Tags Posts tagged with "Hiking"


By Deb Stanley,

Driving between Aspen and Leadville on Independence Pass, don’t miss the short hike to scenic Weller Lake. The hike starts at a small, signed parking lot 0.3 miles east of mile marker 49. One end of the parking lot has marked parking spaces, the trailhead is on the other end of the parking lot.

At the Weller Lake sign, walk down a few steps to the bank of the Roaring Fork River. Turn left and follow one of the social trails to a bridge over the river.

Cross the bridge, climb up ten steps and look for a trail split. Turn right. About a quarter mile from the trailhead, you’ll find a sign marking the entrance to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

It’s around that spot that the switchbacks begin. Switchbacks are back and forth trails that crisscross a mountain, making it easier to gain elevation than going straight up.

Cross another bridge over the Weller Lake outlet stream at 0.43 miles and then it’s just an 8th of a mile to Weller Lake. You can take nice shots of the lake from here, or do some boulder hopping to get a little closer to the shore.

Details: The hike to Weller Lake and back to your car in the parking lot is about 1.25 miles round-trip with 250 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: From Aspen, drive 0.3 miles past the mile marker 49 sign. In 2012, there was a sign before the parking lot letting drivers know Weller Lake was next. The parking lot is paved and has about 10 spaces.

In the area, don’t miss the ghost town of Independence about 5 miles away. Click here for more great hikes in Colorado and throughout the west.

By Deb Stanley,

When you think volcanoes, you probably don’t think Colorado. However, we have a volcano crater in Dotsero, a town on Interstate 70 between Eagle and Glenwood Springs. Dotsero got its name when it was listed as “Dot Zero” as a reference point on survey maps created in the late 1800s.

Dotsero Volcano erupted about 4,000 years ago creating a crater about a half-mile across and 1,300 feet deep, according to the Smithsonian. Over the years, sediment has filled the crater. Now visitors will see a crater that is about 600 feet deep.

Visitors can drive up to the lip of the crater (directions below). Hiking the area will give you a better appreciation for this place.

Park next to the sign for Castle Peak and take a look around. You’re standing at about 7,100 feet in elevation. The bottom of the crater is about 6,800 feet. The top is 7,300. Hikers can trek up the road toward the top of the crater and an old mining structure. You may also want to take a social trail closer to the lip of the crater. Adventurous hikers can pick their way down the slope of the crater to explore the bottom. However, this is not an easy trek and is not recommended for children. Just remember, if you go down, you have to hike back up the steep slope.

At the bottom, hikers will find the remnants of car wrecks and trash. Exploring through the vegetation we found numerous tires, wheels and even a car engine. You may also find a diamond. A BLM geologist told me to look for dark Basalt rocks, crack them open and if there is something sparkling inside, it’s likely a diamond. The only problem with that? Basalt rocks are hard and diamonds are even harder. We think we spotted a rock with two diamond chips, but we left it behind in case you want to look yourself.

When you’re done exploring, return to your vehicle and return the way you came.

Details: Hiking to the top of the crater, to the bottom and back to the parking area is about 1.25 miles with 650 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: From Interstate 70, take exit 133 and turn right on U.S. 6. Go a couple hundred feet and turn right on the frontage road for the highway going east. Just before the entrance to the trailer park, go left around the north side of the trailer park. This road continues east for a short distance, then turns uphill. It’s about 2.3 miles from the highway to the crater. The BLM says to park carefully because work trucks use this road and they need plenty of space.

For more information, call the BLM Colorado River field office at 970-876-9000. For more hikes in the Glenwood Springs area, visit Hanging Lake, Doc Holliday’s graveStorm King Mountain or Grizzly Creek. For more hikes in Colorado and throughout the west, click here.





By Deb Stanley,

Looking for solitude? Then consider the scenic drive, then hike to Fryingpan Lakes.

The drive is about 40 miles from Highway 82 in Basalt (directions below). While the drive is a bit long and slow (35-40 mph most of the way), it’s also very beautiful. The road is lined with Aspens, so if come in mid-to-late September, you’ll be tempted to stop often to photograph the turning leaves. Along the drive, you’ll also pass the very large, Reudi Reservoir. Look for sailboats skimming across the water.

The trail starts at a water diversion structure. Walk to the left of the structure, past a sign and cross the river on a bridge.

The first few steps of the hike parallel a pretty river, then the trail turns into the thick forest. It’s much cooler, temperature-wise, in the forest. And make sure you look at the trees. There are trees of all size here — small, medium and large.

Less than a half-mile from the trailhead, you’ll come to a sign letting you know you’re officially entering the Hunter-Fryingpan wilderness.

One mile into the hike, the trail emerges from the forest and into a meadow in the middle of a valley. This is a beautiful spot with the river below you and the cliffs above you.

For the rest of the hike to the lakes, you’ll be hiking in and out of the forests and meadows. This is also an up and down hike. While the elevation difference from the trailhead to the upper lakes is 1,000 feet, add at least another 250 feet of elevation gain each way for all the ups and downs.

After walking one side of the valley for 2.3 miles, suddenly the trail drops down to the river and crosses the Fryingpan River on a bridge. (Note: if you read older articles about this trail, you’ll be warned about this river crossing, but in 2012 we found a nice bridge here.) The rest of the hike is on the opposite side of the river.

After crossing several more meadows (most of them avalanche paths), and walking through several more forest sections, suddenly the lake appears at 3.8 miles from the trailhead. This is a good-sized lake in a very pretty setting. The question now — what lake is this? My GPS said it was “small lake.” Some articles call this Lower Fryingpan Lake. I’m going with Lower Fryingpan Lake. That striking mountain peak in the distance? That’s Deer Mountain, standing 13,761-feet high.

After some pictures, it’s time to hike on. From here, it’s 0.75 miles to a pair of Upper Fryingpan Lakes. Some trip reports say the trail maintenance ends at the lower lake, but we had no problem following the trial to the upper lake.

Upper Fryingpan Lake is still in the middle of a valley, but it’s a very scenic valley. The lake, at 11,059 feet, sits below two 13ers — Deer Mountain at the end of the valley and Mount Oklahoma to your left. Even the peaks on the other side of the valley will help you create amazing photos of the lake.

After a break, boulder hop to the third lake, which sits in a grassy area just past the lake or return the way you came.

Details: The hike to the upper lake is 9 miles round-trip with about 1,500 feet of elevation with all the ups and downs.

Directions: From Highway 82, take Basalt Avenue east and zero your odometer. At the traffic circle, go three-quarters of the way around to Midland Street. Go straight ahead to the stop sign and turn right, staying on Midland. Midland winds through town and turns into Fryingpan Road. When your odometer hits 31 miles, start watching for a turnoff on the right for the Fryingpan Lakes trailhead. Turn right and take the dirt road 5.7 miles to where it dead-ends at the trailhead.

If you’re in the Aspen area, don’t miss Cathedral Lake and American Lake. Find more great hikes in Colorado and throughout the west here.

By Deb Stanley,

Red Mountain is the original location of the Glenwood Springs ski area. Now it’s a place where hikers, walkers and bikers like to work out and enjoy the views. The trailhead is in town, so it’s an easy trek for residents. But the trailhead can be tricky to find, making it tough for visitors. (Directions below)

In the parking lot, signs tell visitors that Jeanne Golay trained on this trail in 1992 when she won three gold medals at the National Road Cycling Championships and took sixth in the cycling road race at the Olympics in Barcelona. The Red Mountain Trail was renamed after Golay to honor her cycling accomplishments.

Now you can hike the same trail Golay still rides. After reading the signs, head west up the trail. When you come to a road, you have options. Take the road uphill to the summit. Or stay on the dirt path which will take you up a steep hill.

No matter which option you chose, you will get to choose again. The hiking trail and the road reconnect several times. When the trail dead ends on the road, turn uphill and take the road until you find the next trail sign. Then choose again, you can take the single track dirt trail or stay on the road. Either way, the trek from the parking lot to the lookout where the paragliders launch is about 3.1 miles each way.

Along the road, you will come to a 180-degree turn with a bench in two places. The benches are great spots to enjoy the scenery. Look east into the canyon to see the Colorado River as it snakes its way to Glenwood Springs. Look north to see the Roaring Fork River where it comes from Aspen, until it merges with the Colorado River. Also to the north is the dramatic snow-capped twin peaks of Mount Sopris at 12,965 feet.

At the top of the mountain, you’ll find a lighted cross, a paraglider launch zone with wind socks and an old home of some sort. Enjoy the views and return via the road and/or the trails.

Details: While many articles say the trail is 1-2 miles each way, my GPS registered 3.1 miles to the paraglider launch spot. A sign at the trailhead said the trail was 3.5 miles. Expect at least 1,600 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: From the bridge over the Colorado River, go south, then turn west on 8th. Go one block and turn right to get to 7th Street. Turn left on 7th Street. Turn left on Midland, right on 10th, right on Red Mountain and left on 9th to get to the trailhead.

If you want to do more hiking in Glenwood Springs, try the Hanging LakeStorm King MountainGrizzly CreekDotsero Crater or Doc Holliday’s grave. For an extensive list of hikes in Colorado and throughout the west, click here.

Don’t miss any of my hiking reports. Follow me, HikingDebbie on Twitter or DenverHikingExaminer on Facebook.




Courtesy of

By Carri Wilbanks,

Headed to Aspen this summer? Well, after seeing this line-up of cultural events and outdoor activities you will want to head West to the Roaring Fork Valley!

Outdoor Plays by Theatre Aspen

Talk about a unique theater experience – Theatre Aspen’s shows are staged at beautiful Rio Grande Park, just steps off Main Street. Imagine a backdrop of Aspen Mountain and nights dotted with starts, all the while watching Broadway actors as well as local talent put on a tremendous show. Coming up this summer:

Les Misérables: June 21 – Aug 17

Fully Committed July 5 – Aug 15

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown – July 11 – Aug 17

Theatre Aspen
110 E. Hallam St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-9313

Adrenlaine Rush With Blazing Adventures

Keywords here: Rafting, Inflatable Kayaks, Jeeping and Hiking. Here are three trips offered from this outdoor adventure company.

  • Whiskey River: Get ready to get whisked away on this trip down the Middle Roaring Fork. Take the trip in either a ducky or raft, followed by a stop at the Woody Creek Distillery for a tasting of locally made spirits.

*Available Tuesdays & Fridays.

*Cost: Ducky’s: $112.50 per person. Rafts: $112.50 per person

  • Cathedral Lake Hike: Trek to a stunning spot with a guide to a lake which is named for its unique feature of a cathedral stone wall.

*Round trip distance: 6 miles

*Cost: $98.50 per person, includes lunch.

  • Standup Paddle Board Tours: Learn the latest way to ride the waves. Instructors will teach you skills such as balance, paddling techniques and safety moves. Expect a great core workout! Trip finishes with a riverside BBQ lunch at a private river park near the Glenwood Canyon.

*Cost $158.50 per person. Includes lunch, rentals of wetsuit, booties, helmet and needed gear.

Blazing Adventures
555 E. Durant Ave.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 923-4544

Discover Culture at Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Art Museum continuously rotates contemporary art from artists from around the world. Head here to check out a few of the innovative exhibitions of the summer:

  • Lorna Simpson: Works on Paper

July 26 – September 22, 2013

Through drawings and collages, this artist examines ways gender and culture shape the experience of life in our contemporary multiracial society.

Aspen Art Museum
590 N. Mill St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-8050

Connect with History at Aspen Historical Society

Learn the history of this 1888 Queen Anne style built by Jerome Wheeler. Inside you can find- Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People. The exhibit explores the past and present of Native Americans in the American West. The exhibit journeys through the loss of their culture, territory, language and forced assimilation and their position in the world today.

Open Tues. – Sat. 1 – 5pm. $6 adults, $5 seniors (admission fee also includes the Holden/Marolt Museum) Children under 12 Free.

Aspen Historical Society
620 W Bleeker St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-3721

Step into Nature with Aces (Aspen Center for Environmental Studies)

Learn about ecology, natural history and stewardship. Here is the line up of ongoing programs:

Starting on June 15- travel along mountain streams, over ridgelines, and through beautiful valleys with ACES’ naturalists. Options include:

  • Aspen Mountain: tours offered daily on the hour from 10 am to 3 pm. Meet at the top

of the Aspen Mountain gondola.

Discovery Center in the Snowmass Village Mall.

the Maroon Lake information center.

This hike has it all: explore the historic silver mining ghost town of Ashcroft and wander up along Castle Creekon this a 3.5 mile round-trip hike. Includes a gourmet lunch at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.. $75 includes tour and lunch. (Unless ordering a la carte for $38).



By Deb Stanley,

Keystone and Arapahoe Basin are great places to ski and the mountains and gulches in between the two ski areas are filled with great hiking trails. Chihuahua Gulch, about six miles from Keystone, features mountain peaks, streams, wildflowers and a beautiful lake.

The hike starts on Peru Creek Road (directions below). If you have a high-clearance, 4-wheel drive, you can drive the first two miles up Chihuahua Gulch Road, but we decided to hike it. The road is rocky, but wide. A short distance from the trailhead, you’ll come to a scree field that we decided must have been deposited by a glacier because there are just so many boulders piled up.

The road takes a major dip at a stream crossing, but just go upstream a short distance to find a bridge to help you cross. From here, it’s just a short hike into a large, wide-open gulch/meadow surrounded by mountain peaks. The road is fairly flat as it winds through the gulch, crossing a stream several times. There are no more bridges along the way, so you’ll either be rock hopping through the water or getting your feet wet depending on how much rain and snow there’s been.

After 2.1 miles, the Jeep road ends at a sign that says “Chihuahua Trail” and “no motor vehicles.” There are a couple parking space for those who drive here, but there are not many. Look around, somewhere in this area is a trail that branches off to the backside of the 14er Grays Peak.

From here, the trail turns rocky and steep. There’s about 1,000 feet of elevation gain in the next 1.4 miles to the lake. Take your time. When you need a break, turn in a circle and enjoy the views in every direction.

About a half mile from the Chihuahua Gulch split, the trail levels off again above tree line. The trail winds through the tundra here, below the rocky cliffs around Chihuahua Lake. You may even see cascades of water coming down the cliffs from the lake above. The trail goes past the lake to a rocky scree field. Carefully scramble up the very loose rocks to the lake’s cirque above.

At the top of the saddle, you’ll be awed by the peaks that surround the lake, but you won’t see the water right away. You have to hike a short distance for a view of Chihuahua Lake on a shelf below the peaks.

This is a beautiful place. You may have to explore around the rocks, down to the shoreline and maybe up the cliffs a bit to find a good place to take a picture of this lake. Come early enough to avoid the afternoon storms and still spend some time at this scenic spot.

Details: From the trailhead at Peru Creek Road and Chihuahua Gulch, it’s about 6.8 miles round-trip to the lake with 1,800 feet of elevation gain. The lake sits at about 12,300 feet.

Directions: From Keystone, drive west on U.S. 6 to Montezuma Road. (With all the growth at Keystone, this road is at the western edge of the resort.) Take Montezuma Road 4.5 miles to Peru Creek Road and turn right. There’s a huge parking area with a sign that says “This is Peru Creek.” Peru Creek Road is rough, but most cars can make it. Drive Peru Creek Road 2.1 miles to the Chihuahua Gulch turnoff and find a parking space off the road.

Don’t miss any of my hiking reports. Follow me, HikingDebbie on Twitter or DenverHikingExaminer on Facebook.



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