Highway 34 Traffic Jam in the Big Thompson Canyon

NoCo Daily Photo_Rams on Highway 34Rams on Highway 34The shoulder season is still a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.  Elk are abundant throughout Estes Park and the lower meadows of RMNP.  If you look closely on the drive up Highway 34 from Loveland you are bound to spot some of the bighorn sheep grazing along the side of the road…or in the middle of the highway.  This is just a typical Colorado traffic jam on Highway 34.

Another reason I love living in Northern Colorado!

 

View of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker from Twin Sisters

 View from Twin SistersJune 15, 2015.  My brother-in-law is visiting from out of state, and he wanted to go on a “beginner” hike during his stay.  I suggested either Twin Sisters (a 7.0 mile roundtrip hike with a maximum elevation of just over 11,400 ft) or Hallett Peak (a 10.0 mile roundtrip hike with a maximum elevation of just over 12,700 ft).  He chose the shorter of the two so that he could “take it easy” and enjoy the views.

We left Fort Collins at 4:30am and drove up to the trailhead across from Lily Lake in Estes Park.  By 6:00am we were beginning up the Twin Sisters trail.  While I didn’t think much of it, my brother-in-law had not been acclimated to the elevation since he had been living in Georgia for the past several years.  What I thought was a “beginner” hike quickly turned into a “strenuous” adventure for my brother-in-law.  We stopped several times along the trail so he could catch his breath and enjoy the views.

The roundtrip hike was about 4.5 hours, but we made plenty of stops along the way and spent nearly 30 minutes taking pictures and enjoying the views from the top.  I realize it’s been a while since I blogged or posted anything, so I wanted to share just a few photos from our hike.  Going forward I’ll work to be more proactive about posting these hiking trips.

Chipmunk

Looking up toward the peaks

Looking up toward the peaks

Hiking above the clouds

Hiking above the clouds

Summit of Twin Sisters

Summit of Twin Sisters

Looking West at the Rockies

Looking West at the Rockies

View from Twin Sisters

View from Twin Sisters

Buying a Vacation Home in Estes Park, CO

Creekside CourtFor several years my wife and I have owned a vacation home in Estes Park, CO.  This mountain town is considered the gateway into Rocky Mountain National Park.  With an elevation of approximately 7,522 ft, the town of Estes Park is known for its panoramic Rocky Mountain views, world famous elk and wildlife, and outdoor activities (fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, rock climbing to name a few).

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) was established on January 26, 1915.  This year (2015) marks the centennial of  the grand opening.  Despite the flooding in September 2013 that destroyed real estate, roads, trails, and other infrastructure throughout the area, Estes Park still remains a popular tourist destination and RMNP anticipates millions of visitors this year.

 

Here are a few things you need to know when you consider buying a vacation home in Estes Park:

  1. Location, location, location.  Yes, it’s cliche, but if you are planning to rent your home you will need to know which areas and homeowner’s associations in town have rental restrictions.
  2. Insurance.  I bring this up because depending on where you decide to buy a home, your insurance premium may play a significant role in your monthly payments.  Insurance carriers are more cautious since the High Park and Woodland Heights fires that burned thousands of acres and homes in 2011, and homes could be zoned into high risk flood plains since the flooding in 2013.
  3. Property Management.  Consider a local property management company to assist you in renting your mountain home or cabin.  Sure, if you want the full-time headache of booking reservations, managing security deposits, delegating house-cleaning, and taking maintenance calls, you could do it yourself.  I would rather pay a reputable management company to do all of that for me.
  4. Utilities.  Did you know that many of the cabins and homes in the High Drive area of Estes Park operate on seasonal water supply?  Wells and septic systems are also common in the mountains.  Are you prepared to maintain them?
  5. Construction.  If RMNP has been open for 100 years, chances are there are cabins and real estate that is nearly 100 years old as well.  The quality of construction has obviously improved in the last 100 years, and energy-efficiency has become more important to homeowners.  Consider the natural elements and weather in Estes Park (wind, rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures, sun exposure).  Is the construction of the home up to par?

These are just a few considerations, but obviously you will have many more questions once you begin your home search.  If you’d like discuss buying a second home or vacation home in Estes Park, or if you have questions about moving to Northern Colorado, give me a call or send me a message.   Click here to search for homes for sale in Estes Park, CO.

Aspens and Fall Colors of Rocky Mountain National Park

Aspens2Take a drive and enjoy the Fall colors of Rocky Mountain National Park. There are several colorful aspens near the junction of Highway 36 and Bear Lake Road, and even more as you drive up Trail Ridge Road before the Hidden Valley parking lot.  If you don’t have an annual pass or would prefer not to pay the park entrance fee, you can drive up Highway 7 to the Twin Sisters trailhead and you’ll find plenty of aspen trees there.

Where’s your favorite place to take pictures in Rocky Mountain National Park?

Aspens