Colorado

5 Days in Boulder

Rocky Mountain National Park

After shooting the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail.  We headed down to Boulder for a visit with one of our best friends.  We just had a few days and really wanted to get after it while we were in Colorado.  

Bear Peak

Bear Peak, Boulder Colorado, Hiking

We wanted to get used to the altitude and get in better hiking shape before we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park later in the week.  We went with Bear Peak a 7.7 mile out and back hike to the highest point in the Flat Irons.  This hike is rated difficult and is a climb all the way to the top, and was a great warm up to the high country and getting adjusted to the altitude.  

Valmont Bike Park and Antelope Trail

Mountain Biking, Boulder Colorado.

We discovered the Valmout Mountain Bikepark on this day and fell in love.  We went in the morning before the summer camps showed up.  This is an amazing place for beginners, and advanced riders to develop skills we rode about 5 miles in the park alone.  Later we headed out to ride a few trails out near Lyons.  We rode the Antelope Trail and connected with Nelson Loop for some flowy single track with amazing views.  This was a fun ride with some big climbs and descents.  

Chasm Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park, Boulder

We woke up feeling a bit sore but it was a great day to head up to Rocky Mountain National Park.  It’s a short scenic cruise from Boulder.  Since it was summer the was very busy.  We didn’t want to deal with the crowds plus the day before the NPS was saying that all the parking was full and they weren't letting people in the park.  Knowing this we headed to the lesser used and free (if you don't have a parks pass) Longs Peak Trailhead, near Estes Park.  Earlier in the week we were considering Longs Peak but we decided to do a more mellow hike.  We went with the Chasm Lake Trail.  This is a 8.2 mile out and back trail that is rated moderate to difficult.  We really enjoyed this trail and this was the highlight of the trip.  After we finished the hike we headed down for a night in the Subaru.  I would tell you where but it was so  out there I don't even know where it was.  With this being said there is plenty of camping available on Forest Roads in the area.  

National Forest Camping

Subaru Camping

We woke up and took it easy ate breakfast and enjoyed the sunshine for a bit before heading back down to boulder.  We just took it easy this day visited a few dispensaries and rode the Valmont Bikepark again that evening.  We later biked over to Avery Brewery for a few of the local selections before calling it a night.

On the last day we spent a majority of this day on our bikes.  We headed over to the bikepark, in the morning.  Then spent the rest of the day checking out boulder and its large array of bike trails and headed up to the top of the Boulder Creek Trail.  If we were more prepared and had known we would have brought our tubes and wetsuits for what looked like a wild tube ride down the Boulder Creek.  Later that night we headed to Fresh Thymes for some vegan cuisine.  

Boulder is an incredible little town that has a lot to offer.  We will definitely be back. 

The Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Nestled on the western side of the 14,000 ft peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains lies the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  These sand dunes are the tallest sand dunes in North America, at 750 feet high.  We decided to stop by the dunes on the way up to Vail for an overnight stop, on the way up HWY 285.  

The Dunes are about an hour detour from Alamosa, off highway 285, and it is worth every minute.  Upon arrival, the dunes are much more larger than I expected.  We made our first stop at the first empty picnic area and prepared a quick diner before venturing off on the dunes for sunset.  There are no hiking trails on the dunes so you can basically go wherever you want.  It’s an incredible place for photography.  It's a very surreal place walking around in what seems like the Sahara Desert surrounded by 14,000ft peaks all around.  

This is a very light used national park so you won't have to worry about hoards of people everywhere.  After the visit, I read that this is one of the quietest parks in the US.  However the night we were there, the Pinon Flats campground was completely full.  So we ended up sleeping in the car in the lower parking lot and had no trouble.  We woke up for sunrise and continued the journey to Vail.  

Besides hiking around and photographing, we discovered that there are also a few hike in camp sites at Buck Creek and Escape Dunes.  Also, you can receive overnight camping permits and camp on the dunes.  There is also a 4x4 track that leads to Little Medano Campground.  

The GSDNP is a great place to spend multiple days at or just a few hours.  It’s a great park with some incredible scenery.