Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking, Estes Park Colorado

Chasm Lake on the way to Longs Peak
Looking down into Chasm Lake
We took a long weekend trip the last weekend in October to get some hiking in.  Luckily work had me in Steamboat Springs for a few days and made it easy to extend the trip into the weekend.  Neither of us had been in Rocky Mountain National Park before so we very anxious to get this trip in.  Being a bit late in the season we were hoping that we got to see some of the fall color before it was gone and also got to hit the trails before the snow covered it up too much.  The weather forecast was a bit iffy with a 50% chance of snow in Estes Park.  We awoke in the morning with decent weather, so it seemed, so we decided to give it a shot.  Most of the fall colors were gone, but we got pretty lucky with some good hiking weather at the start of our hike.

Our trip started at the Longs Peak parking lot/trail head.  Luckily the weather forecast must have scared off most of the casual hikers as the parking lot was for the most part empty at 10 am.  From what I read this isn't usually the case at Longs Peak as it's one of the busier trails in the national park.  Their loss!  We certainly weren't prepared to hike to Longs so we chose Chasm Lake as our destination for this trek.  The Chasm Lake hike is about 9 miles round trip and you gain about 2500' in elevation.  It isn't too challenging, but the wind and snow once we came above the tree line made it a little rough.

As you come up to the top of the ridge about 3.5 miles in you'll reach an intersection.  The trail to Longs peak goes to the right and the Chasm Lake trail heads to the left past a bathroom.  Follow this route down to the lake.  The new snow and storm surely gave us some unique views and photo opportunities.  The weather was pretty good until we got near the lake.  Once there a storm blew in with 30-40mph winds and heavy snow.  I can't imagine it was more than 25 degrees outside at the same time.  A bit cold especially with the wind.  We snapped a few pics and quickly heading back to the shelter of the tree line.  All in all it was a great hike.  The snowcapped mountains really created some amazing views and pictures.  If you're in the area I certainly recommend to heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park and hiking up to Chasm Lake.

Video of the weather:

Here are some pics from the trip:

Chasm Lake hike photos
Looking down into Chasm Lake as the snow storm blew in
Chasm Lake trail intersection with longs peak
Katie at the first intersection with the storm starting to move in
Snow storm at Chasm Lake near Longs Peak
Heading back in the storm
Hiking to Chasm Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
Above Chasm Lake on the ridge

A quick video of the Chasm Lake hike I found on YouTube.

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