First, going to Colorado from Dallas itself was such a huge difference in every way; the landscape, the weather, everything. A few of my girlfriends planned this spontaneous getaway to Estes Park to hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park, and it turned out to be one of the most productive weekends I’ve ever had this year!
The Town of Estes Park is about an hour and a half drive away from Denver, Colorado, near the Rocky Mountain National Park. Haven’t been to Colorado in a couple of years, so I was really excited to see all the nature (If you guys have read my Canada post, do it because it’s clear that I’m SO into the outdoorsy adventures lately) and get a taste of winter wonderland we don’t have here in Texas!
As you can see, the weather was pretty intense. It was freezing, but I loved it. When you live in Texas and you don’t really get to see snow, it’s extra fabulous when you do. Bear Lake Trail in the Rocky Mountain National Park is the route we chose and our main destination was Emerald Lake while passing Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. Although the distance wasn’t long, the climb was fairly steep throughout, and the snow (a blizzard at one point) made it a bit difficult. All the trails in the Park seemed well paved even with the snow, which showed that people constantly visit. Find more information on the trail here!
These spikes were a life saver. I’ll talk about these spikes at the end of this post for my tips, so read on! We also went to Alberta Falls, which also branches off the Bear Lake Loop in the Rocky Mountains. Left is to Alberta Falls, and right is to the Emerald Lake and more if you want to go for a longer hike.
Besides the mountains, downtown Estes Park was also one of the cutest little towns I came across. I love little towns because of its particular charm that you really can’t find in bigger cities. It’s all about the little mom and pop shops, or that tiny pizza restaurant with the best deals, or that bookstore that’s been a part of the Town since the 1920’s. And I just love that.
Check out this cute, little coffee shop called Coffee on the Rocks in Estes Park on the way to the Rocky Mountain National Park while you’re there! Breathtaking views, great coffee, and you can feed the ducks that follow you around for a $1!
That’s a wrap! I really want to go next time with fall foliage, zip line through the mountains, or even rafting. There are so many outdoor activities for all seasons, so I definitely want to return.
Here are some tips for anyone who’s planning on going to the Rocky Mountains anytime soon:
- Leave early– The snow didn’t seem to bother these hikers at all! Although it was freezing and felt like a blizzard at one point, the parking lot was full of hikers, photographers/videographers, families ready to enjoy the extreme weather. Plan on starting your day early so you’re not in a rush going up and down the mountains!
- Spikes– We rented spikes from Outdoor World for $8 (24-hour rate). The best investment ever, and it’s a world of a difference walking in the snow with and without the spikes. The spikes helped us to stay on track when it was getting slippery! The best idea ever, literally.
- Plan beforehand– There are lots of different options to enjoy within The Rocky Mountain National Park. Plan before, so you can be flexible with the weather changes. The Emerald Lake hike was a good day hike that wasn’t too exhausting yet still challenging, with plenty of pretty views.
Also, thank you so much to Dick’s Sporting Goods for sponsoring such a warm fleece that kept me warm throughout my hike (get mine here or you can find more here) and I’m so happy the girls and I were able to do this! Where’s our next destination?!
P.S. Currently working on a video to relive the 48 hours in the Rocky Mountains. Keep an eye out for it later this week!