From the trailhead, follow the trail past Lower Ice Lake, which is a spectacular destination in itself. These hardy plants have been twisted by the fierce winds and thin soil. Max elevation: 3777 m (12,392 ft.). 10 things to do in Colorado before summer officially ends. The San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado are considered the state’s most rugged and beautiful. From the south, including Denver and Boulder, drive to the town of Lyons and follow CO-7 for about 48 km (30 mi.) southeast on CO-82 and turn right on Snowmass Creek Road. Driving directions: From the Denver area, drive to the town of Granby, then take US-34 (Trail Ridge Road) for 19 km (12 mi.) But get up early and take one of these extreme hikes and you’ll have accomplished a crazy feat to tell your friends about over a cold beverage — assuming you can walk the next day. Starting at Monarch Lake near Granby, hike up the Cascade Creek Trail, pausing to enjoy the many waterfalls. The short trail to the foot of Maroon Lake leaves from the day use parking area along the north side of the lake to enter the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, and then it starts to climb. From here, many parties continue to Black Lake, which lies just below McHenry’s Peak and the aptly named Spearhead. From Silverton, drive 2.3 km (2 mi.) It’s not exactly solitude at the height of summer, but it’s way quieter than Bear Lake. It’s actually an old railway track above Manitou Springs that has become a workout destination for fitness buffs from all over. My home is in Vancouver but my heart is in the mountains. Driving directions: From Estes Park, take US-36 and enter Rocky Mountain National Park through the Beaver Meadows Entrance.
Emerald Lake by Sarah Lowgren on Flickr. Rather than rising before the sun, consider taking the, from Estes Park. Hiking here would be a dream come true for me. The sight’s all the more impressive because of the difficulty of reaching this spot, which isn’t too far from Denver but feels like a world away. I went to Colorado last year and hiked to Emerald Lake which was absolutely stunning, but I love that you’ve compiled so many more.
Or, if you’re in good shape and just a little bit insane, you can try one of these routes as an extreme day hike. As if I needed another reason to visit Colorado !! Your reward for perseverance is a spectacular, emerald-colored lake that you might have all to yourself, even in summer. This is a trail only in the sense that people walk up it and it’s in the woods. You switchback endlessly through pine forests. Rather than rising before the sun, consider taking the hiker shuttle from Estes Park. It lies just above treeline in a stunning alpine basin east of Willow Pass (12,572').. Find more Summer Getaways here >>>. These brilliant blue alpine lakes near Silverton are considered to be some of Colorado’s most beautiful. This hike also makes a great introduction to snowshoeing for fit beginners. A quick note on this list: I’ve been a Colorado resident since 1999 and I’m a former backpacking guide.
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