Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Monday, December 13, 2010

Maroon Creek Road (Winter)

Maroon Creek Road (Winter)
Maroon Lake Recreation Area, White River National Forest

Date Hiked: December 13, 2010

Distance: 5 mi (one way)

U.S. Forest Service Maroon Lake Info and Map

Directions:  From Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road south west for about 5 miles to the winter closure area.  You have to park here as the road is closed in the winter.

Snowshoeing, skiing, or otherwise traveling along Maroon Creek Road in the winter makes for a beautiful day and a quick way to explore a taste of the splendor of the Elk Mountains.  The road is closed for about 5 miles and generally packed with good snow.  You can go as far as you want, but if go all the way, you'll be one of the few to see Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells in the Winter.  To encourage you to go all the way, here's a photo below of the Maroon Bells in the winter taken from the top of the Aspen Highlands Ski Area:

When we cross country skied this road, we made it about 3 miles before we turned back.  If you only go this far, you still get an amazing view of Pyramid Peak, which makes all the effort immediately worth it.

After you're done playing in the snow, I  highly recommend hitting the J Bar for some good scotch...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shootin' Star Trail, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Shootin' Star Trail
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Date Hiked: October 30, 2010

Distance: 4.6 mi (RT)

Florissant Fossil Beds NM Website

Directions: From Colorado Springs head west on

Florissant Fossil Beds main purpose as a National Park is to preserve the petrified tree stumps and other paleontological resources discovered on this site.  Most of the park's visitors will congregate around the exhibits at the visitor center.  If you want to get away from the crowds and stretch your legs, then cross the street (Hwy 1) and choose 1 of 2 hiking options on the east side of the park.

The Shootin' Star Trail is a good option for a longer hike in the park.  The trail starts by following the Hornbeck Wildlife Loop for 1.1 miles to the junction with the Shootin' Star Trail and the Twin Rock Trail.  Make a right (southeast) to choose the Shootin' Star Trail.  The trail then rolls though Ponderosa Pine forest and open meadow for the next 1.2 miles.  Look out for the great views of Pike's Peak during this section.  The trail ends at a picnic area and trailhead on Lower Twin Rocks Road.  Go back the way you came.

This part of the park gets far fewer visitors (although the park in general is pretty quiet) and allows you to explore the local terrain.  You'll find peace, quiet, and solitude for sure.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Red Rocks Trail, Boulder OSMP

Red Rocks Trail
City of Boulder

Date Hiked: August 27, 2010

Distance:  1.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 250ft
Managing Agency: City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks

Red Rocks Trail Map (Boulder OSMP)

Directions:  The Red Rocks Trail is accessed either at the Settler's Park Trailhead off of Arapahoe Ave or the Centennial Trailhead off of Sunshine Canyon Drive, both of which are in Boulder.

The Red Rocks Trail is a short but interesting hike that weaves among stunning red rock formations.  Starting at the Centennial Trailhead you immediately start to gain some elevation as you head south.  Views of Mt. Sanitas to the north are immediate.  Once you reach the top of the hill, and are looking down a scenic valley, the Red Rocks Trail will take you to the left and up to the formations themselves.  The trail explores the rocks for a while before heading down the valley towards Settler's Park.  As you near Arapahoe Ave, you cross a small creek with nice riparian vegetation before turning east to explore the other side of the rock formation.  On the east side the trail climbs through the rocks and along the rolling hills east of the formation.  Once you crest the same hill that you started on the trail will turn back to the west and rejoin the trail leading to the Centennial Trailhead.

While not as iconic as Red Rocks Park, Roxborough State Park, or Garden of the Gods, Boulder's Red Rocks Trail shows off the region's geology with a short and simple hike that kids and adults will both find exciting.