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

Hike to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake from Bear Lake Trailhead

Emerald Lake TrailBear LakeNymph LakeDream LakeEmerald LakeSpring is in the air and it’s a great time to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking and photography.  Despite the continuous road construction and delays on Highway 34 up the Big Thompson Canyon, the drive only took me about an hour from Loveland, CO to the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station.  It’s always nice to avoid some of the weekend traffic and venture into RMNP on a weekday.  Today was no different.

So I have several hikes to cross off of my bucket list, and I know that hiking to Emerald Lake is a short trek, but until today I still hadn’t crossed this one of my list.  From the Bear Lake Trailhead the hike to Emerald Lake is just under two miles; however, the entire trail is still covered in snow which makes for a bit more strenuous hike.  I had my trekking poles and Microspikes, which helped, but I encountered some other people with cross-country skis and snowshoes.  Either way just make sure you’re prepared with some of the basic essentials: water, warm layers, sunglasses, insulated boots, and of course, your camera.

Bear Lake is only a few steps from the trailhead.  Today it was still covered with snow and thin ice.

I continued on the trail and reached Nymph Lake, which was also covered in snow but already had tracks leading across it, so I assumed it was safe to traverse over the lake.  So on I went.

The next highlight of my hike was when I saw Dream Lake and the views of Hallett Peak and Tyndall Glacier in the distance.

And finally I reached Emerald Lake, which as you can imagine, was also covered with snow.  Across the lake I had a perfect view of Tyndall Glacier, and this made a great place for me to have lunch and enjoy the scenery.

Even with the snow-packed conditions the roundtrip only took a couple hours.  In the summer months I know my kids would have no problem hiking this trail.

Enjoy the pictures and take advantage of the park.  It’s only an hour from your NoCo backyard!