Of all the hikes I’ve done in Colorado, Chief Mountain is my favorite. This 3-mile, snowy hike in Colorado’s Front Range stretches above the tree line to 11,709 ft and offers a truly 360-degree panoramic view of the nearby mountains. The hillsides are covered with dense alpine forests and gradually becomes covered in thick layers of snow near the peak. It’s incredible to be surrounded by mountains and seeing the Colorado Rockies from such a high vantage point.
St Mary’s Glacier is a beautiful hike in Idaho Springs, Colorado that’s only one hour away from Denver and offers incredible views of the Colorado Rockies. It is a short but strenuous hike that takes you to over 11,000 ft, but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the glacier lake below and the mountains in the distance. I’ve hiked St Mary’s Glacier the first time in 2017 and again last month and I would definitely recommend it.
Never before have I crossed a frozen lake in 60-degree weather… until I hiked in the Rockies. The hike to Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is an exciting hike, with micro spikes and frozen lake crossings, that takes you deep into the Rockies and passes by two other lakes on the way. The alpine lake is hidden deep within the mountains and tucked between snow-capped peaks, and the hike there offers rewarding views of Hallett Peak and the expansive Rocky Mountains range.
Boulder seems like the place to be for hiking. Not far from my previous hike to the flatirons is another popular hike up Mt. Sanitas with phenomenal views of the Rocky Mountains throughout. The 3.1-mile trail climbs up the ridge of the mountain until you reach the summit at over 6800 ft in elevation, where you can see Boulder stretch into the Plains.
Over 7000 ft above sea level with amazing views of the Continental Divide, the hike to the First and Second Flatirons is one of the better hikes I’ve done in Colorado since I arrived in Denver three weeks ago. The 2.6-mile roundtrip hike climbs up the mountains behind Boulder, wraps around the second flatiron, and takes you right up to the base of the first flatiron. From the top, you could see the endless layers of the Rocky Mountains, the distinct features of the other flatirons, and Boulder down below. It is also a fun trail to hike through different terrains and viewpoints.
Tucked high up in the Cascades, Lake Serene offers beautiful views of the snow-covered lake against the 3000-ft vertical cliffs right behind it. The hike takes you through the forest in the lower section, past Bridal Veil Falls, and quickly ascends into snowy terrain before opening up to the lake. I hiked this last month and found it to be a moderate to challenging hike, mainly because of the snow. But with the right preparations it’s a manageable hike with rewarding views and even avalanche sightings!
A couple weekends ago, I hiked to Wallace Falls since it was one of the few hikes accessible in Seattle during the winter. It was an easy half-day hike that goes through thick forests, crosses picturesque wooden bridges, and offers beautiful views of several waterfalls.
Franklin Falls is an easy and enjoyable winter hike with a rewarding waterfall at the end. The trail hugs the Snoqualmie River and takes you through the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest until you reach the 135-feet waterfall. While the road closure in the winter adds a few miles to the hike, the waterfall is even more beautiful in the snow and the trail is less crowded.
With most of the hiking trails in Washington state covered in snow or under avalanche warning, Heybrook Lookout is one of the few trails that is accessible during this time of the year. The trailhead is only an hour outside of Seattle and it’s a short hike with steady elevation gain, making it an easy morning hike that can be done in under two hours. The lookout tower itself is an impressive wooden structure and the top offers rewarding views of the Cascades.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, I took a day trip east to Gold Creek Pond and Leavenworth. It was a short walk to the pond and we were rewarded with beautiful views of the water with reflections of blue skies and the Snoqualmie mountains. As we continued driving through snow-capped mountains, we reached Leavenworth and basked in early Christmas festivities. Our day was a balance of outdoor adventures and beautiful sceneries mixed with dreamy holiday vibes over mulled wine.