Hiking in Colorado – A Taste of the Northern Front Range - Possible hike options
Mountain weather is often unpredictable, which makes our choice of day hike somewhat weather-dependent. All locations are glorious, whether enjoying lower elevations with lakes, streams, waterfalls and forests or the high-country peaks and meadows.
Day hikes to include:
Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park: 7 miles, +1,241 ft, max elev 9,655 ft
Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls are popular destinations within RMNP. Starting at a less used trail head, this trail supports a quieter approach and interesting scenery opened by a 1978 forest fire which enabled views of Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain and Chiefshead. Wait patiently at the bridge over Ouzel Creek at Ouzel Falls to be rewarded by sighting of an Ouzel, also called a dipper from their bobbing dance.
Deer mountain Trail, Rocky Mountain NP: 6.2 mi, +1,210 ft, max elev 10,013 ft
The trail starts in a valley heading into a steep forested area with switchbacks to make the going easier. Pending a clear day, Deer Mountain summit allows glorious views of the Continental Divide, the Mummy Range, Longs Peak and Estes Park.
Sandbeach Lake, Rocky Mountain NP: 9 mi,+2,086 ft, max elev 10,342 ft
Hiking mostly through ponderosa, there are also stands of quaking aspen. Several vantage points offer great views of the North St Vrain Creek valley. At 4.4 miles, the 16.5 acre lake, considered to be one of the deepest lakes in RMNP, features a broad sandy beach area overlooked by Mt Copeland (13,176ft) to the southwest and St Vrain Mountain (12,162ft) to the south.
Dome Rock/ Button Rock, Roosevelt National Forest: 7.7 mi, +1,654 ft, max elev 8,068 ft
More off the beaten track, much of this meandering trail is through forest with occasional openings to distant vistas. The summit of dome shaped Button Rock is a vast expanse of rock giving 360 degree views. A fabulous lunch spot.
Waldrop Trail, Roosevelt NF: 5.2 mi, +546 ft, max elev 10,261 ft
At the start, the trail drops 350 feet down to the South St Vrain Creek and then steadily climbs heading west with distant peaks including Mount Audubon, Palute Peak, Mount Toll, Pawnee Peak and Shoshoni Peak located ahead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.
Crater Lakes, Upper and Lower, James Peak Wilderness Area: 8 mi, +1,844 ft, max elev 11,163 ft
A group of five lakes located in a high valley in the James Peak Wilderness Area. The ascent is forested and steep in sections crossing and passing by small creeks. The hike between the two main lower lakes and the upper lakes has some steep sections. Oftentimes lots of wild flowers.
For an insight into trail conditions and the spectacular vistas to be enjoyed when hiking in Colorado's Northern Front Range check out these great videos by Tina Hikes Colorado
Tina Hikes Colorado – Sandbeach Lake
Tina Hikes Colorado - Crater Lakes