Colorado is an amazing place to hike. The Rocky Mountains offer a never ending number of options of different hikes. You can hike in all seasons. You can even hike the same trail at different times of the year and have completly different scenery. For example, in Spring there are blooming flowers and snow fields; Summer you experience fields of wildflowers and grasses; Fall features the changing colors of the Aspen trees and the crisp cool air; Winter features frozen lakes and white plains to snowshoe across.
Shelly and I love to hike and spend time outdoors in Colorado. Recently we have begun to log and track our hikes. We hope you enjoy some of the pictures and the information for the hikes.
Hike details and information
Yellowstone via Colorado River Trail
The Little Yellowstone Trail is located in the Rocky Mountain
National Park about 9.5 miles inside the west entrance. You
can either drive through Grand Lake to get to the parks west
entrance, or you can come from the east side of the park and
take the Trail Ridge Road to gain access to the trail. Either
way, both drives offer incredible scenery of the Colorado
The Little Yellowstone Trail makes its way next to
the Colorado River. This portion of the Colorado
River is actually where it starts. At one
point on the trail, you will encounter a
sign next to the skinny river claiming the
stream to be called the Colorado River. Most
people are used to thinking of the Colorado River being
wide and forceful enough to cut a canyon as deep as the
Grand Canyon. Wait a minute, it did that! It is here
that it collects mountain snow run off and rain water
to become the world famous Colorado River.
This is a relatively easy hike, although it is about
a 10 mile round trip hike to get to a destination called
Little Yellowstone. You can also continue on and complete
a 14 mile round trip hike with the turn around point
being La Pouder Pass on the Continental Divide. The hike
starts off at an elevation of 9500' and continues on
to gain about 1000' of elevation at the point of Little
Yellowstone. Past that, if you continue to La Pouder
pass, you will end up at the Continental Divide which
can reach an elevation of 14,000'.
Along this hike, animals that are likely to be seen
are deer, elk, hundreds of small squirrels
and if you're lucky, moose. Colorado trees to note are
Lodge Pole Pine, Spruce, Fur and Aspen.
About 2 miles into the hike is an area called Lulu
City. It is an area that sprang to life along the Colorado
River in the late 1800's. People came to mine for gold
and silver in the river as well as in the nearby mountains.
The small town boasted about 500 people and even had
a lumber mill, hotel, post office and much more. Today
the only thing that marks what was once a thriving community
is a sign and some rotting log foundations.
People will mainly be encountered in the first half
of the hike. Most people come to do a short, casual hike,
to wade in the river and to see what Lulu City is all
about. Continuing on will reward you with the luxury
of having the trail to yourself. You will encounter a
few people from time to time, but not enough to spoil
Further up the trail, it comes upon an area that shows
how powerful the Colorado River can be. About 50' at
its widest point, the ground is littered with water smoothed
boulders, broken branches and trees. There are 40' tall
trees that have been toppled and huge logs that have
been shoved up against the side of the river bank. All
this destruction happened from the force of the river.
Just standing and looking at this area of devastation
shows how powerful and dangerous the Colorado River can
be at its full potential. We came upon a forest ranger
as we returned from our hike, and inquired about that
area. She said that area of destruction had happened
in 2003, just one year ago. There was so much runoff
from the snow in the mountains that 19 different
tributaries, converged into this one spot, destroying over 900
Hiking past this area is when we came upon Little Yellowstone.
Spending time on Colorado trails, many of
the same things can be seen. Trees, meadows, mountain
lakes, streams, etc. But Little Yellowstone was not like
anything I had ever seen on a Colorado hike. Huge rock
formations jut out from a deep canyon. It is even difficult
to get close to an edge to see how deep the canyon is.
There are virtually no trees on these formations. Only
the rock gives way to small bits of grass and weeds in
sparse areas. It was one of the most breathtaking scenes
I have come across on a hike in Colorado.
The trail is very well maintained by the park service,
so instead of having to spend much of your time looking
where you're hiking, time can be spent looking around
and admiring the beauty of the Rocky Mountain National
Park and all the beauty the Rockies have to offer.
~10 Miles RT
August 7, 2004
Vasquez Peaks Trail via Mt. Nystrom Trail
This was a fairly steep hike, with nice ridge walks between the 3 peaks visited. Starts out steep from parking lot (walk up road to top of old ski lift across HW40). Then continuous ascents with switchbacks. Amazing views in every direction. Would be a good hike to take right to Mary Jane sometime. The trail to Mary Jane is at top of ski lift (hard right). Was about 7 miles round trip (3.5 hours). Definitely need pants and sweatshirt and rain coat. There is no signage.
~7 Miles RT
June 27, 2004
Mount Galbraith Park
This was a nice close hike. Good views of city and divide. Short hike (~4 miles), not much shade, good gradual elevation gain. Popular hike.