Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rocky Mountain Trails

The following is a guest blog by Nightgear

Rocky Mountain National Park is an incredible natural resource for lovers of outdoor activities with camping, fishing, horseback riding, climbing, hiking and mountaineering available year round, as well as both cross country and downhill skiing in winter. With such a wide range of activities on offer, it’s hard to know where to start. But when I found out that the park has almost 350 miles of trails ranging from easy to strenuous, it had to be hiking that took my interest.

The two most popular routes for hikers centre around the very visible landmarks that have made the park famous; Longs Peak and Bear Lake. Longs Peak is one of the most visible areas of the park and can be seen from numerous vantage points. It has an elevation of 14,255 feet (4,346 metres) and has a variety of routes ranging from strenuous hiking routes to those only suitable for serious climbers. The easiest route, the Keyhole, is the only route passable to regular hikers during the summer months when the hazardous winter snow and ice has melted away.

Bear Lake lies below Hallett Peak in the centre of the park. It forms a popular destination for regular hikers looking for a jaunt out with easy access via Bear Lake Road, ample parking, and year-round admission with the lake only closing in adverse weather conditions. There are a number of routes starting here ranging from an easy stroll to rather strenuous hikes, but nothing of interest for serious trail blazers or climbers.

For those who are looking for something a little more off-piste, perhaps look into the southern region of the park called Wild Basin? This part of the park is a lonely and remote area with a number of trails criss-crossing the wild expanses making it popular with younger backpackers.

To fail to plan is to plan to fail. I think when it comes to hiking through challenging and potentially treacherous circumstances this is a point that can’t be overstressed. Do make sure that before embarking on these or any other hiking trips you have got your kit in place and ready to rock.

If you’re not sure what you need or how much to take then ask an expert in an outdoor shop, visit a specialist website such as nightgear, or even perform a simple internet search asking your question. Even Wikitravel has something to say about it so you’ll be sure to find some advice if you start searching in the right places. Happy hiking!


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