If there was one thing I was looking forward to when visiting Denver it was the hiking. I’m not a big, big hiker, but I do love being outdoors (to an extent; I’m not Cheryl Strayed in any sense) and I love seeing nature as it is: undisturbed.
I already knew that hiking in the Rockies was something we’d probably do so I came well prepared with shoes, clothing, etc. My over-zealous self also wanted to hike a summit trail. I knew this probably wouldn’t happen as the elevation game would be 2,000 or more feet. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re starting out between 8-10K feet, it is a lot! Amber’s husband Richard picked out an easy-to-moderate trail for us to do that would be about 6 miles round trip with a little bit of an elevation gain and still amazing views, water and seeing wildlife. SOLD.
We got up around 5:30/6 that morning ready to hike the Cub Lake Trail! We packed our backpacks with quick lunches of pb&j, granola bars, pretzels and plenty of water; my camera, extra clothing (light jackets); sunscreen; bug spray; band aids; hand sanitizer! The drive out to Rocky Mountain National took about an hour and a half and aside from a quick stop to take a picture of the foothills on the way to Boulder, we made some pretty good time and started the trail around 9am. We ended up extending the hike by about a mile so we could see the mysterious “The Pool” before looping back around and down to the car. I think we started around an 8,000-feet elevation or so and gained no more than 1,000. Round trip we ended up doing between 6 and 7 miles and it took us about 3 1/2 hours.
I can’t even begin to express how amazing and beautiful it was. We saw some elk, some cool birds, ridiculous views and overall, the hike was made better just talking to Amber about any and every thing. It was truly unforgettable. I think the photos speak for themselves!
I already know that next time I visit them, I want to extend my trip so I can get some good elevation and summit hikes in. I mean, by the time I come back for another visit, they’ll have probably scaled Pikes Peak’s summit a few times! Regardless, this was probably one of my most favorite and memorable parts of the trip. If we’d had enough time, I wanted to see the Trail Ridge Road for some sweet views, but I’ll save that for next time! I can’t thank Amber enough for making the drive up there and showing me all the fun things to do in Estes Park including seeing the Stanley Hotel (the hotel based on The Overlook from The Shining). I would absolutely recommend this to anyone with a Denver area bucket list.
Have you done any hikes in the mountains? Any you can recommend?