on the trail. Right after the stream crossing, I came to another intersection for the Bard Creek trail but continued on the Watrous Gulch trail for a good while after that. You can still reach the summit of Mount Parnassus if you do end up taking the Bard Creek trail too.

Watrous Gulch.
Working my way up towards Woods Mountain.

Finally, I found myself out of the woods and above treeline. I probably say it all the time, but being above treeline and among the mountains is unlike anything else.

Looking back to the south.

Now, it was time to head up the southern slopes of Woods Mountain. An easier route does exist but it seemed pretty circuitous at the time. Nonetheless, I found myself on the trail at the top of the ridge before too long anyway.

I went straight up from this point.
Looking back down towards where I came up the mountain.
The trail on top of the ridge.

From this ridge, I continued east until I reached the summit of Woods Mountain. I took a well deserved break at the summit before continuing onto Mount Parnassus. Even from here, it was pretty awesome to look around at all of the neighboring peaks and see the ones that I have already reached the summit of.

Woods Mountain Summit

The views of other nearby 13ers was pretty remarkable as well!

Looking over towards Mount Parnassus and Bard Peak.
Looking out to the west towards Pettingell Peak and The Citadel.

After pondering for awhile and admiring the remarkable landscape, I picked a line and started to make my way up the western slopes of Mount Parnassus. The sun was starting to beat down but was nothing a little bit of sunscreen couldn’t handle!

Starting the journey up Mount Parnassus.
Almost to the summit!

The Summit

The summit of Mount Parnassus is just downright amazing. The route to nearby Bard Peak and Engelmann Peak becomes visible.

Mount Parnassus Summit.
Looking over towards Grays and Torreys Peaks.
Looking west.

The views in every direction were remarkable. And I figure that I probably spent more than thirty minutes at the summit. But it was getting closer to noon so it seemed like it was time to head back down in the direction of the trailhead.

The Return Trip

On the way down Mount Parnassus, I hiked towards the saddle between Woods Mountain and Mount Parnassus. From there, I headed for one of the side trails that cut off from the main trail up Watrous Gulch. But don’t worry I took a lot of pictures along the way back!

Looking up towards Woods Mountain.
Love this one.
The trail down to Watrous Gulch.

Overall, this hike was splendid. It had amazing scenery with remarkable views in every direction. I’d recommend it and look forward to doing it again sometime.

Vasquez Peak

Hiking through the Vasquez Peak Wilderness in order to reach 12,947 foot Vasquez Peak was certainly one hell of an adventure. It tested my stamina with the constant elevation change but I embraced the challenge. In fact, this hike was even referred to as the hardest hike in Grand County, Colorado. Here’s some more information:

  • Date Hiked: July 9th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 12.4 Miles
  • Route: Berthoud Pass via the Continental Divide Trail and Stanley Mountain

Getting There

Berthoud Pass is easily accessible from US Route 40 and offers some incredible hiking along the Continental Divide. The trail is on the west side of the road, so be careful and look both ways when crossing because it’s pretty much a blind curve!

The Route

The first part of this route follows the Continental Divide Trail and nearly reaches the summit of Stanley Mountain. But it’s all uphill for a little while until you get up onto the divide!

Not a cloud in the sky that morning!
The view once you get onto the Continental Divide Trail.

Now this is the part where things start to get interesting. Once I reached Stanley Mountain, it was time to descend to Vasquez Pass which is nearly 800 feet lower in elevation and quite steep. This part took what seemed like an eternity too.

At the beginning of the steep part.
The view from Vasquez Pass looking west.

From Vasquez Pass, I then went up the steep unnamed peak that is directly to the north of Stanley Mountain. It was pretty treacherous given the fact that a considerable amount of snow was still around.

Heading up the steep unnamed peak.
Looking back at Stanley Mountain.

Eventually, Vasquez Peak started to come more into view. But their was still plenty of work to be done!

Vasquez Peak!

At this point, it starts to flatten out a little bit before one more decent uphill section before reaching the summit. Even in early July when I hiked this, a lot of snow could still be found on the surrounding mountains.

The surrounding mountains.
Just below the summit.

Reaching the summit was definitely a welcome and much earned site!

The Summit

The summit.

The wind at the summit was absolutely ridiculous. It was gusting the entire 30 minutes that I was just sitting up there taking in the scenery. But it was so worth it.

Another summit view.

Before long, I was on my way again and wondering if I would see any other people or wildlife in the next several hours.

The Return Trip

So I attempted to retrace my steps back but somehow took a wrong turn and found myself surrounded by snow. But I wasn’t worried and chose to slide down through it using my backpack.

Looking back at Vasquez Peak.
One last zoom in photo of the mountain peaks off to the west.
Where I slid down from.
The snowy area I got through.

I figure the trip back took about four hours. All of the continuous up and down hiking was starting to make me tired. But I persevered and got through it. I guess I didn’t realize just how steep the majority of this hike was until I was about to start descending the unnamed peak.

Looking over at Stanley Mountain on the way back.
To truly give you an idea about how steep this section is. Not for the faint of heart!
One last picture before I began the long journey back to Stanley Mountain.

About an hour and a half later, I was finally back on the Continental Divide Trail and pretty close to the summit of Stanley Mountain. I was beginning to walk away when I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. And sure enough I was right! A mountain goat was lurking below the summit of Stanley Mountain enjoying the peaceful summer afternoon.

Looking back at the unnamed peak while nearly to the top of Stanley Mountain.
Mountain Goat living the high life!

After finally departing from Stanley Mountain, the remainder of the hike back to my car at Berthoud Pass was rather uneventful. That stroll on the flat tundra and a few downhill sections allowed me to just put it in cruise control and relax.

One last look back at Vasquez Peak from the Continental Divide Trail.

Overall, it took me about 8 hours to complete. Additionally, I would recommend starting very early because most of this hike is completely exposed above treeline.

As I look back on it, this route to Vasquez Peak was both mentally and physically demanding. I am glad I challenged myself and conquered it!

Deer Creek Canyon Park

On a peaceful and sunny Monday morning, I decided to drive down the street and visit Deer Creek Canyon Park. It was pretty quiet with only several people around for most of the time I was out there. Here’s some more info about my hike that day:

  • Date Hiked: July 8th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 2.65 Miles
  • Route: Meadowlark Trail to Plymouth Creek Trail

For this hike, I made a nice little loop. Starting up on the Meadowlark trail is a nice set of steps that eventually lead you through a forest area.

Heading up the Meadowlark Trail.

Pretty soon, the trail starts to go up the side of a mountain with the help of some switchbacks. The views of the red rock formations quickly become visible. Also, a thunderstorm was starting to build just to the west of the park despite it being 11am.

View of the red rocks.
A storm forming to the west.

For it being a short hike, it definitely was pretty scenic. The views of Denver are pretty remarkable and it’s just enough of a workout to feel satisfying.

Further up the Meadowlark Trail.
Looking out towards Denver.

With the storm bearing down, I decided it was time to head back to the trailhead. At this point, the storm was pretty close with cloud to ground lightning becoming visible nearby.

Heading down the Plymouth Creek trail.

Although I didn’t get to hike as much as I wanted, I was perfectly alright with that. Just being able to visit this park always proves to be a nice retreat. I say this because they close this park a lot, especially when it gets extremely muddy.

Overall, this is definitely one of the more enjoyable open space parks near Denver and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Pikes Peak

On July 4th, I got to do something I had always wanted to do for the longest time. And that is to climb Pikes Peak on Independence Day! While most people were fast asleep, Danielle and I were on our way to the trailhead around 3am that morning in order to get a good early start as well as a decent parking spot. Here’s some more info about the hike:

  • Date Hiked: July 4th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 14 Miles
  • Route: Northwest Slopes via the Crags Trail. Class 2
  • Total Elevation Change: 4,300 Feet
  • Summit Elevation: 14,115 Feet

Getting There

The shortest route up Pikes Peak is accessed from the Crags Trailhead located not too far from Divide, Colorado. While driving on US Route 24, you will want to keep an eye out for Colorado 67 as it does come up rather quickly.

After turning onto Colorado 67 and driving for about four miles, stay on it until after you pass Mueller State Park and you will see a dirt road on the left side that you will want to take. This dirt road is windy and will take you through the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp on the way to the trailhead parking lot about three miles later.

The Journey

Shortly after 5:30am, we began the journey to the summit. The trail starts out crossing the peaceful Fourmile Creek and it felt tranquil to walk through the forest as many birds were beginning to sing.

Fourmile Creek at the start of the trail.

After a couple miles, the trail begins to get noticeably steeper. It was also pretty cool to be up at the edge of treeline right as the sun was beginning to rise.

The sun beginning to rise on July 4th, 2019.
The view to the west a little later.

Pretty soon, we found ourselves above treeline. The views were starting to really open up now. More people were also starting to ascend the trail too. Slowly but steadily, we were making progress towards Devil’s Playground!

Danielle ascending through one of the steeper areas above treeline.
Pretty nice above treeline.
The trail as it zigzags through the terrain.

Hiking above treeline was a lot of fun throughout this hike. The scenery always seemed to be changing and it was just truly remarkable to finally be able to experience it.

The trail as it goes through some cool rock formations.

When we reached the Devil’s Playground, the trail began to get a lot more interesting. While staying parallel to the road to the summit, the trail starts to get much more rockier and the summit even comes into view too. Only one patch of snow was still on the trail, but it was pretty easy to hike through it.

Looking out towards the surrounding smaller peaks with the plains in the distance.
They call them the Rocky Mountains for a reason.
The route ahead.
The Pikes Peak road down below.

The final portion of the hike just below the summit definitely requires a lot of good concentration in order to stay on the trail. Although cairns lead the way, we made sure to take our time during this stretch.

Finally getting close!

And after what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the summit!

The Summit

The views at the top are just so incredible. To the east, Colorado Springs and endless views of the plains are visible. And to the west, the views of nothing but mountains greets you. Being at the summit of America’s mountain was truly a remarkable feeling and we were just so proud of ourselves for actually getting out and making it to the summit.

We stayed up on the summit for about an hour and went into the Pikes Peak Summit House to eat some Cheeseburgers before heading back outside to take some more photos.

Looking to the northeast.
We even made custom shirts for this remarkable occasion!

The Return Trip

We left the summit at a perfect time because a thunderstorm was beginning to develop directly over Colorado Springs. About 45 minutes after we had left the summit, the storm would continue to grow and eventually move up and over the top of the peak.

Luckily, we were far enough away when all of that happened!

Further down, we also saw a mountain goat hanging in a super steep area.

A mountain goat hanging out.
Love this photo!

The only thing I regret about this whole excursion was forgetting to bring sunscreen.

But aside from that, it was truly a July 4th I’ll never forget!