Welcome to the monthly edition of Where Bloggers Live. It’s kind of like HGTV’s “Celebrities at Home,” but…Bloggers! Who doesn’t like to peek behind the scenes and see inside people’s homes? Over the next few months, a group of seven bloggers will be sharing their workspaces, their homes, towns and more! I’m excited to team up with these ladies whose websites are linked at the end of this post. I hope you enjoy!
I’m starting off this series with a fall colors/wildlife hiking tour of one the most beautiful places you’ll ever see, which happens to be in my back yard…well, an hour’s drive from my northern Colorado home, to be exact.
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.” ~Stanley Horowitz
Here in Colorado, we’re fortunate to experience all four seasons, and trust me, this quote describes them perfectly! The autumn colors truly are a mosaic and something beautiful to behold.
If fall colors haven’t come to your area yet, or if you don’t have them where you live, join me as I show photos of Rocky Mountain National Park‘s colors and wildlife, and be inspired!
A few weeks ago, I created a list of 10 Healthy Things I’m Doing this Autumn. Hiking the fall colors was on my list. So earlier this week, I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and did four different hikes in the peak fall colors.
Within seconds of driving into the park, I saw this group of bull elk. The chirping and squeaking sounds you hear are the elk!
Hike #1: Bierstadt Lake Trail
My first and favorite hike of the day was to Bierstadt Lake, a 2.4 mile loop through a series of switchbacks and then around the lake.
Look at this gorgeous hillside painted in varying hues of gold, green, and orange! The air smelled like fall, too, crisp and clean, and just how you might imagine.
I started on the trail at 7:30am; it was pretty cold and windy, so I had my heavy coat on, but I warmed up quickly.
Two deer met me at the trailhead (I couldn’t get a good shot), but the highlight of my day was just moments after arriving at Bierstadt Lake and seeing this female moose wander out of the pines and into the water. Take a look!
Bierstadt Lake and the Continental Divide
Do you see her!?
When I started back down, she was waiting for me on the walkway! That dark thing back on the left is the moose! We had a stare-down for a minute, and I started formulating a plan B in case she came toward me. Thankfully she went off into the woods and I was good to go. 😅
Hike #2: Sprague Lake Trail
I wouldn’t really consider this one a hike, but rather a leisurely .9-mile stroll around Sprague Lake on a flat, hard-packed gravel surface. It’s a family friendly, wheelchair accessible trail with impressive views.
It was still windy but quickly warming up, so I switched to my mid-weight coat. The weather in RMNP changes rapidly, so if you’re planning a trip here, wear layers and bring a few outerwear options.
Hike #3: Hollowell Park to Mill Creek Basin
Driving through the park, I was intrigued by this golden trail of aspen trees cutting across the slope, so I decided to hike this 4-mile trail.
From the trailhead, this one goes across a valley, meets up with a stream, and gently climbs up the hill. It’s a decent hike, but the trail doesn’t lead to the aspens.
Read how these aspens got here below.
I learned that this aspen grove is an old logging “skid trail.” Before RMNP was established, lumbermen hauled timbers from a sawmill at Bierstadt Lake to Estes Park to build the historic Stanley Hotel.
When their operation ended, the soil lay exposed. Flowering plants quickly invaded the scarred logging path, and aspens began to grow there. Eventually, Douglas fir trees will reclaim the trail from this human disturbance.
Icicles already forming on the creek.
Hike #4: Alberta Falls
This is one of the more popular hiking destinations in RMNP and considered one of the best waterfall hikes in the park. After just .8-miles, you arrive at this scenic 30-foot waterfall that thunders down a small gorge on Glacier Creek. It’s an excellent spot to enjoy a picnic and grab some photos.
This one can get pretty crowded, so plan on going early to avoid the crowds.
A few facts about Rocky Mountain National Park:
- Within the park’s boundaries are 60 mountain peaks over 12,000 feet high and the Continental Divide.
- RMNP is one of country’s top wildlife watching destinations and home to more than 60 species of mammals. Some of the animals you might see there include: elk, bighorn sheep, moose, mule deer, white-tailed ptarmigan, yellow-bellied marmot, and pika, among others.
- The park has 355 miles of hiking trails and is home to 156 lakes.
- There are five campgrounds located within the park.
- RMNP is home to Trail Ridge Road, the highest continually-paved road in the US cutting across the Continental Divide and peaking at an elevation of 12,183 feet.
- In the summer, you can drive Old Fall River Road, an 11-mile, mostly gravel, one-way, uphill road with multiple switchbacks and known as a “motor nature trail.” I love this drive!
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Bettye at Fashion Schlub
Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks
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Iris at Iris’ Original Ramblings
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Lisa at Midlife in Bloom
Thanks for the beautiful tour! I’m traveling there from SD in a couple of weeks. I hope there is still some color in those mountains.
Glad you enjoyed it…I hope the color is still here for your upcoming trip, too!
What a wonderful Idea! Seeing where everyone lives and getting to know what they love to do is so fun. I am having total hiking envy from your beautiful pictures, your home state is so gorgeous! xoxo
Next year you’ll have to come and we can do this together. 😘
You almost have me convinced to start hiking Lisa!!! Notice the word, almost! LOL!!
But it really is so gorgeous up in the mountains. I never really appreciated it when I was younger, but I’m glad we went up a couple of times before we moved.
I have a feeling you get in enough steps everyday without hiking, but if you ever want to do one together, I’m in! 😆
After seeing these leaves in full golden glory with sunbeams for highlights (and the amazing animals!!) — Now it feels like fall. I am in awe. What a beautiful hike. 😍
It definitely feels like fall here! One of the best and most gorgeous hikes I can remember. Unforgettable.
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.” ~Stanley Horowitz. I love this, thanks for sharing it!
RMNP is stunningly beautiful! And the moose(s? meeses? meese?)! I have ALWAYS wanted to see a moose out in the world…and you get to see them right where you live! How far are you from the park?
I’m so glad you joined our group and I can’t wait to see more next time!
That quote describes our seasons exactly. I love it, too. RMNP is just an hour from my house. We’re very fortunate to have this amazing place so close.
Thanks for including me in the group! Looking forward to the next ones 🙂
Those golden yellow hues! What a beautiful place! Both of my brothers have visited and said there was hardly anything they’ve seen that could compare.
Hope to put this on our bucket list…thanks for sharing!
I hope you do add it to your list! Your brothers are correct…it’s a magnificent place.
Wow! So very beautiful. I missed the moose the first time. LOL She totally would’ve gotten me. I can’t believe they’re just out there wandering around. Moose are like buffalo, I know they exist but the thought of seeing one in the wild is beyond my imagination.
I was very surprised to see her! I think it was my 3rd or 4th moose sighting in Colorado after being here for 26 years. It’s pretty special.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful area. We have such a varied and interesting country.
Grace & Peace,Iris
We sure do, Iris! Thank you for reading.
Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures!!
Thank you! It was so impressive in real life.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. Takes me back to the many, many, many years spent going to Colorado every fall with my parents to see the Aspen leaves turn.
I’m so happy you enjoyed the pictures, Rhonda. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.