Lake Haiyaha (10,244′), Front Range

Lake Haiyaha (10,244′), Front Range

Lake Haiyaha (10,244′), Front Range

Lake Haiyaha is a secluded, boulder-riddled lake in lower Chaos Canyon. Hallett Peak (12,713′) and Otis Peak (12,486′) tower over the lake, and are situated on the Continental Divide, making for spectacular scenery.  The shores of the lake are home to some of the oldest trees in Rocky Mountain National Park. The final .25 mile approach to the shore is guarded by large boulders requiring minor scrambling to reach the lake. 

Haiyaha is an indigenous word that means “rock” or “lake of many rocks”, or “big rocks”, depending on the translation.

Weather

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

The trail begins alongside Bear Lake and climbs westward towards Tyndall Gorge, passing Nymph Lake along the way. Past Nymph Lake the trails climbs again to Dream Lake.

Once there, the trail moves up a southward slope into the Chaos Canyon drainage and arrives at Lake Haiyaha, located at timberline along Chaos Creek. The lake and Chaos Canyon are known for excellent bouldering.

Trailhead Directions

Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P. (8,500′)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P. (8,500′)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P. (8,500′)

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon. The canyon’s name comes from the long shadows, where portions of the gorge only receive 1/2 hr of sunlight a day.

The park has a north and south rim, with the south rim being the most popular. The South Rim Road runs along the edge of the the canyon, being a little over 8 miles long with 12 viewpoints. The viewpoints showcase some of the world’s oldest exposed rock, Precambrian or “basement” rock that is nearly 2 billion years old.

Intresting stats:
Painted Wall – 2,250′ – tallest cliff in Colorado
The Narrows – 40′ wide
Chasm View – narrowest point on the rim – 1,100′ wide
Warner Point – deepest point – 2,722′

Dogs are allowed in the park at all the overlooks. However, the canyon below the rim is designated a wilderness area, where dogs are not allowed. 

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPX with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

There are two primary entrances to the park: the south rim entrance is located 15 miles (24 km) east of Montrose, while the north rim entrance is 11 miles (18 km) south of Crawford and is closed in the winter. The park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

Trailhead Directions

Argentine Pass (13,207′), Front Range

Argentine Pass (13,207′), Front Range

Argentine Pass (13,207′), Front Range

Argentine Pass is the highest named vehicle-accessible pass in Colorado. Vehicle travel is only possible on the Georgetown side of the pass (during the summer months) by a four-wheel drive vehicle with high-clearance. The trail on the Horseshoe Basin side is only accessible by foot or by mountain bike. The pass is also the highest point on the American Discovery Trail, perched on the Continental Divide.

The pass has many great hiking destinations, and provides a ridgeline walk to Gray’s Peak (14,270′), a great alternative to busy Stevens Gulch if you have a 4×4.

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPX with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Take exit 228 from I-25W, go under the freeway and take a right (west) at the 4 way stop. Follow the signs to Guanella Pass through the historic downtown area of Georgetown. 

About 2.5 miles out of Georgetown watch for a small parking lot on the right side of one of the switchbacks. This will begin the road to Argentine Pass, FR248.1. As of this writing, there are no signs to the pass, so bring a map.

Trailhead Directions

Rollins Pass (11,671′), Front Range

Rollins Pass (11,671′), Front Range

Rollins Pass (11,671′), Front Range

Rollins Pass is located on the Continental Divide, approximately five miles east of Winter Park, when approaching from the west. The abandoned rail route over the pass was designated a National Register of Historic Places in 1980 because of engineering feats accomplished by railroading efforts in the early 20th century.

The 4×4 trail takes you along one of the highest and most dangerous railroad routes ever built. The railroad had to deal with huge snow drifts, arctic climates, and steep grades, causing many incidents over the years. The route was used until 1927, when the nearby Moffat Tunnel was completed.

The route chosen was to climb to the pass from the west side heading east. Regardless, the route from either side is out and back. The route across the pass is closed from the Continental Divide to the Needle’s Eye Tunnel to motorized traffic.

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPX with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Take the Corona Pass Rd turnoff on the northbound side of US-40 just south of Winter Park. The pass once had a town called Corona at the summit, which is why the road has it’s name. The road is very rocky at the begining, and in sections all the way up. Stay on the main road all the way to the pass.

At the summit you will be in what was once the town of Corona. The route across the pass is closed from the Continental Divide to the Needle’s Eye Tunnel to motorized traffic, so retrace your route back down.

Trailhead Directions

Mt Ida (12,880′), Front Range

Mt Ida (12,880′), Front Range

Mt Ida (12,880′), Front Range

The Mt Ida trail, at Milner Pass, is one of Rocky Mountain Park’s most scenic alpine treks. The trail has spectacular views that include tundra flats, panoramic views across the Never Summer Mountain Range, and 360 degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park from the summit.

Officially there is no trail to the summit, but well-established hiking paths make the trek straightforward. Be aware that many cairns and social trails begin to spindle off the main route near the summit, which can be confusing. However, since you’re above treeline, it shouldn’t be hard to piece together the final part of the route. 

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPX with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Start from Poudre Lake Trailhead at Milner Pass (Continental Divide) and head northeast toward Poudre Lake. Hike past the southern shore of Poudre Lake and follow steep switchbacks through the forest. Keep to the right and follow the sign toward Mt Ida at the first junction. Ascend up a deep forest, heading to the western side of the ridge as you make your way to tree line.

Once above tree line, the views of The Never Summer mountains to the northwest are incredible. Continue over intermittently steep slopes and flat trail. Eventually boulder fields will begin to appear, so it may be tricky to find a steady trail to the top. Stay to the right on the way up to avoid the more difficult sections and the cliffs. The summit provides beautiful 360 degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trailhead Directions

Lower Fish Creek Falls (7,420′), Park Range

Lower Fish Creek Falls (7,420′), Park Range

Lower Fish Creek Falls (7,420′), Park Range

Lower Fish Creek Falls is a 283′ waterfall located about 5 miles to the east of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. There are two trails which provide great views of the falls. First is the Fish Creek Falls Overlook, a 1/4 mile handicapped-friendly accessible trail, which is relatively flat. The second trail, Fish Creek Falls National Recreation Trail ​, is also 1/4 mile long but drops 100′ down to a foot bridge at the base of the falls.

Juat a 1/2 hour south of Steamboat Springs is the town of Yampa, the eastern end of the Flat Top Scenic Byway. The Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway (County Road 8), runs through the northern portion of the Flat Tops Wilderness.

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPS Route with Elevation

 

Video Tour

Trail Directions

There are two hiking trails from the parking lot at the end of Fish Creek Fall Road.

Fish Creek Falls Overlook: 1/4 of a mile (400 m) of paved trail which is handicap accesible and relatively flat.  It ends at a viewing station where the entirety of the falls can be seen.

Fish Creek Falls: the 1/4 mile trail goes down into the U-shaped valley formed by glaciers. At the bottom of the valley is a foot bridge over Fish Creek with a close up view of the falls. The trail continues on to Upper Fish Creek Falls and then to the Wyoming Trail, a long trail running the northwestern mountains of Colorado to Wyoming.

Trailhead Directions

Bierstadt Lake (9,470′), Front Range

Bierstadt Lake (9,470′), Front Range

Bierstadt Lake (9,470′), Front Range

Bierstadt Lake sits atop a forested moraine, which is a ridge composed of material left behind thousands of years ago by receding glaciers. The lake was formed when a dam was made from glacial debris deposits. Water from the lake drains into Mill Creek within the Mill Creek basin, a flat valley with a scenic meadow.

The lake’s east end provides the best look at the Continental Divide, with standouts such as Otis Peak (12,486′), Hallet Peak (12,713′)Flattop Mountain (12,324′), Ptarmigan Point (12,363′) and Notchtop Mountain (12,129′).

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPX with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

An uphill 1.4-mile (2.3 km) trail with switchbacks that begins at the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead. A 0.6-mile (0.97 km) trail encircles the subalpine lake, which has a sandy beach along the eastern portion, offering the most spectacular views.

Most of the elevation gain occurs in the first three-quarters of a mile. You enter a pine forest which turns to sage with unobstructed views as you gain elevation. At the top of the moraine the trail transitions back into a dense forest again. The trail gets relatively flat as you continue to the lake.

Trailhead Directions

Mt Sniktau (13,234′), Front Range

Mt Sniktau (13,234′), Front Range

Mt Sniktau (13,234′), Front Range

Mount Sniktau sits just east of the Continental Divide on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The summit is located less than a mile south of Interstate 70, and east of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Despite being close to an Interstate and being one of the windiest places in Colorado, Mt Sniktau made the list because of the epic views from the summit.

From the ridge, you will see Loveland Pass below at 11,990 ft (3,655 m), Torreys Peak (14,267′), with Grays Peak (14,270′) popping up behind it to the southeast. There are too many more peaks to list that you can see from the summit, but some others include Mt. Evans 14,264′, Quandary Peak (14,265′), Mt. Parnassus (13er), Mt. Bard (13er), Longs Peak 14,255′, and Mt. of the Holy Cross (14,005). Also visible is the Tenmile/Mosquito Range and hundreds of other peaks. To the west are the ski runs of Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, and Breckenridge across the Continental Divide. What a view!

The name “Sniktau” refers to the pen name of Edwin H. N. Patterson, journalist and editor of the Colorado Miner in the Clear Creek County area during the 1860s. Patterson was a close friend of the famous poet, Edgar Allan Poe.

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

From the parking lot, head east towards Mt Sniktau. You’ll first climb to the saddle at point 12,915, a mile ahead of you. After gaining the ridge, take a left (north) to continue up the southwest ridge. Head towards another bump which is a false summit at 13,152 feet.

Hike through a short rocky section to reach the final false summit. You can now see the remaining route to reach the true peak’s summit. Keep hiking and drop about 250 feet into the saddle before you ascend for another quarter mile to reach the summit.

 

Trailhead Directions

Lake Isabelle (10,910′), Front Range

Lake Isabelle (10,910′), Front Range

Lake Isabelle (10,910′), Front Range

Lake Isabelle lies hidden in a high, isolated bowl-shaped basin at the top of the South St. Vrain drainage in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. It lies at tree-line in a stunning alpine valley surrounded by Navajo (13,409′), Apache (13,441′) and Shoshoni (12,967′) peaks. The Continental Divide is located just west of the lake, running along the high peaks above the valley.

Mitchell & Blue Lake and Mt Audubon, are also located in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area and also offer beautiful views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPS Route with Elevation

 

Video Tour

Trail Directions

From the Long Lake Trailhead, the trail begins its relatively gentle ascent up to Long Lake. After a quarter-mile of trekking, the trail intersects the Jean Lunning Trail, which will take you to and around Long Lake.  This area is known for moose sightings. Avoid the Jean Lunning Trail and continue to the right uphill to Lake Isabelle.

After approximately 1 more mile, the trail intersects the Jean Lunning Trail for the second time.  Again, continue towards Lake Isabelle and Pawnee Pass, bypassing the Jean Lunning Trail.  Lake Isabelle is just another .9 miles beyond this trail junction. From the lake you have the option of continuing further up the trail to reach Isabelle Glacier.

Trailhead Directions

Estes Cone (11,007′), Front Range

Estes Cone (11,007′), Front Range

Estes Cone (11,007′), Front Range

Estes Cone is located about 3 miles from the Longs Peak trailhead on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The peak serves as a prominent landmark in the Tahosa Valley to the east. The peak is named for one of the first settlers in Estes Valley, Joel Estes. The granite peak has a rocky outcrop on the summit that provides unobstructed views of Rocky Mountain National Park.

On the way to Estes Cone you will pass by the old Eugene Mine area, of which there is almost no trace left. Moving on you end up at Storm Pass, after which the steepest part of the hike begins. Just before reaching the summit you will hit a cliff band. Head to the right  and there will be a weakness in the wall that you can scramble up to the summit.

Weather

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

The approach to Estes Cone from the Longs Peak trailhead is relatively easy with mild uphills until you reach the base of the mountain. Once you turn off the Storm Pass trail you will see cairns marking the turnoff to begin the steeper 800′ scramble to the top. Once you reach the base of the summit, head right of the rock wall to scramble to the summit.

Trailhead Directions

Wager Gulch (12,350′), San Juan Range

Wager Gulch (12,350′), San Juan Range

Wager Gulch (12,350′), San Juan Range

The road up Wager Gulch (high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle recommended), leads to the remnants of the abandoned mining town of Carson, on the way up to the Continental Divide and beyond. Founded in 1889, Carson reached its peak at the turn of the century when some 500 miners worked the mountain. Carson fell victim to the harsh winters of Colorado, being situated almost directly on the Continental Divide. It was considered one of the most inaccessible mining camps in Colorado. To access, take Wager Gulch road located south of Lake City, immediately off the Alpine Loop.

While in the area you may also want to explore Hurricane (12,730′) and California Pass (12,960′)  which intersect further northwest along the Alpine Loop. Stony Pass provides a route to the headwaters of the Rio Grande river.