The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the views from this breathtaking season.

Snowshoeing to Mills Lake

December 1, 2018 ~ Snowshoeing to Mills Lake in RMNP was marked by wind and a lot of it. The trek started out at a brisk 21 degrees and the warmest that I saw on my anemometer was 24 degrees. It was overcast for most of the trek with windblown snow. Mills Lake is one of the few easy access trails open during the winter, though I did not see many people on the way in, I did see a lot of people starting their trek towards the end of the day.

Ute Trail Along Milner Pass

October, 20 2018 ~ The hike along the Ute trail from Milner Pass was the first winter hike of the season, and what a treat it was. There was not a cloud in the sky and I had the trail to myself. On the drive to the trailhead, I didn't see too much snow in the trees and was thinking I would should take the snowshoes off my pack, I won't need them. However, once I got to the Milner Pass trailhead, which is where the closure of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain Park was on the west side - it was obvious, I would need the snowshoes. This was a short trek, coming in at about 5.6 miles roundtrip, and for 5 miles I used the snowshoes.

Middle Lake Basin

September 29, 2018 ~ The hike to Middle Lake Basin in White River National Forest is a tough one. Half of the trail is along a route called Dead Dog Trail, that name alone makes this trail a must. Dead Dog Trail intersects with Middle Lake Trail and takes you the rest of the way to Middle Lake. However, given the steepness of this trail it made it slow going and difficult; not technically difficult, just difficult due to the slope of the trail.

Lower Crystal Lake

September 22, 2018 ~ The hike to Lower Crystal Lake was a quick and relatively short hike. This hike came in just over 6.5 miles roundtrip, which for me at this point in time is a very short hike. However, the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and a mild breeze from time to time, but when the wind did pickup it was a bit chilly. I got an early start, which as it turns out was a very good thing. The trailhead for Lower Crystal Lake is the same as for Mohawk Lake, which is a very popular destination. By the time I returned and stepped off the trail, which was still relatively early in the day, there were still people coming up to the trailhead looking for parking.

Snow Lake and Michigan Lakes

September 15, 2018 ~ What an absolutely beautiful day for a hike in the Never Summer Wilderness to Snow Lake and Michigan Lakes, big huge blue skies and not a single cloud all day. The weather was perfect on this long dawn-to-dusk hike that started in Rocky Mountain National Park then crosses over Thunder Pass and into The Never Summer Wilderness. You could not have asked for better weather or better views to complete mile 200 for the summer season. For me this hike turned out to be 18.5 miles roundtrip in twelve hours, almost to the minute.

Lost Man Lake

September 8, 2018 ~ The hike to Lost Man Lake in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness inside of the White River National Forest is along Independence Pass. Independence Pass is one of my least favorite roads, but the hike to Lost Man Lake and beyond on this day was amazing. The weather for the hike was perfect. The sky was big and blue with white clouds racing by. This hike was originally planned to go all the way to Deadman Lake, but by the time I got to South Fork Pass I had spent so much time taking in the amazing views of the Williams Mountains that in order to get off of Independence Pass before sunset and the weather changing for the worse (which it did) - this was far enough. But what a day on the trail, it was breathtaking.

Native Lake

September 2, 2018 ~ The hike to Native Lake is one of the many Family Friendly trails just outside of Leadville, just past Turquoise Lake. That it is couched as a Family Friendly trail is kind of funny, documented maps show this trail as short, but very steep, nearly straight up. The trail has since been fixed to not be straight up, it has many switchbacks in it, but it is a steep trail nonetheless. This hike came in at 6.1 miles roundtrip for me.

Brown's Pass and Hartenstein Lake

September 1, 2018 ~ The hike to Brown's Pass and Hartenstein Lake in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, for me started in the San Isabel National Forest along Cottonwood Pass. It's a beautiful hike to Brown's Pass which is along The Continental Divide and overlooks the northern ridge of the Sawatch Range. This hike came in at 16.8 miles roundtrip, though I had to add 6 miles to the trek because Cottonwood Pass was closed to vehicles, so I had to park at the Avalanche trailhead and walk along the empty road to the Denny Creek trailhead.

Blue Lake

August 25, 2018 ~ The hike to Blue Lake in the Never Summer Wilderness was originally intended to be part of a larger trek to Bowen Lake, Ruby Lake and then to Blue Lake. However, I got a really late start and wanted to make sure I made it to at least one of the lakes before the weather turned (which it didn't, it was great weather). These lakes are in the Never Summer Wilderness which are technically in the Arapaho National Forest, but the quickest access point is in Rocky Mountain National Park on the West side by Grand Lake.

Treasure Vault Lake Loop

August 19, 2018 ~ This hike was a loop to Treasure Vault Lake. The loop goes by a number of different names including The Missouri Pass Loop, Treasure Vault Loop and Fancy Pass Loop. Additionally, depending on which map you read the loop is either in Eagles Nest Wilderness or The Holy Cross Wilderness, but both are in The White River National Forest. Which ever trail you want to call and whichever mountain area you want to place it in, it is a spectacular trail.

Roosevelt Lakes

August 12, 2018 ~ The hike to Roosevelt Lakes and Beartrack Lakes in Arapaho National Forest, technically these lakes are in the Mount Evans Wilderness, is an interesting hike, and deceptively long. For me this turned out to be a 14.5 mile roundtrip hike. This is basically the headwaters for Bear Creek, and is aptly named, I did see a black bear about a half hour from the trailhead; it was a cub black bear.

Lost Lake - Near Copper Mountain

August 4, 2018 ~ There are a number of lakes named 'Lost Lake' in Colorado, and there is more than one 'Lost Lake' in Eagles Nest Wilderness. This 'Lost Lake' in Eagles Nest Wilderness is near Copper Mountain Ski Resort. Initially, I had my doubts about this trail as the trailhead is so close to I-70. I was thinking, 'You're going to hear the highway the entire time' and you do up until just before Wheeler Lakes, then the highway fades away. The ski runs on Copper Mountain are visible for most of the hike, but once you get up to and past Wheeler Lakes the views are spectacular.

Upper Cataract Lake and Mirror Lake

July 28, 2018 ~ The hike to Upper Cataract Lake and Mirror Lake was a bit of a soggy hike, this part of July is Colorado's monsoon season and as such that means it will rain at some point during the day. On this hike, hit had threatened to rain for most of the way up to Upper Cataract Lake and then just before Mirror Lake it finally started to rain. The rain was heavy at times but sporadic at Mirror Lake, then on the return trip the rain was consistent and heavy and mixed with sleet, though there were brief breaks in the rain, then the rain would start backup.

Upper Piney Lake

July 21, 2018 ~ The hike to Upper Piney Lake is an odd hike. The trailhead is at a remote resort, Piney River Ranch, basically a dude-ranch in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure when the weather is good the views from the lake at the ranch are breathtaking. However, on this hike the valley was filled with wildfire smoke from the nearby Lake Christine Fire. The first three miles of the hike are piece of cake and go very quickly, tough the wildfire smoke slows you down.

Thunder Lake

July 14, 2018 ~ The hike to Thunder Lake starts at the Wild Basin trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, it's a common trailhead to get to other destinations within the Wild Basin Area, as such it's a crowded trail up until the split for Ouzel Lake. After that the crowds thin out dramatically and you pretty much have the trail to yourself.

Forest Lakes

July 6, 2018 ~ What a beautiful day for a hike, what a beautiful hike and a beautiful set of lakes - Forest Lakes in Indian Peaks Wilderness. Lower Forest Lake and its surrounding ponds seem like Moose country, though I did not see any Moose or evidence of them. Upper Forest Lake is spectacular, with the high, steep granite peaks contrasting against the lake and the blue, blue, blue sky. It is very peaceful.

Lower Slate Lake

June 29 - 30, 2018 ~ The hike to Lower Slate Lake in Eagles Nest Wilderness was a two-day hike, it turned out to be just over 27 miles roundtrip. It's a very lumpy trail for the first 5+ miles as the Gore Range trail skirts the tails of the valleys, so a lot of up and down through tall stands of Evergreens that have been hit hard by beetle kill. Once past Slate Creek there are vast expanses of lush green valleys, high peaks and clear blue sky. Simply Breathtaking.

Woodland Lake

June 23, 2018 ~ The hike to Woodland Lake and Skyscraper Reservoir is a very pretty hike, it comes in around 12 miles roundtrip; for me it came in at 13.3 miles. The views from Woodland Lake are spectacular, and when the clouds raced through made some very dramatic shadows on the surrounding valley walls. There is still some snow on the trail, starting at and just above treeline there's still noticeable snow. The weather was great, there was some high winds from time to time at Skyscraper Reservoir, which is a small alpine lake converted to a reservoir sometime in the 1940's. Lots of Marmots on the rock outcrops and *a lot* of evidence of Elk on the trail.

Flattop Mountain

June 10, 2018 ~ The 2018 Hiking Season has officially begun! Hooray! Though, given what I saw on this first hike, it could have probably started a couple of weeks ago. They said they had a light winter in the mountains this year and they are right. I use Flattop Mountain in RMNP to restart the season as it gives a good idea of how much snow is left above treeline and in shady parts of the trail - and it's a good length hike.