Colorado Life

Eldorado Canyon State Park | Continental Divide | Wild West Viking
Colorado Hikes, Colorado Life

Crags Hotel Ruins & Continental Divide Overlook

May 7, 2022

Eldorado Canyon is only a quick 20 minute drive from where I live, and love every time I get to take someone there for a hike. The drive to get to the entrance of Eldorado Canyon State Park is filled with rolling hills, and expansive views of the Flat Irons. Then as you slowly (and please drive slow for the sake of the residents who live there) approach the tiny little “town” of Eldorado, you notice lots of cute houses, gardens filled with mountain flowers, and neighbors talking to neighbors. Before you know it, you are through the little town, and start the ascent up to the canyon where you need to buy a day pass (or if you have a yearly pass). It’s $10 for a day pass, and usually someone is at the park entrance to take your payment, answer any questions you may have and provide you with a map.

As we drove in, climbers were already starting to make their way up the steep mountains with their technical rock climbing within the massive canyons and panoramic vistas. We were lucky to find a good parking spot up towards the top, got our hiking gear on, and made our way to the trail. There are some informational signs along the way describing the vegetation, animals, etc., which is great for first time or out-of-state visitors. Fowler Trail is well kept, and the ascent starts up towards the ruins of Crags Hotel! There isn’t much left of Crags Hotel, but signs explaining the history of the hotel and area mark the spot, and offer a chance to rest and take a breath. Continuing on up the trail, don’t miss it – as you only have to hike about 10 minutes more for the Continental Divide Overlook. Benches are a welcome sight to those that maybe want to take a longer break up at the top to admire the view, eat some snacks (don’t share any with the greedy little chipmunks), and don’t forget the water! The upper loop of the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is currently closed so it made our hike a little shorter than anticipated, but the hike was wonderful no matter how short it was! Views towards the snow-covered peaks of the Continental Divide were definitely calling and made it easy to talk about our ambitious hiking plans for the summer! Towards the east, you can admire the views of downtown Denver, and always appreciate the expansiveness of the ‘low lands’ below.

As we were leaving (around 11am) the cars were already lined up waiting to be let in to the park. There isn’t a lot of parking so plan on getting to the canyon as early as possible as there is limited parking for sure.

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Snow Shoe Hare Trail | Golden Gate Canyon State Park | Wild West Viking
Colorado Life, Snow Shoeing

Snowshoeing at Snow Hare Trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Amazing bluebird skies, a little windy but a wonderful 4-mile winter hike in the beautiful snow!

Snow Hare Trail is located inside Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Daily park passes are $10 per vehicle and can be purchased at the self-service kiosk at the parking lot or entrance into the park.

This trail is a well marked, forested trail with views here and there, some rolling hills with steep inclines to get the heart going. The sun peaked in and out of the snow packed trail, and definitely glad to have snow shoes as there were some deep pockets.

Plan on getting to the trail early (we arrived at 8:30 a.m.) as parking spots are limited, especially at this time of the year when the service road is closed.

This trail would also be great for a spring/summer/fall hike, with a quick snack/lunch break at Dude’s Fishing Hole.

Note: I always use All Trails app to keep me on track! Here’s a link to the trail!

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Hike to Aspen to Crested Butte
Colorado Hikes, Colorado Life

Aspen to Crested Butte & Back!

October 1-3, 2021

A friend of mine called me up this past summer and said “Save the date! You’re going on a 20+ mile hike in October with me and two other girlfriends”! Without hesitation I said, “Count me in!”

This fall in Colorado has been absolutely amazing! The fall colors, beautiful October blue skies, warm temperatures and even some snow, and lots of leaf peeping! This girls trip started off with a quick stop in Leadville, and an impromptu visit to Melanzana (where we could only shop from the sales rack since we didn’t have an appointment). We all found a hoodie – so lucky for us that we all walked out with a famous Melanzana hoodie! We then kept driving over Independence Pass, over the Continental Divide, where we continued to drool over the nature that was surrounding us, the awe-inspiring and impressive mountains, colorful leaves, gurgling rivers, and even some deer along the way.

We drove into Aspen where we parked at our hotel we would be staying at that evening, and walked into town. We dropped in at Aspen Brewing Company where we enjoyed a couple of the local beers, and delicious pizza!

Next morning we took the shuttle to Maroon Bells and started our 2-day trek across and over the mountain! Starting at 9,580 ft, and outfitted with hiking gear for all seasons, lots of water, trekking poles, spikes, and food. Along the way we passed Maroon Lake, Crater Lake and over West Maroon Pass.

The first leg of the hike was probably the most difficult with an elevation gain of 3,000 ft. Temperatures were sunny, encountered a little mud, then over the pass, some snow, rain and even a little hail. Aspen trees were still showing beautiful shades of yellow, gold, orange, and even still some green!

We spent the night in Crested Butte at the Nordic Inn and celebrated with a chilled glass of beer and a nice soak in the hot tub. The staff, and accommodations, including an extensive breakfast the next morning enticed me to definitely stay here again!

The next day we started off early with a bumpy 4×4 trip back to the trailhead with our awesome driver, Joey. (note: that the shuttle on the Crested Butte side stops as of October 1st).

We started on the trail at 8:30am back up to West Maroon Bells with the hope of getting back to Aspen to make the last shuttle by 5p.m., to avoid the ‘walk of shame’ back to Aspen. (This was strongly ingrained by our shuttle guide the previous morning.) Funny how the trail looks completely different coming from the opposite direction. Through a little bit of snow, a LOT of mud, some anticipation about hiking up and down the summit (due to the muddiness) a little anxiousness making our shuttle back on time, having great conversations and strengthening amazing friendships with strong empowered women… this hike was by far one of the best experiences of our lives!

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