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!

 

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

Winter Day Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

 

RMNPPhoto taken with a GoPro Hero3 on February 27, 2014.  It was a quiet day up at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Plenty of elk, plenty of clouds, and the perfect place to escape my day-to-day real estate world.  If you haven’t taken a drive through the park this year (2014), do yourself a favor and make the trip now.  The ranger at the park entrance said that there haven’t been many visitors this winter, especially during the weekdays.  So if you have a few hours to rejuvenate and breathe some fresh Colorado air, it’s the perfect time for a quick getaway.

Here is a quick video of a herd of elk near the south entrance to the park:

 

 

 

5 Tips for Hiking to Chasm Lake

Chasm LakeWinter is almost here and snow is on the way!  So yesterday my brother and I decided to hike to Chasm Lake from the Long’s Peak Trailhead.  We left Fort Collins around 5:45am, drove down I-25 to Highway 66 toward Lyons, and took Highway 36 up to Estes Park.  Not to side track, but if you haven’t driven up Highway 36 since it’s been opened after the flash floods in September, then be prepared.  The amount of destruction and loss caused by the floods is really overwhelming, and there’s still so much to rebuild.

We arrived at the Long’s Peak Trailhead off of Highway 7 at about 7:00am, but in my early morning rush to leave the house with all my hiking gear, I had forgotten one important piece of clothing…my jacket!  So instead of getting an early start, we went to grab a “second breakfast” and waited until the Estes Park Mountain Shop opened at 8:00am.  They had a huge selection of jackets and other outdoor gear, and their staff was so helpful.  Mission accomplished, so it was time to head back to the trail.

Now this leads me to my important tips for hiking to Chasm Lake this time of year (late November):

1.  Gear up!  If you have ever hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park then you know the weather can change very quickly and you should be prepared for changing temperatures and trail conditions.  Not only should you dress in layers, but you should bring the essentials like a jacket, beanie, gloves, and insulated hiking boots.  I also recommend trekking poles and MICROspikes® because much of the trail is snow-covered this time of year.

2.  Get hydrated!  The trailhead starts at an elevation of 9,405′ and Chasm Lake sits at approximately 11,803′, so you will gain a couple thousand feet in elevation during this 8.4 mile round-trip hike.  So yes, plenty of water is essential!  And if you’re over 21, don’t drink too much the night before (wink, wink). 

3.  Go early!  Plan to be at the trailhead no later than 7:00am.  The parking lot is generally not full this time of year (compared to the summer months), so you should have no problem finding parking.  The reason you want to get an early start is because the weather can change very quickly, and afternoon storms are very common, so it’s best to be finished with your hike by noon or so.  Also, Chasm Lake sits at the base of Long’s Peak, and when the afternoon sun sets below the summit of Mount Meeker, Chasm Lake lies in the shadows, which means the temperature drops dramatically!

4.  Grab a camera!  The hike to Chasm Lake is beautiful no matter what time of year you go.  Take plenty of pictures along the way.

5.  Gripe later!  As with any moderate or strenuous hike, your adventure can by physically demanding.  Your muscles might cramp, your head might ache, and your motivation might dwindle away.  I would never suggest you put yourself in danger.  I am simply suggesting you push yourself to the destination if you can and stay positive about the entire experience.

On that note, happy hiking and be safe!

Photographer Ryan Levander on Flattop Mountain

NoCo Lifestyle photographer Ryan Levander snapping a photo on top of Flattop Mountain.

NoCo Lifestyle photographer Ryan Levander snapping a photo on top of Flattop Mountain.

On Monday, May 13, 2013 Richard Jensen and Ryan Levander hiked Flattop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. This picture shows photographer Ryan Levander snapping some photos at over 12,000 feet.

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park by Richard Jensen

Hiking.  It’s what I do to take a break from real estate contracts and clear my mind of the hectic Northern Colorado real estate market.  Feelings of peace and happiness rejuvenate my soul when I experience the smells and sights of our beautiful Northern Colorado mountains.  There are so many places near Fort Collins to enjoy outdoor activities, but some of my favorite hikes have been in Rocky Mountain National Park.

In an effort to keep my mind at peace and my body healthy, I am making a conscious effort to hike at least twice a month.  I haven’t posted all of my hikes but I do want to share a couple of recent ones in RMNP.


March 3, 2013   Chasm Lake hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

So my friend Mark Stiger is an avid hiker and loves the outdoors.  One day he asks me if I would like to go hiking with him.  Sure, no problem.  He suggests Chasm Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.  This is by far one of the most beautiful places I have hiked.  It starts at the Long’s Peak Trailhead on the south side of the mountain.  As we gear up for the hike, Mark notices the clouds starting to form over Long’s Peak and thinks a storm might be coming.  He assures me that if the conditions become dangerous that we will turn back and head home.  Famous last words.  Over an hour into the hike the wind picks up and gusts over 70mph start to push us off our feet and slap snow and pebbles against our faces.  I ask him several times, “Do you think we should turn around?”  Na, he says.  He apparently has hiked in much worse conditions.  Armed with trek poles, windbreakers, and micro spikes, I decide to continue along with Mark, trusting him as my guide despite the not-so-great weather.  Crossing avalanche chutes, post holing several feet of snow, and taking cover from the wind behind what large boulders we could find, Mark and I eventually made it to Chasm Lake.  Nestled at the base of Long’s Peak, it truly was a spectacular sight.  The round trip took us less than five hours and we appeared to be the only morons crazy enough to be on the trail that day.  Here are some photos from our hike.

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April 6, 2013   Deer Mountain Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

My wife and I own a cabin off of High Drive in Estes Park, CO.  We have a view of Deer Mountain through our dining room window, and I had wanted to hike Deer Mountain for a while.  This past weekend we took our children to our cabin to unwind in the Rocky Mountains for a couple days.  Our cabin is located about fifty yards from the Rocky Mountain National Park sign where most tourists visiting the park take their picture, so driving from our cabin to the Deer Mountain Trailhead takes less than ten minutes.  This was my son’s first hike all by himself, meaning neither Mom or Dad carried him.  On the other hand, we did take turns carrying our daughter.  The views of Long’s Peak were incredible.  It was a fairly easy hike and one I would recommend for a family.  We had to turn around when the north side of the trail became icy, but we were able to hike for a couple of hours and the views were fantastic nearly the whole time.  The kids were excited to see plenty of deer along the trail and the switchbacks made the elevation gain pretty easy.  Here are some photos from our hike.

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For questions about Northern Colorado real estate, vacation rentals in Estes Park, or homes for sale in Fort Collins, Loveland, or Estes Park, contact Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park by Richard Jensen

Hiking.  It’s what I do to take a break from real estate contracts and clear my mind of the hectic Northern Colorado real estate market.  Feelings of peace and happiness rejuvenate my soul when I experience the smells and sights of our beautiful Northern Colorado mountains.  There are so many places near Fort Collins to enjoy outdoor activities, but some of my favorite hikes have been in Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

In an effort to keep my mind at peace and my body healthy, I am making a conscious effort to hike at least twice a month.  I haven’t posted all of my hikes but I do want to share a couple of recent ones in RMNP.


 

March 3, 2013   Chasm Lake hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

 

So my friend Mark Stiger is an avid hiker and loves the outdoors.  One day he asks me if I would like to go hiking with him.  Sure, no problem.  He suggests Chasm Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.  This is by far one of the most beautiful places I have hiked.  It starts at the Long’s Peak Trailhead on the south side of the mountain.  As we gear up for the hike, Mark notices the clouds starting to form over Long’s Peak and thinks a storm might be coming.  He assures me that if the conditions become dangerous that we will turn back and head home.  Famous last words.  Over an hour into the hike the wind picks up and gusts over 70mph start to push us off our feet and slap snow and pebbles against our faces.  I ask him several times, “Do you think we should turn around?”  Na, he says.  He apparently has hiked in much worse conditions.  Armed with trek poles, windbreakers, and micro spikes, I decide to continue along with Mark, trusting him as my guide despite the not-so-great weather.  Crossing avalanche chutes, post holing several feet of snow, and taking cover from the wind behind what large boulders we could find, Mark and I eventually made it to Chasm Lake.  Nestled at the base of Long’s Peak, it truly was a spectacular sight.  The round trip took us less than five hours and we appeared to be the only morons crazy enough to be on the trail that day.  Here are some photos from our hike.

 

 


April 6, 2013   Deer Mountain Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

 

My wife and I own a cabin off of High Drive in Estes Park, CO.  We have a view of Deer Mountain through our dining room window, and I had wanted to hike Deer Mountain for a while.  This past weekend we took our children to our cabin to unwind in the Rocky Mountains for a couple days.  Our cabin is located about fifty yards from the Rocky Mountain National Park sign where most tourists visiting the park take their picture, so driving from our cabin to the Deer Mountain Trailhead takes less than ten minutes.  This was my son’s first hike all by himself, meaning neither Mom or Dad carried him.  On the other hand, we did take turns carrying our daughter.  The views of Long’s Peak were incredible.  It was a fairly easy hike and one I would recommend for a family.  We had to turn around when the north side of the trail became icy, but we were able to hike for a couple of hours and the views were fantastic nearly the whole time.  The kids were excited to see plenty of deer along the trail and the switchbacks made the elevation gain pretty easy.  Here are some photos from our hike.

 

 


For questions about Northern Colorado real estate, vacation rentals in Estes Park, or homes for sale in Fort Collins, Loveland, or Estes Park, contact Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!