Round Mountain, CO, April 23rd, 2005

I met up with Deepti at the Fort Collins library at 7:30am Saturday morning, and after just an 18 mile drive, we were at the trailhead for our hike. I'm used to 150 mile drives minimum to get to mounatins in NH, so this short drive was awesome!

Trail stats:
distance: 9.5 miles roundtrip
starting elevation: 5700'
summit elevation: 8450'
Online info

Started the hike at 8:15, and quickly passed a group of boy scouts. The weather was sunny, pleasant, but hazy. We had the trail all to ourselves for the hike up.

The trail had many switchbacks, and the first view was of a rocky cliff on the other side of the Big Thompson River valley

The trail was quite gentle with lots of switchbacks, rather than steep rocky climbs. Soon the view opened up to the east, where we could see the hazy plains past the foothills.

We heard a strange bird call, and saw a gliding raven above.

Deepti admires the view from the rocky open faced trail. (pan to the right)

The path eventually worked inward, into a meadow. The trail continued it's round-about path towards the summit. Seems like they could have made this trail 2 miles shorter if it just went straight to the top, up the rocks.

After about 2 hours and 15 minutes, we reached the top, and saw a decent view to the west.

I scouted around for a more scenic lookout to each lunch at, and found one. We admired Long's Peak, and the continental divide spine capped in white. We realized the trail was so gentle, that neither of us had opened our water bottles until lunch.

Here's a close(r) up view of Long's Peak, at 14,230', from our vantage point at 8450'.

On the way back down, we passed about 2 dozen people coming up. We're glad we started early, and had the trail and summit to ourselves for so long. We noticed a grove of Aspen trees on the way back.

Soon we hit the bouldery section of the path again. Some of the rocks were quite red.

We stopped and climbed up a rocky outcrop that looked east.

Yeah, I know I'm shadowed out, but this pic is just to scare my mom. ;-)

This rocky segment of the path was cool.

After the hike, we drove another 20 miles to Estes Park, and up to border of Rocky Mountain National Park, where we saw a field of elk

On the way back, we saw another group of them.

The Rocky Mountain National Park area looked amazing! But that will have to wait for future hike reports. Stay tuned...

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