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    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Silver Cascade Falls Trail

    9 months ago

    From the top of the Helen Hunt Falls, you have the option to hike to the upper falls (Silver Cascade). The trail is very clearly marked and beautifully maintained. There are several benches along the way for anyone new to hiking or just needing to catch their breath. The trail ends at the Cascade and a beautiful overview of the valley.

    Like I said, not at all challenging, but certainly a great place to take people who may not be confident hikers.

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Helen Hunt Falls Trail

    9 months ago

    You get a lot of bang for your buck on this hike. It's an excellent hike for beginners or complete novices. The parking lot is literally a few feet from the bottom of the main falls. From there hikers can choose to climb up the stone steps to the top of the main waterfall. This is the route outlined on the map.

    From the top of the main waterfall, you have the option to hike to the upper falls (Silver Cascade). The trail is very clearly marked and beautifully maintained. There are several benches along the way for anyone new to hiking or just needing to catch their breath. The trail ends at the upper falls at a beautiful overview of the valley.

    Like I said, not at all challenging, but certainly a great place to take people who may not be confident hikers.

    RadioFreeUtah . added Potential Hikes

    9 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Barr Trail to Pikes Peak

    9 months ago

    The hike is challenging, beautiful, and will push most hikers. The summit moment is a bit compromised when you have to share it with people who took the train or just drove to the top, but it's nothing donuts and coffee at the Summit House can't alleviate. I took the hike in mid-September when several aspen stands were already in full Fall colors, which was nice. Many people complete the full 23 mile round-trip in one day. There are even scary-fit people who treat it as a marathon run and finish in just a few hours. I'm not one of them. I'm slow. So here are a few suggestions for slow rookie hikers like me:

    1. The hike can be 1-way! The Pikes Peak Cog Railway offers hikers' fares on the first and last trains of the day (http://www.cograilway.com/rates.asp#hiker-rates). In my case, going down is hard on my joints, so for $25 I was able to take a train down. I'd highly recommend having a reservation in advance even if you plan on the round trip just in case. Think of it as a $25 insurance policy.

    2. I did the trail over 2 days stopping off at Barr Camp (www.barrcamp.com) for the night. The camp is a not-for-profit cabin that's about 6 miles up the trail at about 10,200 feet. I was able to sleep in the bunk house, out of the elements, for about $43 which included dinner, breakfast, and complimentary ibuprofen (all of which I took full advantage). They also sell some beverages and snacks including Gatoraid and some wonderful energy brownies. Cheaper overnight options are available (tent sites and lean-to's) but the bunk house allowed me to only carry a light sleeping bag in addition to my normal day-pack.

    3. The stated parking fee of $20 is no longer current. Fees are now closer to $40 a day. Moreover, the only way to pay is through the ParkMobile app. Setting up the app is time consuming and reception can be spotty at the lot so get it set up in advance. Additionally, there is a free shuttle service from a central lot (https://manitousprings.org/manitou-springs-free-shuttle-service/) but it may not be operating as early as someone would need for a 23 mile day. Schedule accordingly.

    4. Speaking of parking, booking a night at Barr Camp entitles you to a voucher for reduced parking. I paid $25 for essentially two-days on the lot (normally this would be about $80). Make sure you display the voucher on your dash though, I got a ticket despite having paid (I'll update the review once the City of Manitou Springs determines my appeal.)

    5. As with any Fourteener, be prepared for a 30 degree temperature drop between the base and the summit. Plan for windy conditions and remember that most everything you wear will be damp with sweat. I was glad I had kept a dry shirt and change of pants in a plastic bag in my pack. I was able to change once I got to the Summit House and start the process of warming up.

    Overall, it's a challenging trail with the hardest and most technical portion (the Golden Stairs) saved for the very last part when your body is exhausted and the air is the thinnest. Not a good Fourteener to start with, but certainly worth training up for.

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Grays Peak Trail

    9 months ago

    I'm not quite sure I'd call any hike to 14,270 feet "Moderate". Yes, as far as Colorado 14ers go, Grays has no particularly technical portions, but at the end of the day, you will still be in a grudge match with the altitude. I live in Denver and absolutely felt the thin air impacting my hike. There were a lot of out-of-state hikers who were far more fit than me but still found themselves out of breath at the 13,500 foot mark. All that being said, conquering a 14er is a lot of fun. The views are amazing and the sense of accomplishment is palatable.

    Words of advice:

    1. Bring plenty of water. I went through 3 liters and really wish I'd carried a fourth.

    2. Get there early. The lot is small and there will be a sizeable line of cars along the side of the access road, getting there after 7:30 am most weekends can add a mile or two to the hike.

    3. Give yourself plenty of time. Yes, on paper its only 3.5 miles to the summit, but your body is likely going to start slowing down as oxygen becomes increasingly scarce.

    4. Dress appropriately. The winds on the trail can be fierce and very cold, even on warm days. I found myself switching from warm to cold weather gear a few times during the hike.

    5. Check the weather. There are plenty of places where one can tolerate a bit of rain while hiking, but at 14,000 feet with no shelter in sight is not one of them. If there's a chance of rain, try a different hike.

    RadioFreeUtah . completed Grays Peak Trail

    9 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Seven Bridges Trail

    9 months ago

    The actual Seven Bridges hike is truly a fun and exciting hike. It's deceptively challenging and offers beautiful vistas along the way. There's really no clear stop and turn-around point apart from the seventh bridge (all the bridges are numbered for convenience btw), but the trail just more or less falls into disrepair while simultaneously becoming more difficult.

    Overall, I nice day in the forest that I'd recommend to anyone looking for a pleasant but challenging hike.

    RadioFreeUtah . completed Seven Bridges Trail

    9 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

    10 months ago

    Let me start off by saying that Eldorado Canyon State Park is remarkably well maintained by the State. The trails are clear, well maintained, and even include bench seating where you might not expect it.

    The Rattlesnake Gulch loop is probably the most challenging trail in the park but still is accessible for people of average physical fitness. I saw many children in the trail along with older couples. Take your time, make sure to bring enough water, and you'll do fine. There are a few rocky points and one washed out portion that could be considered "tricky" but the trail requires no real technical skill.

    The Continental Divide Overlook is a wonderful spot to take a much deserved break. There are even benches up there!

    A few tips:

    1. About 300 yards up the trail above the Continental Divide Overlook there's a small spur off the main trail that offers a brilliant view of the whole valley behind the Canyon.

    2. You can park on County Rode 67 and hike Fowler Trail all the way into the Canyon. It'll add few extra miles to the walk and allow you to skip the park fees.

    3. Don't confuse the Crags Hotel ruins with the Continental Divide Overlook. Both offer stunning vistas of the canyon and deserve to be explored, but I noticed more than a couple of groups who got to the ruins and then just turned around believing they'd reached the Overlook.

    RadioFreeUtah . completed Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

    10 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Amphitheater and Saddle Rock Loop

    10 months ago

    No doubt about it, Chautauqua Park is a busy place on the weekends. Don't be surprised to find a full parking lot. Parking on weekends is not free, either download the Park Mobile app before you go or be prepared to take the Park to Park shuttle (plenty of signage along Baseline Road telling you were those pickups are located so kudos Boulder).

    So now that your in a busy mountain park, where do you go? I recommend the Amphitheater/Saddlerock loop. It's a steeper climb than most of the park which keeps a lot of the traffic at a minimum. Despite being there an a gorgeous Sunday morning I probably saw fewer than ten hikers on this trail, even with the Chautauqua lots being full!

    Most of the hike is shaded in a pine forest and the trail (like all the trails in Chautauqua) is well maintained. The incline can be intense, but does not require any unique technical proficiency and I don't recall any part that I would consider at all dangerous. This is a great trail for new hikers looking to challenge themselves or prepare for more challenging hikes.

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Ouzel Falls Trail

    11 months ago

    This is a beautiful trail full of stunning vistas and dense pine and aspen forests (I'll be going back during the fall). The lot fills up fast so get there early!

    I saw a lot of smaller children negotiating the trail without a problem. Make sure to keep them close! There aren't any inherently dangerous points on the trail, but the rapids can be alluring and will limit your ability to communicate across long distances.

    A few tips:

    (1) Take the time to walk the Copeland Falls bypass. It adds virtually no distance to the hike and gives you some nice views of the St. Vrain rapids.

    (2) Take the Ouzel Falls viewpoint spur just to the left of the bridge. It's a short (literally less than 20 yeards) sort of free-for-all climb to the base of the falls that is totally worth it.

    (3) Even if you're not continuing on to Ouzel Lake take the time to climb up to the vista above the falls for an amazing view of the whole canyon.

    RadioFreeUtah . completed Ouzel Falls Trail

    11 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . followed Dallas Lewis

    11 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Chief Mountain Trail

    11 months ago

    The single-track trail starts in a dense pine forest which keeps things fairly cool throughout the day. The climb is steadily upward to just above the tree line. Despite not being a 14'er, the views of the surrounding range are incredible and worth the journey. The trail is well marked and has no dangerous drop offs or technical portions.

    Overall, it's a good climb for rookies looking to work their way up to 14'ers or for visitors looking to acclimate to Colorado's altitude. I am holding back a star just as a warning that parking can be extremely limited. I arrived at 7:30 am on a Saturday and managed to get one of the last spots in the designated parking area (though many opted to park along the narrow shoulder after I arrived.)

    RadioFreeUtah . completed Chief Mountain Trail

    11 months ago

    RadioFreeUtah . reviewed Lake Isabelle Trail

    12 months ago

    A solidly challenging but safe for children hike. The payoff at the end is simply spectacular. Highly recommend for moderate trail hikers looking for a challenge. Take special note that the distance listed on the description is from the trail head at the Long Lake parking lot. This lot was not open when we arrived. We parked in the main lot for Brainard Lake which added about 2 miles of very light walking to the overall round trip.