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  • Best Lake Hikes by Denver

    While hiking, I usually like to end up on top of a summit, a lake, or waterfall. I've written about some of these hikes before, but I wanted to put all of the lake hikes together for you. All of these hikes are 1-2 hours away from Denver and great for a day hike. During summer, take a dip in them and winter try not to freeze your ass off and enjoy the sunshine. Have fun out there and be safe! Lake Isabelle, 6.6 miles (10.6 miles in winter), moderate You need a permit to park at Brainard Lake Recreation area during the summer months. Go to for a timed entry ticket. The road is closed now for the season, so it add 4 miles, making it over 10 miles. It is so worth it though. The jagged mountains as the backdrop make this place truly special. During the summer, the water is a beautiful color. Bring your favorite snacks for a picnic, and stop by Knotted Root Brewing on your way home. Chicago Lakes, 11.3 miles, difficult I like this trail because you start at Echo Lake, and continue to see lakes the entire way. It is pretty difficult during the winter, so sometimes I'll just hike to the reservoir (about half way) if there's a lot of snow. There are great views along the whole way, and it's a beautiful drive there! Loch Lomond, 4.6 miles, moderate The first part of the trail is a 4 wheel drive road, so you'll need a high clearance vehicle unless you want to hike a little more. The lake and waterfall at the top is gorgeous, and it's not too far from Denver. If you go during the fall, the drive is perfect. Herman Gulch, 6.4 miles, difficult This is one of my favorite hikes. During the summer, there's a lot of wildflowers. Be careful in the winter because there is avalanche danger. It has amazing views the whole way, and right off I-70 before the tunnel. Bring your doggo and sit by the lake for awhile! You can stop by Idaho Springs on your way home for a bite! Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, and Lake Haiyaha, 6 miles, moderate There are so many great hikes in RMNP, but I would have to say these are some of my favorite. You can easily hit up five hikes in this out and back. Dream Lake and Lake Haiyaha are my favorite. Dream Lake is one of the most iconic lakes in Colorado, and is fun to hike in all seasons. Lake Haiyaya has an awesome lime green or bright turquoise color from the recent rockslide. You need a timed entry ticket during the busier months, along with a day or annual pass. I strongly recommend getting an Annual National Parks Pass. It pays for itself! Lily Lake and Lake Dillon, 3.3 miles, moderate This is an easier hike in Frisco that is also right off of I-70. It's beautiful during fall, and the lake at the end is a great spot for a picnic or dip. There are many trails off of it that are fun too. Lake Dillon is across the highway, and the Perimeter Trail around is worth checking out. You can swim there too during the summer months. Crater Lake and Forest Lakes, 7.4 and 6.4 miles, moderate These lakes start out at the same trailhead, from the South Boulder Creek Trail (right next to the Moffat Tunnel). There's tons of parking here, especially compared to many of the hiking trails around Nederland. I love Lost Lake, but parking can be a nightmare. There is also Heart Lake from this trailhead, which is over 10 miles. All our great, and I would recommend them all. Crater Lakes is my personal favorite. Check out the cool waterfall there too! You can even backpack and camp by the lakes. You just need a permit. I highly recommend these hikes in the winter too. Just make sure you bring the proper equipment and attire! Abyss and Helms Lake, 16.7 miles, difficult Ok, only do this hike if you're crazy. I've mentioned in this another post, but it is long. I would only do this hike if you're mentally prepared and have the time. It's worth mentioning though because I loved it, and even swam in the 2nd lake. It was freezing but felt great after hiking over 8 miles. I love this area. You can also backpack in this area! DM me on Instagram if you have any questions!

  • Fall Hikes Near Denver

    Fall is here! I went for a hike last weekend in Frisco, and the leaves were just starting to change. That means this week, they will be at their peak. I've put a list of hikes together for you to go explore this month. Get out there before the leaves change! Note these hikes are all in Colorado, relatively close to Denver. Lily Pad Lake, 3.3 miles, easy/moderate. This is my new favorite fall hike. It's located in Frisco, about an hour away from Denver. Note, it did take us three hours to get back on a fun. It is right off the highway, full of Aspens, and has a pretty lake at the end. It was so relaxing to be at the lake, and I was in awe of the leaves during the whole hike. Some of the best aspens I've seen. Also, a is across the highway from one of the best Colorado breweries, Outer Range. Grab some poke tots, a chicken sandwich, and the fried rice. They also have an outstanding coffee bar, and of course great beer. Royal Mountain, 3.9 miles, difficult. This is another great hike by Frisco. It is steep and challenging, but you get great views of the town, lake, and obviously leaves. Bring poles if you have them, and plenty of water. Abyss Trail, 11.7 miles, difficult. There are many trails in this area I would recommend. You can go to Abyss Lake or Helms Lake. All are great. It is a longer trail, but totally worth it. The aspens really start to get good after two miles, so be patient. This trail is located by the Mount Evan Wilderness, just off of 285. Lost Lake, 4 miles, easy/moderate. The Nederland area is also one of my favorite areas to not only hike year round, but also for fall. This trailhead gets especially busy, so I definitely recommend getting to the lot super early. If you get to the parking lot and it is full, go to Crater or Forrest Lakes for other great options. That parking lot is large, so you shouldn't have a problem finding a spot. Hit up Knotted Root Brewing after your hike and enjoy the sunshine and all of the pups that hang out there. Golden Gate Canyon State Park This whole park has plenty of amazing hikes to do for fall. Horseshoe Trail to Frazer Meadow, Raccoon Trail, Blackbear/Horseshoe Loop, and Panorama Point Trail are all solid options. They do charge a fee to enter the park. You can purchase a pass at the Visitor Center, at the Reverends Ridge Campground Office, or at the cash-only self serve stations. I would recommend bringing cash with you to be safe. Kenosha Pass Any hikes in this area are going to be prime. That means there will be a lot of traffic. I would not go on a Sunday if possible, and definitely try to go on a weekday if you can. The Colorado Trail off Kenosha Pass is one of my go to's for fall. You can trail run, take pictures, and if you get a couple miles out-it usually isn't too busy. 14ers: Huron, Wilson Peak, and Antero. This time of year is still usually prime for 14ers. It could also snow 5 feet, so always check conditions and weather before you go! My favorite 14ers for foliage is Huron, Wilson Peak (the drive alone here is wonderful but far from Denver), and Antero. Also, you get to see the fall leaves from 14,000 feet up too, which is pretty amazing. I hope you enjoy these hikes. Get out there and enjoy truly the best time of year to hike. DM me if you have any questions on Instagram @ali_is_outdoors

  • End of Summer Hikes

    As we near the end of the summer, I start to the feel the anxiety of trying to get as many hikes in as possible. But in reality, we still have two more months of amazing weather. This is the best time to hike in Colorado. This summer has had crazy monsoons, which has really put a damper in my 14er finishing. But, I've still managed to find some hikes that I really enjoy, that I hope you do too! Lone Eagle Peak (Cascade Creek Trail to Mirror Lake and Crater Lake), 16 miles (moderate). This is one of my absolute favorites in Colorado. Lone Eagle Peak itself, looks like a fairytale. It is a long slog to the lakes and peak, but you pass by waterfalls and many aspen leaves. I would even save this one for when the leaves are starting to change, and bring lots of snacks. You can reserve camping spots here too, and backpack in! Shrine Ridge Trail, 4.3 miles (moderate). I just discovered this one and loved it! I watched the sunset at the top of Shrine Mountain, and had to run down in the dark but it was definitely worth it. This hike is at the top of Vail Pass, and I've heard there are many other good trails and camping up there. At the top, there are some really interesting rock formations, and hiking along the ridge is cool. You have great views of Mt. Holy Cross and the rest of the Sawatch Range at the top. Loch Lomond Trail, 4.6 miles (moderate). You need a four wheel drive for this one, or it adds about 2 extra miles. It has a few lakes alongside the trail. It is a great hike not too far from Denver, with great views. Lily Pad Lake, 3.3 miles (moderate). This hike is right outside of Frisco. You basically hop right off of I-70 and you're there. The lake is full of wildflowers, views of Frisco, and lily pads. It's right by Outer Range too, which is why I chose this hike in the first place. Weller Lake, 1.1 miles (easy). This hike is right outside of Aspen, after Independence Pass. It's short and sweet, with a great lake. People were swimming and brought paddle boards. I loved it! Independence Pass Ridgeline, 4.7 miles (moderate). I did this one on the way home from Aspen, and I'm glad I did. It starts at Independence Pass and then follows the ridgeline along the mountains. It has spectacular views. Just don't forget your coat, it was very windy! Hit up Buchi in Leadville on your way home for the best Cubanos in Colorado. Mount Sniktau, 4 miles (difficult). This is a perfect 13er to start more challenging mountains. It is one of the easier ones to tackle. The elevation gain is no joke, especially in the beginning. Once you get to the ridgeline, it is less steep. There are great views of Grizzly and Cupid Peak, Torreys, and a turquoise lake. The parking lot is small, so get there early! I hope you try these hikes and enjoy them like I did! Most of these trails have great camping by them too. Don't forget to start these hikes early for parking and storm purposes. Get out there and have fun these last months of summer.

  • Preparing for More Difficult 14ers

    So you are ready to tackle some more difficult 14ers? When I first started doing 14ers, I thought I would never do the more challenging ones. When I saw pictures of Maroon Bells or stomach tied in knots and I started to panic. But then I did Wetterhorn, and then Longs...and I found myself loving these 14ers the best. I loved both the mental and physical challenge of them, the planning, and of course the excitement. If you do your research, go with the right hiking partners, and build up your confidence by hiking some intermediate 14ers first-you will find yourself ready to take on the more challenging ones. I am no expert by any means. I am still currently trying to complete them all (I only have five left!). But, I do get a lot of questions and help many friends trying to complete the 14ers, so I have a lot of insight. Friends have helped me in the past and been a huge resource, and I would love to do the same for you. If you have any specific questions, please reach out on Instagram and DM me! The following 14ers are ones I would recommend for starting to tackle your more spicy 14ers. These are Class 3, and start getting into more scrambling, route finding, and exposure. I personally don't mind exposure, but hate steep scree. Everyone is different however, but I always use the rating systems as follows: Class 1: Easy hiking, usually on a well defined trail Class 2: More difficult hiking that may be off-trail (might need to use your hands). Class 3: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. More route finding required. Class 4: Climbing. Must utilize handholds and footholds. Falls can be fatal. Class 5: Technical climbing. This could be considered rock climbing and with use of ropes. So, after you get some of the Sawatch range under your belt, or have practiced scrambling or bouldering-these are the 14ers I suggest to get some experience under your belt. Also this is where you should consider buying a Garmin, pack an Emergency pack, really study the route, download an offline map, go with experienced friends who you trust, and of course use your common sense (yes I have to say this). Also don't forget, once you climb any Class 3, wear a helmet! Rockfall can be very dangerous! Use for maps, pictures, routes, reviews, and so many other amazing resources. Wetterhorn Peak, Class 3, 7 miles, 3,300 elevation gain Wetterhorn is one of my favorite 14ers. There are walls to climb up, but on mostly sturdy rocks and there are amazing views. The route finding is challenging, but definitely doable. The exposure is great, but I never found myself too scared. I did see some hikers stop before the wall by the summit, but this one is a great introduction to Class 3. Study the pictures on, practice your scrambling, and take in all of the beauty! Windom Peak, Difficult Class 2, 17 miles, 6,000 feet elevation gain This one requires a long backpacking trip and a train! There are four 14ers in the Chicago Basin area. It is the most beautiful place I have ever laid my eyes on. Mt. Eolus, North Eolus, and Sunlight are also located here. All but Sunlight, are great 14ers to practice on. These require more route finding because of them being so remote. Also it is 6 miles to hike in from the train, so Windom is really only 2.5 miles from camp. I got off route a couple of times, but with a good hiking partner, we reassessed and found the correct way after studying maps. There is some fun climbing, tons of mountain goats, and some of the most remote mountains in Colorado. Don't forget to buy your train tickets in advance because they sell out! The train ticket (for now) act as a permit to backpack and camp in Chicago Basin. Longs Peak, (Keyhole Route), Class 3, 14.5 miles, 5,100 feet elevation gain This one is crowded. Many people die. I am not saying it's not dangerous, but a lot of people attempt this 14er making really bad decisions. Another thing to understand, is some really experience hikers die on 14ers like this. When attempting any 14er, you have to accept that getting seriously injured or dying is a possibility. I know this sounds morbid, but trust me I would not climb 14ers if I didn't think it was worth it. Ok back to Longs...there is exposure but plenty of solid rock with handholds-and of course the infamous bullseyes to keep you on route...and a 100 people to help you if you are in danger. Mt. Sneffels, (South Slopes/Standard), Easy Class 3, 6 miles, 2,900 feet of elevation gain In the most gorgeous mountain town of Ridgway (where I grew up), lies Mt. Sneffels. There are a few amazing routes, but I would start with the standard, south slopes. The steep scree field is intimidating, so just bring poles and your sliding skills. The notch is not as intimidating as everyone says, just take your time and study the pictures. You can see the Blue Lakes from the top, which makes this summit one of the best. Castle and Conundrum Peaks, Difficult Class 2, 14.5 miles, 4,850 feet of elevation gain These two are a great introduction to the Elks, the notoriously dangerous mountain range near Aspen. The rocks break beneath your hands and feet (super important to practice the three points of contact-where you always maintain contact with one hand and two feet). It is steep and long, but really helped me gain more confidence in the mountains. Kit Carson and Challenger, Class 3, 15 miles, 6,250 feet of elevation gain I did these two as my first solo backpacking trip. I was certain a bear was by my tent, I cried at the end in relief of finishing, and it was one of the most challenging hikes I've ever done. However, it was for me, more challenging mentally than physically. Backpack to Willow Lake. It is beautiful and a great stop before the 14ers to gain some rest. I've heard over ten stories of hikers going past the Kit Carson Avenue and missing the turn on the way back, climbing down to some serious Class 5 and having to be STUDY YOUR ROUTE. I almost did it myself to pee, even though I had read this a hundred times. It is steep and requires a lot of route finding, but I did not find the technical parts that challenging. Another great one to get some experience under your belt! Happy 14ering, and enjoy yourself. These more challenging 14ers are the most exhilarating and my absolute favorite activity to do. They give me meaning and are some of the best memories I've ever had. Again, reach out if you have any questions!

  • New Summer Hikes

    Summer is my favorite season to hike! The snow is melting in the higher altitudes, the sun is out longer, and let's face it...warmer weather! I've been getting after it this summer with hiking and I wanted to share some of my hikes with you! I also included some breweries and restaurants that I went to after these hikes that I recommend! Enjoy those wildflowers and happy hiking. Crater Lakes (James Peak Wilderness), 7.4 miles (difficult). I don't know I've lived in Colorado for so long, and have just done this hike last week. It is one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on and it's only a short drive from Denver. There are over three lakes, multiple waterfalls, and wildflowers! You may see wildlife, including moose! This hike has a pretty good incline, so bring lots of water. The parking lot is big which is comforting. Forrest Lakes start from this trailhead too, which is also a nice hike. Go to Knotted Root for some great beer afterwards in Nederland! Mount Flora, 6.2 miles (difficult). This 13er (mountain with an elevation of 13,000 ft. or higher) is great introduction to 13ers and 14ers. It's a short distance, but don't let that fool you. The elevation gain is noticeable and it can be extremely windy at the top. There are great views though and you can even bag Mount Eva (another 13er and adds two more miles) if you're feeling extra spicy. Don't forget to get down the mountain by noon to not run into any thunderstorms and lightning. Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Trail, 8.8 miles (difficult). Another great Nederland hike, this one pacts in the miles and elevation but the lakes at the top make it worthwhile. Once you get to the top of Arapaho Pass, you can go left to Dorothy Lake or right to Caribou Lake. Dorothy Lake is a short distance straight up from the pass, and Caribou Lake is down 1,000 feet. Don't forget you have to go back up the 1,000 feet to get back. My friends got a permit and backpacked at the lake, while I went back up. A shot of whiskey helped me gain this elevation again but it was mentally challenging. Palmer Reservoirs, 4.1 miles (moderate). This hike is just outside of Colorado Springs, It's short and sweet, and has a pretty lake at the end. You can fish here, have a picnic, or walk around the lake. There are some cute restaurants downtown Monument (Black Forest Foods Cafe and Deli) or check out Pike's Peak Brewing Company. Copper Lake, 12 miles (difficult). If you haven't been to Crested Butte, you should definitely plan a trip. It's about a four hour drive from Denver, but the drive is gorgeous and you can stop for lots of good food and bev in BV. I suggest taking Cottonwood Pass from some extra nice views. I was doing some researching and found Copper Lakes. It does not require a permit, and isn't too difficult until the last mile or so. There are about seven designated camping spots around the lake. Number five is where it's at. It sits just above the lake and has trees perfect for hammocks. You can hike up to the East Maroon Pass that goes just above the lake, where there are some of the best wildflowers I've ever seen. You can also go to the Conundrum hot springs from here over Triangle Pass. This hike is extremely difficult, so do your research first! Emerald Lake (Crested Butte), easy (1.7 miles). This is just past the trailhead for Copper Lakes. It is quite busy, so go early to beat the crowds. the lake is very green and there is even a bright red canoe that someone left that you can take out on the lake. If you keep going past the lake, you can get even better views of the Maroon Bells and pretty green valley. We went to Bonez and The Eldo Brewery. Bonez has amazing tacos and margs and Eldo has a good pilsner and Himalaya food. The dumplings there are amazing! Have fun out there, and I hope you enjoy these hikes! Feel free to DM me on Instagram @ali_is_outdoors or FB Alison Goodhart for more details!

  • Colorado 14ers for Beginners

    There are 58 14ers in Colorado. For some weird but amazing reason, many people try to attempt to hike all of them. I am one of those crazy people, and only have five left! I am my most happiest on top of a mountain, especially on a 14er. Maybe it's the lack of oxygen or the high you get after such an accomplishment...either way it an amazing activity that is great for you both mentally and physically. Before you take on your first (or any 14er) there are some tips you should know. No 14er is easy. Experienced hikers have died on some of the "easy" 14ers. If you are coming from another state, especially one with less elevation, then you should take some time to acclimate. Spend a few nights in Colorado, preferably in a place with higher elevation. Drink lots of water and try not to drink alcohol the day before. Bring at least two to three liters of water, plenty of snacks, layers, extra socks, and sunscreen. I would also invest in a Garmin or any kind of device to use in case you get lost or need to call for can save your life. Also bring a friend, always tell someone back home where you are going and when you should be back, just in case they need to call rescue for you. Ok onto the fun part. Now that we are approaching 14er season, I wanted to share my suggestions for starting the 14ers. I am no expert but have done over 55 14er summits in winter, fall, spring, and summer. If you have more questions, feel free to DM me on social media! Also is a super helpful website that has almost all of the info you need including routes you can download, pictures of the whole route, reviews, and now they even how a great app you can download on your phone so you can use it when you don't have service. Also check the conditions of the trail and weather before you go. You typically want to be off the summit and back below tree line by noon because of lightening. If there are thunderstorms predicted before noon, I would save the hike for another's just not worth it. Mount Bierstadt, West Slopes, 7 miles, 2,850 ft. elevation gain, Class 2 This is probably the "easiest" and one of the most popular 14ers. I would highly recommend doing this one first. It is only 7 miles, and there isn't much route finding. I would start no later than 6am, mostly for safety but also because you might not get a parking spot. I've seen moose at the lake, tons of wildflowers, and it is a short drive from Denver. Grays and Torreys, Combination Route, 8.2 miles, 3,600 ft. elevation gain, Class 2 This is a great option because you can bag two 14ers at one time. This does make this a more difficult hike. It's very beautiful and another hike that is not too far from Denver. Bring spikes, I had to use mine in a couple of spots even in June and July. Quandary Peak, East Ridge, 6.8 miles, 3,450 ft. elevation gain, Class 1 I've actually only done this hike in the winter, and it is an easier winter 14er. Not too many miles and just outside of the cool town of Breckenridge. You do have to reserve a permit to park in the lot here, so plan accordingly. The best part of this 14er besides the views, the majestic mountain goats that roam the ridges here frequently. Decalibron Loop: Lincoln, Democrat, Cameron, and Bross, Combo Route, 7.5 miles, 3,700 ft. elevation gain, Class 2 So for this hike, you get four 14ers! Mt. Bross is technically on private land, so be respectful. If you do decide to hike all four, start with Bross first. Going down Bross is not something you want to attempt because it is very steep and slippery. The lake is incredible here and there is lots of camping. You want to especially make sure the weather is good because you don't want to get stuck with weather in-between these mountains. Mount Evans, West Ridge from Summit Lake, 5.5 miles, 2,000 ft. elevation gain, Class 2 This was my first solo 14er, and I would recommend it. So many mountain goats and Summit Lake is gorgeous. You can scramble for practice on this hike too. There is a road you can drive up all the way to the summit, so for your friends that want to meet you at the top but don't want to can give them shit at the summit. Mt. Sherman, Southwest Ridge, 8.5 miles starting at Leavick Site and 5.25 miles starting at the 12,000 ft. gate (most cars can make it here), 2,850 ft. from Leavick Site and 2,100 ft. at 12,000 ft. gate, Class 2 This is a nice shorter one and you can even bag the 13er, Mt. Sheridan, once you get to the saddle. There are a bunch of cool mines along the way, which makes this 14er more unique. A lot of people tackle this one in the winter too, but beware it adds many miles to it. Huron Peak, Northwest Slopes, 10.75 miles from Winfield and 6.5 miles if you have 4 wheel drive, Class 2 The road has improved in the past year, so you can try to make it all the way to the trailhead, but check conditions before you go. There are amazing camping spots along the way, and this is without a doubt one of my favorite 14ers. The views are awesome, it's pretty short, and you can even spot a lot of other 14ers from the top! I loved doing this one in September when the aspen leaves were changing. There are some pretty cool towns surrounding these 14ers. Check out Breckenridge by Quandary, Fairplay by the Mosquito Range, Idaho Springs by Bierstadt and Grays and Torreys, and lastly Leadville or Buena Vista by Huron. Fairplay, or South Park, has an entertaining dive bar where you can grab a decent burger. If you stop in Leadville, go to Buchi Cafe for an incredible Cubano and one of the oldest saloons is across the street. Have fun exploring and I hope you enjoyed these tips!

  • New Favorite Hikes

    It's kind of crazy how many hikes there are in Colorado. I've been trying to do a new hike every weekend and even though I've lived in Colorado most of my life, I still find new ones all the time. In the last month, some friends and I have found some really fun ones. I've definitely found a handful of hikes lately that have become my new favorites! Here they are below! Gill Trail, difficult (9.8 miles). At first I wondered why this hike was rated as hard. Then we got a few miles in. The dirt and rock is super crumbly and slippery. However, it is definitely doable. I would recommend poles and just take your time. Located in Pike National Forest, the trail runs along the South Platte River and is stunning! There are huge boulders along the creek too that are fun to climb on. If it's warm enough out, you can take a dip in the river or have a picnic. We found a cool spot before you turn off towards the Cheeseman Reservoir where the rocks formed a cave and ate snacks. You can also access this trail from the Cheeseman Reservoir side, but really enjoyed the trail along the river. There are ton a people fishing which is fun to watch and the views make this hike one of the best ones in the area. The parking lot fills up quick on the weekends, so get there early. If you go off the trail down towards the water, there are a few great spots to scramble and climb a bit. Bring your bathing suit or fishing pole and don't miss this one! Bergen Peak via Meadow View (loop), difficult (11 miles). This trail wasn't necessary that hard, but just long and has 2,000 feet of elevation gain. I always prefer a loop though over an out and back, so even though the loop adds a mile I prefer this route. Bergen Peak is the highest peak in Evergreen, and a short distance from Denver. It has beautiful views at the top and you can see multiple mountain ranges. The actual top is underwhelming, but there is a fun spot just before that is super rocky that has all the views. Bring some gummy worms and take a seat to rest at these rocks, it's gorgeous. Some say it's a good trail to train for 14ers, and I like it for trail running. Bring spikes if the reviews say there's still snow because it can be steep in some areas. I also enjoyed this one because there is tree cover for those scorchers. Palisade Mountain, moderate (3 miles). says this hike is 2.3 miles, but it was a little over 3. It is quite the trek to drive out to this one, but if you have the whole day and have never seen the Big Thompson Canyon then I would make a day of it. You basically drive to Loveland, and then from there you still have 45 minutes or so. I've never seen the Big Thompson Canyon though and I was in awe! There are a lot of places to pull off the road to see the river in the canyon. We saw bighorn sheep! You wind around some residential areas and a narrow road to get to the trailhead, but it's a pretty drive and well worth it. The hike itself is short and sweet, but is challenging because you gain 1,000 feet. The very last part requires some scrambling, so don't bring anyone that can't handle it. My half dachshund made it though, so unless your a wimp you should make it (I did have to carry him down though). Once you get to the top, you have 360 degree views of Loveland and all the way to Estes Park. Lakeshore Perimeter Trail, easy (5.4 miles) This trail is located by the Frisco Adventure Park and golf courses. It's a solid loop that goes along the Dillon Reservoir for half of the trail. Use your app because there are many trails around there, and it is easy to take the wrong one. You get to walk along the beach and have pretty views of Buffalo and Chief Mountain. I went when there was snow about waist deep in some areas, but I imagine in the summer months it's hot and you can dip your feet in the water. There's also lots of camping around here! And my favorite brewery, Outer Range, is a quick 5 minute drive that you can hit up before you head back home. Crystal City Road #314, moderate (9 miles). I saved the best for last. Ok this hike, is actually a 4x4 road. Rumor has it that during the summer and fall months, it's a real bitch because you have to dodge Jeeps and ATVs. That would annoy me too, so I decided to do it in April. Unless you're a psycho like me, you might not enjoy that either. I had a blast though, and it was probably one of my best days hiking. I dropped the f bomb the whole day because I was postholing (my new trail name given to me because I forgot my snow shoes at Lake Isabelle) BUT it was worth every sinking step. I had poles and spikes, which helped a lot. The views were incredible, and I actually started at 2pm, so on the way back the lighting was magical. I would recommend starting early because it is a long slog. I saw two Jeeps get stuck in the snow in the first mile, but other than that I saw no one. So this time of year is (I think) I great time to go. I did hear a large animal though, but booked it before I could find out what it was. You do pass through an avalanche area, so please read about conditions before you go because it could be extremely dangerous with the steep slopes surrounding both sides of the road. Once you turn the corner and get to the Crystal Mill, you'll be giddy and won't be disappointed by the mill. After seeing it in countless dentist offices and calendars, it was cool to see it in person.

  • Spring Hikes Around Denver

    Many of you have been asking for my favorite spring hikes, so here we go! Spring is a tricky time of year to hike. Trails could be closed due to mud, you have to bring gear for snow and warm weather, and you never know what weather you are going to encounter on the trail. You should always be prepared for it to snow or be 75 degrees, so pack layers! Bring spikes, poles, shoes with traction (that you don't mind getting muddy), and sunscreen. The hikes I mention are usually open year round, but definitely check for closures before you head out. I always check or the open space websites for that county (,, and Please be respectful and do not hike on trails if they are muddy. This causes erosion and kills plants. Stick to concrete trails when there are trail closures. Turkey Trot Trail, 3 miles (moderate). This is a nice loop trail that can easily be done after work when you don't have a ton of time. It is a quick drive from Denver, and you can stop in Morrison for a bite after. There is some elevation gain and great views from the top! This one tends to have snow and ice in some shaded areas, so bring your spikes and poles just in case. Bear Peak via Shadow Canyon Trail, 8.1 miles (difficult). This hike is not for the faint of heart. Start early on this one. There are many ways to complete this hike, but this one is my favorite. It is the tallest peak in the Boulder area, and has excellent views of Boulder and the Flatirons. Many times I have done this hike, it has been foggy, sunny, and raining all in the same hour. Bring plenty of food and water because it does take 5+ hours. And yes, there are bears in this area. Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop, 3.2 miles (difficult). I used to do this hike almost every day I lived in Boulder. It is a quick loop, but has some intense elevation gain. This is a great one to trail run too. There are great views and it is a quick drive from Boulder! Hells Hole Trail, 8 miles (difficult). I thought this trail was extremely difficult, however, I did do it after having a little too much fun the night before (my friend thought it was hard too though). There is a lot of elevation gain the whole time, and there was a ton of snow. Since this trail is more in the mountains, I would definitely bring snowshoes. You won't be mad you brought them. With all of this being said, it was very beautiful and challenging in a good way. We even saw a Snowshoe Hare! Maxwell Falls Lower Trail, 4.4 miles (moderate). This is a nice hike close to Evergreen with a waterfall. The waterfall is mostly covered in snow during the early spring, but towards the end is visible. I like this one because there are many variations (Upper Trail) and it is a loop! Mestaa'ehehe Mountain Trail, 4.1 miles (moderate). This hike is just up a road, so nothing to write home about...except for the VIEWS! You hike up to an old fire tower that overlooks Mount Evans and the surrounding mountains. It is awesome. One of my favorite hikes. You can even rent the fire tower overnight, but I already looked into it and it has a very long waitlist. This is a good one to bring a friend from out of town because it is relatively easy and the payoff is worth it. Eagle's View Trail Loop, 4.2 miles (moderate). I don't know how I missed the Reynolds Ranch County Park this whole time, but it is filled with many awesome trails. This hike is the best though because of the views of the mountains about half way. There's lots of forest, sunshine, and snow. It's a gorgeous hike and I loved it! Rosie Rueter, Incline Challenge Loop, 1.2 miles (moderate). This is the mini incline in Parker! I would say it's about a fourth of the length of the Manitou Incline. I went up three times and ran the loop and it was about 3 miles. This is a fantastic work out, and I did not see anyone when I was there (on a weekday). I hope you enjoy these hikes! Don't let the mud and weather stop you from getting outside! Just bring the right gear and people...and you'll be fine! Thank you to my friends who suggested some of these hikes to me!

  • Winter Hikes Around Denver!

    I used to not hike in the winter. It was too cold, I had to get more gear, and I didn't know how to prepare. Then I learned it wasn't that bad at all. Sure you need more layers, waterproof hiking boots, spikes, and snowshoes...but hey, if that means I get to go outside and not go stir crazy, then I'm in! Below are some of my favorite winter hikes around Denver. Most of them I have done recently, and have enjoyed quite a bit. Always check on for the more recent conditions, and always check the weather before you go. Make sure to pack your emergency kit, snacks, water, and wool layers. Elk Falls. 14.5 miles/8 miles (moderate). Depending on what parking lot you start from, this trail can be pretty mellow or pretty long. The last section down to the falls from the pond are a little treacherous with the snow and ice, but with spikes it was no problem! You pass cool rock formations, beautiful forests, pretty lakes, and if you make it all the way...a giant frozen waterfall! It's located in Staunton State Park, so you will need $10 to enter, but this park is gorgeous. There are many awesome trails in this park and it's not too far from Denver! Hit up the Snowpack Taproom and Pizzeria on your way home for a quick bit and yummy beers on tap! Burning Bear Trail. 7.5 miles (easy). Park at the big lot and then walk down the road a little bit to the trailhead. I like this trail because I hardly ever see anyone on the trail. Perfect if you need some peace and quiet. There are great views of the 13ers and 14ers near by Guanella Pass, and you follow a creek most of the way through the trees. I do this one solo a lot, and it's nice and mellow. Stop by the Shaggy Sheep on your way home for a delicious burger. Chicago Lakes. 11.3 miles (difficult). This trail starts at the beautiful Echo Lake outside of Idaho Springs. You can stop at any lake, or go all of the way to the top at Summit Lake. The trail in the first section is quite steep and has a little exposure, but if you have spikes and poles you will be just fine! Once you get past that section, you pass cute bridges and go through the forest onto other lakes. Do not go all of the way to Summit Lake unless you start early! I love going to Idaho Springs on the way home for a cold beer and pizza from Beau Jo's. Jones Pass. 7.1 miles (moderate). I enjoy this one because it's pretty mellow, and you can really go as far as you'd like. If you go all of the way to the pass, you won't be upset. The views are beautiful and you can watch skiers ski down! If you need a bite on the way home, go to the Guanella Pass Brewing Company. Chavez and Beaver Brook Trail Loop. 5 miles (moderate). I just recently did this hike and loved it! It follows a creek for more than half of the loop and has several stream crossings that have bridges to walk across. It can be a little steep in some areas, so bring your spikes! It's so close to Denver, located in Genesee Park. Devil's Backbone Trail. 5.9 miles (moderate). This one is located just outside of Loveland, and offers some really cool rock formations that look like dinosaur bones. Go to the Devil's Backbone Keyhole for a great view of the mountains and valley below. This one was fairly easy for the winter. The snow can get pretty deep if it's not packed down, so check conditions before you go! Forsythe Canyon to Waterfall. 3.2 miles (easy). This one is located by Nederland, and the drive alone to the hike is gorgeous. It's a nice, quick hike but as a lot to offer. And a blue, frozen waterfall at the end...yes please. It can be very slippery on the way down, so bring your spikes-but overall an easy hike. Great for doggos. Then you can go the long way home, and either stop in Boulder or Nederland for some food and beers! I hope you enjoy these hikes, and if you have any questions...hit me up on Instagram! These are all fairly easy hikes, just a short drive from Denver and can all be completed in a day trip!

  • Places to Hike in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park

    Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks are some of my favorite places to visit. They both are so unique, and offer many amazing hikes. The best time to visit either of these parks is during the winter, or any time off season. It a lot less crowded and less hot! Zion can be a bit tricky to get into. Meaning you are required to only enter through the main entrance by shuttle, usually February through November. I highly suggest reserving shuttle passes before you get there to save yourself some time. You still have to wait in line, but it moves pretty fast. Go to for more info and passes. I really enjoyed the popular hikes in the parks, they're popular for a reason. But with good planning, you shouldn't run into any issues. We saved money by staying in towns a little further away from the parks. We stayed in the town of Panguitch for Bryce Canyon at a cute Airbnb (the cute Panguitch House Bed and Breakfast). For Zion, we stayed in Hurricane in a cabin. There were a bunch of restaurants in Hurricane and it was just 20 minutes more of a drive. Zion National Park The Narrows (9.4 miles-we only went about 4 miles RT, moderate). This was one of my absolute favorite hikes I've ever done. You should rent gear, and there's plenty of outfitters in Springfield (the town just outside of the park entrance). In the summer, you might be able to get away from renting gear, but in the winter it's a must. For this hike, you follow the river down the canyon with giant rock walls surrounding you. The light creeps in and bounces off the rocks, creating a fiery red color. So cool. Take the Zion Narrows Riverside Walk to get there, another gorgeous hike. Angels Landing Trail (4.4 miles, difficult). Start at the West Rim Trial at the Grotto shuttle stop. I loved this hike too. It has amazing views and is a really fun trail. The famous section "Walter's Wiggles", a set of 21 switchbacks is hard but awesome. So many photo ops. Then, if you are not afraid of heights and have some hiking experience, tackle Angel's Landing. Go early to avoid having to share the chain to hold on to. Carve out some time too, it does take a while to complete just the Angels Landing section. Use spikes if there is any snow or ice. Zion Canyon Overlook Trail (1 miles, easy). This trail offers some of the most breathtaking views of Zion Canyon. To do this hike, you must drive to the trailhead because the shuttle does not stop here. Emerald Pools Trail (3 miles, moderate). I didn't get a chance to do this hike because of time, but I really want to do it! There are two Emerald pools and the pictures look amazing. Bryce Canyon National Park Rim, Navajo Loop and Peekaboo Loop (7.4 miles, difficult). I recommend going counter clockwise. Start at sunrise for some awesome views! This was one of the best hikes to see the hoodoos. You go up and down, and around all of them and it's magical! Wall Street and Queens Garden Loop (3.2 miles, moderate). This has the famous Wall Street section you've seen in many pictures. It is closed for weather and different parts of the winter season, so plan accordingly! Fairyland Loop Trail (7.8 miles, moderate). This was a long trail, but totally worth it. It feels like you are on a different planet. It is less crowded than the other trails, which was a huge plus. I highly recommend this one if you have the time! Bonus Hikes: Depending on where you live, you can easily hit Capitol Reef National Park on your way home. It is a less crowded park, but has some great hikes to offer. Hickman Bridge Trail (1.7 miles, moderate). This trail is very relaxing and beautiful. It can be a loop too. The arch at the end is breathtaking, and there were some interesting rock formations on the way there. Cassidy Arch Trail (3.1 miles, moderate). The first section is a steep incline, but that it is the most difficult part of the hike. You can even walk over the arch! Bull Valley Gorge Trail (2 miles, hard). This trailhead is located about 30 minutes from Bryce Canyon. It is worth the drive. You hike along the canyon first, and then climb down into it. You climb over rocks and down tree logs, it is SO FUN. It is a little scary, but totally doable. There's even a car that is stuck in the canyon, you can look up at. This is a good beginner slot canyon hike. Cool places to check out: The Parkhouse Café (Zion). Really yummy breakfast food and awesome people. Good atmosphere too. Zion Canyon Brewpub. Stunning views and fun spot for a beer. i.d.k. barbecue (Bryce). Great BBQ and sides. You can sit on the patio or take it to go! C Stop Pizza (Bryce). Decent pizza, we took it to go for a hike! Ruby's Inn Cowboy's Buffet and Steak Room (Bryce). The gift shop connected and the grocery store are very convenient. Good burgers.

  • Where to Snowshoe Around Denver

    There are so many amazing places to snowshoe around Denver! First of all, the most important thing is safety. Take an avalanche course, do your research, tell someone where you're going, and check the reviews on before you go. Also, weather plays a huge part in this. Two people just got caught in an avalanche and died near Hoosier Pass, so PLEASE BE CAREFUL. The hikes I am listing are generally safe, but always use preauction when heading out there! You can get some decent snowshoes for $100 or under at REI, Amazon, or any outdoor retailer. Spikes are also a good investment, along with poles to help you balance! You can wear waterproof hiking boots for better ankle support, or just a good pair of snow boots work well too. If you aren't going a super long distance, then I would recommend snow boots for the deep snow. I have some great Sorel snow boots that I love! Ok now for the good part. These are some of my favorite hikes for snowshoeing! You can find all of these hikes on Mayflower Gulch (3 miles, easy). Sometimes you don't even need snowshoes for this hike because the trail gets so packed down from hikers and skiers. Once you get 1.5ish miles in, you get to some old cabins with beautiful 13ers as the backdrop. It's my favorite winter hike. Perks are, you can stop in Frisco or Breckenridge for lunch on the way home. Also my favorite brewery is Outer Range, right off I-70 in Frisco. Lake Isabelle Trail-Winter (11 miles, difficult). This hike is one of the most rewarding winter hikes. You definitely need snowshoes for this one. You pass a handful of lakes, all breathtaking. Start this one early, so you have plenty of time to complete before dark. Also anywhere you go near Brainard Lake Recreation Area is great for snowshoeing! Colorado Trail-Segment 5 or 6 (however long you want to go, moderate). The great thing about this hike is you can start from either side of Hwy 285 and go as far you want. Both sides have beautiful aspens and views! Stop by Mad Jack's Mountain Brewery or the Shaggy Sheep on the way home. Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake Trail (4.1 miles, moderate). Only go on this hike if you know the conditions are ok for avalanches. It goes through some steep terrain that could trigger them. This one is great though because it is shorter, and close to Denver, in Georgetown. There are beautiful views and lakes! Don't let the winter stop you from hiking, but please be careful. Winter hiking is a whole other game, and can be very dangerous...but also fun! I think the scenery can even be more beautiful in the winter.

  • Where to Hike and Snowshoe in Rocky Mountain National Park!

    Rocky Mountain National Park can be overwhelming. There are so many hikes to choose from, it can be crazy busy, and you need to be an experienced hiker to do many of the hikes. BUT, I have to say it is my absolute favorite National Park I have ever been to. I think it has some of the most beautiful scenery, super fun hikes, and I love the town of Estes Park and Grand Lake nearby. Also not to mention, the home to one of the best 14ers in Colorado...Long's Peak. Just 1.5 hours from Denver, you can make Rocky Mountain National Park an easy day trip. You can also spend the night camping inside of the park or stay at a cute Airbnb nearby too. Hikes I recommend from easiest to most difficult: (all hikes can be found on Dream Lake Trail (2 miles, easy) You get to see three lakes on this hike! Bonus: go a little further to Emerald Lake (3.2 miles). I highly recommend this hike in the winter. Definitely bring snowshoes and spikes. You can walk over the lakes in the winter (which is slightly terrifying) but so fun! If you are brining friends or family from out of town, this is a solid one too because it is not too tough and has great views. Odessa Lake via Fern Lake Road (9.3 miles, moderate) You get to pass Fern Falls and Fern Lake, which on their own are breathtaking. It is a trek, but so worth it. Not many people go past Fern Lake, so most likely you will have Odessa Lake to yourself. This can be done in the winter with snowshoes, but only if you are very experienced. Lake Haiyaha (3.6 miles, moderate) When I hike, I usually want to see a lake, waterfall, or summit. With this hike you get a lake and waterfall. Gorgeous hike and not too long. The Lock via Glaciar Gorge Trail (5.4 miles, moderate) Another great snowshoeing hike! This one is a nice distance too if you aren't feeling too crazy. It has one of the most beautiful lakes too. Hallet Peak (10.3 miles, hard) Great views from the top. Even if you don't go all of the way, the hike is pretty the whole way. You pass a lake too obviously. Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail (9.4 miles, hard) One of the best hikes in my opinion...not just in RMNP. With the jagged mountains behind the lake, gorgeous views on the way, you can't beat this hike. A must see in RMNP and in Colorado. Chasm Lake (8.8 miles, hard) I have done this hike in the summer and it was AMAZING. Pretty tough at the very end, but mellow for most of it. You have the majestic Long's Peak as the backdrop at the lake. During the winter time, you can see people ice skating on the lake! Long's Peak via the Keyhole Route (14.5 miles, hard) Please do not do this hike if you have never done a 14er before or are scared of heights. I saw many people that should not have been doing this 14er when I went. If you are traveling from another state, make sure you acclimate first. Build up to this one. When you are ready, have fun. Even though it is extremely crowded, it was one of my all time favorite 14ers. Super fun climbing, great views, and many different sections that make it spicy and interesting! Check out for more info. Places to Eat and Drink in Estes Park: The Egg of Estes. A yummy breakfast spot that is vegetarian friendly and cute! The Wapiti Pub. A fun dive bar, decent food, and great burgers and grilled cheese. The Whiskey Bar at The Stanley Hotel. Dumber and Dumber was filmed here, a Stephen King book was inspired about this hotel...enough said. Grab an old fashioned here and you won't be mad you did. Rocky Mountain Deli. Great sandwiches. Perfect for grabbing food to bring on a hike. Estes Park Brewery. Fun place to grab a beer. Rock Cut Brewing Company. Great small spot to stop by on your way back from RMNP. I stop here almost every visit to RMNP. Bird and Jim. A little fancier of a place, but great menu items. Wild Rose Restaurant. Great food and outdoor seating. Another favorite. I have many more recommendations for hikes and restaurants, so I will have to do another post eventually. This is a good start though. Also if Trail Ridge Road is open (only open during summer due to snow), then stay at Grand Lake and drive on this super scenic road! I might even like Grand Lake more, but it's just not accessible during the winter. Go to my favorite National Park and one of the best places to visit in Colorado, and check out these places!

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