Thursday, October 20, 2016 Adds Several New Hikes

A few weeks ago Kathy and I had the opportunity to do a little hiking during our visit to Colorado. In addition to some spectacular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, we also did a few hikes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, which is located directly south of the national park. As a result of this trip we have added eight new hikes to our website. Here's a quick rundown of the new hikes:

Baker Pass-Parika Lake Loop - this hike travels into the heart of the Never Summer Mountains, located just west of Rocky Mountain National Park. Although the hike begins along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP, this area sees relatively few visitors. This is a big mistake for those who seek awesome scenery, as the trail visits some absolutely beautiful spots, including Baker Pass and Parika Lake.

Sandbeach Lake - is a fairly large subalpine lake, with a broad sand beach area, perfect for those looking to go home with a Rocky Mountain tan. At the lake hikers will have an absolutely spectacular view of 13,911-foot Mt. Meeker - the 2nd highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Ouzel Lake - is a great option if you don't have the energy to go all the way to Bluebird Lake in the Wild Basin area of RMNP. In addition to a very scenic lake framed by high peaks, the hike offers several other attractions, including four waterfalls.

Pawnee Pass - just south of Rocky Mountain National Park is the spectacular Indian Peaks Wilderness. Although there are many trails that lead into the wilderness, Pawnee Pass is arguably one of the best hikes. Along the way to the 12,541-foot pass, which offers spectacular alpine and tundra scenery, hikers will have the chance to visit Long Lake and Lake Isabelle.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Browns Canyon National Monument hosts listening sessions

The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife invite you to share your views about Browns Canyon National Monument at several upcoming listening sessions. The two-hour listening sessions are designed to increase understanding of how people interact with the monument, what is meaningful about it and the role it plays in the way people live, work and play.

“The input you provide will help us garner a better understanding of the monument as part of the larger landscape in this area, as well as the communities it serves,” said Melissa Garcia, Browns Canyon National Monument Manager. “Hearing from the public will also assist in developing a lasting framework for understanding land use and making resource management decisions at the monument.”

Members of the public are encouraged to show up at the beginning of the meetings at the following dates and times, at the following locations:

• Oct. 27 Denver, REI, 1416 Platte St., 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Oct. 27 Colorado Springs, Colorado Parks and Wildlife office, 4255 Sinton Rd., 4 p.m.
• Oct. 29 Salida, SteamPlant Event Center, 220 W Sackett Ave., 10 a.m.
• Oct. 29 Canon City, Abbey Event Center, 2951 US-50, 2:30 p.m.
• Nov. 15 Buena Vista, Buena Vista School District Boardroom, 113 North Ct., 6 p.m.

You can learn more about the Browns Canyon National Monument planning efforts here:

For centuries, the granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings and stunning mountain vistas of Browns Canyon National Monument have attracted visitors from around the world. The area’s unusual geology and roughly 3,000-foot range in elevation support a diversity of life. The Bureau of land Management and the U.S. Forest Service jointly manage the monument. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, manages river-based recreation on the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rescue Operation On Longs Peak In Rocky Mountain National Park

Three men from the Glen Haven and Estes Park areas, Alan Smith (42), Elijah Holmes and Austin Holmes, both in their early 20s (not related), spent an unexpected night on Kieners Route on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park the other night. Family members notified park rangers on Monday night, but at that time they were not asking for assistance.

Yesterday morning, park rangers were in contact via text with the three men. At that time, they indicated they did not want assistance. However, because the men were unprepared to have spent the night out, rangers initiated a search and rescue mission. Rangers departed the Longs Peak Trailhead at 9:25 a.m., summited Longs Peak, and reached the men at 2:50 p.m.

The three men were uninjured, but were cold, dehydrated, tired and unable to ascend to the top of Kieners Route. Rangers provided food, fluids and helped warm the men. Park rangers performed a technical rescue to get the three men off the Kieners Route and then another one to get them down the lower section of the North Face on Longs Peak, reaching the Boulder Field at 7:15 p.m. As of yesterday afternoon rangers were walking with the men down the Longs Peak Trail. They were expected to reach the trailhead before midnight.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fatality On The Narrows Section On Longs Peak

A 61 year old man from Greeley, Colorado died yesterday, Saturday, October 1, on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. He fell approximately 100 to 150 feet, apparently slipping on ice, along The Narrows section on the Keyhole Route. Park rangers were notified of the incident around 10 a.m. via cell phone by visitors who were in the area when the fall occurred.

Park rangers were flown to the summit of Longs Peak via helicopter and reached the man's body at approximately 4 p.m. His body was recovered by a long line helicopter operation at 5:40 p.m. and transferred to the Boulder County Coroner's Office. His name will be released after next of kin have been notified.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hazardous Fuels Reduction Work Continues In Rocky Mountain National Park This Winter

The reduction of hazardous fuels is a significant preventative management tool used in preparation for managing wildfire near structures and communities. As seen with the Fern Lake Fire, previous reduction of hazardous fuels aided firefighters in stopping the fire within the park when it made its more than 3 mile run on the morning of December 1, 2012. Ultimately, these projects are done to protect life and property and enhance the safety of firefighters and their ability to manage fire within the park.

Fire Management staff at Rocky Mountain National Park have completed 75 acres of cutting and stacking on the Mill Creek to Glacier Creek Fuels Reduction Project this summer. These piles are scheduled to be burned this winter as conditions allow. Work will continue on this project through the fall and into next summer with an additional 123 acres remaining to be completed on this project. Last fall, 229 acres of cutting and stacking was completed on the Deer Mountain Fuels Reduction Project near Deer Junction. These piles are also scheduled to be burned this winter as conditions allow.

An additional 368 acres along the park boundary north and east of Deer Mountain are scheduled to be cut and stacked starting this fall and completed next summer. Other upcoming manual fuels reduction projects include; 40 acres in the Sprague Lake area, and 40 acres around Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge parking.

Work will include removing dead trees, the lower limbs of remaining trees, ladder fuels, dead and down logs, and the removal of selected trees to increase canopy spacing. Resulting woody materials will be piled on site and burned in the following winters or may be used next year or in upcoming years for firewood permits depending on location.

These projects are not designed as a stand-alone defense against wildfires, nor are they guaranteed to hold wildfire in the worst conditions. Please do your part and complete wildfire mitigation on your property. For more information on Firewise standards visit


Monday, September 26, 2016 Adds Several New Hikes

Earlier this summer Kathy and I had the opportunity to do a little hiking during our visit to Wyoming. In addition to some hiking in Grand Teton National Park, we also did a few hikes atop Teton Pass. Prior to our visit to the Grand Tetons we also did some hiking in the Bighorn Mountains. As a result of this trip we have added seven new hikes to our newest hiking website, Here's a quick rundown of the new hikes from the Teton Pass area:

Mount Glory - is the southern-most peak in the Teton Range, and rises just north of Teton Pass. Without a doubt, it is the toughest one mile I've ever hiked. It's only one mile to the summit, but it's also a whopping 1655 feet of climbing (and suffering) to reach the top. Fortunately you'll be well rewarded with stunning panoramic views at the summit.

Coal Creek Meadows - out of the three trails we hiked near Teton Pass this was by far my favorite. The upper portions of Coal Creek Meadows are very beautiful. Moreover, we continued on for another half-mile beyond the typical stopping point, and made the short climb up to Coal-Mesquite Divide where we enjoyed outstanding views of the southern Teton Range, as well as Grand Teton itself in the far-off distance.

Black Canyon Overlook - this hike also begins from the top of Teton Pass, but travels south from the highway. This trail offers a plethora of wildflowers, as well as great views of Jackson Hole, Black Canyon and the Snake River Range.

All three hikes offer a degree of solitude when the summer crowds invade all of the popular trails in Grand Teton National Park.

As mentioned above, we also had a chance to do a little hiking in the Bighorn Mountains. We were able to add four hikes from this region, including Sherd Lake, Rainy Lake, Otter Lake and the Cloud Peak Wilderness Overlook. All four destinations pass through the Cloud Peak Wilderness in the Bighorn National Forest.

Designated by Congress in 1984, the Cloud Peak Wilderness protects more than 189,000 acres, including the highest peaks in the Bighorn National Forest: 13,167-foot Cloud Peak and 13,005-foot Black Tooth Mountain. The Bighorn National Forest is one of the oldest federally-protected forest lands in the United States. It provides habitat for elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear and mountain lion, has over 1500 miles of trails, and protects more than 1.1 million acres.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CDOT: US 34 Outdoor Recreation During Construction Operations

Reconstruction of the U.S. 34 Big Thompson Canyon will require major rock blasting operations this fall and winter. CDOT realizes that this area is very popular for multiple recreational activities, as well as providing a travel corridor to Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding US Forest Service lands, but please remember that although this first phase of work does not include river work, for the next few years this area will be an active construction zone. Because of this, we are asking outdoor enthusiasts to take extra safety precautions. Please be advised that starting in mid-October 2016, the lower canyon stretch of US 34 will be closed to through public travel (mile points 76 - 80). Below we have outlined some safety reminders to help you navigate through construction while still enjoying your normal recreational activities in the canyon.

Prior to rock blasts, a loud horn will sound and it is strongly advised to stay out of this section of the canyon (mile points 76 - 80 - east of Drake).

Round Mountain Nature Trail, located near Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park west of Loveland, has already closed for the remainder of the year to allow for demolition and road construction work by CDOT occurring near the trail. The other trail that leads to the summit of Round Mountain, accessible from the same trailhead, will be closed beginning Oct. 17.

Because of significant road closures in the lower canyon, hikers wishing to access trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, or the surrounding forest lands, should plan on traveling to the Estes Park area via US 36 or Colorado Highway 7 from the Town of Lyons.

Because of road closures, heavy construction and blasting,the lower Big Thompson Canyon from Waltonia downstream should be avoided. Crews will sweep the river for recreationists prior to blasting, however, it is the responsibility of the user to stay out of the work areas.

Deer and Elk Hunters
Due to heavy blasting in the lower canyon, please refrain from hunting in portions of the Big Thompson US Highway 34 between Larimer County Road 29 (Carter Lake Road) and Larimer County Road 43 (the North Fork Road) in Game Management Unit 20. Road closures in this area will preclude public access including the Round Mountain Trailhead, making it difficult to travel in this area.

If you are hunting in this area, please make sure to sign up for project updates ( so that you know when the rock blasts will occur and listen for the loud horn. Hunters are strongly advised to avoid the area.

Travel restrictions and blasting near the stream sections of the Big Thompson Canyon at and below Drake, Colorado will make fishing in the lower canyon difficult and, and potentially unproductive due to all of the surrounding construction activity, therefore fishing between Larimer County Road 29 and the Waltonia bridge is being discouraged. Work within the river is not included in the first phase of work and fish will not be disturbed, however heavy traffic and blasting within the canyon does not create the serene mountain fishing experience that other areas may offer.

The upper Big Thompson River from Waltonia upstream to the Olympus Dam is largely intact and the fishing is equal to pre-flood conditions. We strongly suggest that anglers wanting to fish the Big Thompson do so in the upper section. Because of road closures in the lower canyon, access to the upper river is best from Estes Park downstream.

Because of the different construction areas and canyon closures, access to off-roading areas is not advised via the lower Big Thompson Canyon during construction. Multiple blasts a day are possible, and vehicles within the work area are at risk for rock damage. Access to the Storm Mountain area is available by Larimer County Road 43 from Estes Park.

Please be advised construction activities will be ongoing in the canyon over the next several years, with intense blasting operations happening October through May. It is strongly advised that recreational users avoid this area (mile points 76 - 80) and listen for the loud horn that will sound prior to blasts.