The Great Sand Dunes National Park is such an odd and intriguing place where sand covers some 30 square miles in the middle of southern Colorado. I visited the park about two months ago to check it out and attempted to sandboard, and it felt like I was on a different planet. The wind creates such perfectly crisp ridge lines that extend endless up towards the sand dunes, eventually merging with the sky and the snowcapped mountains in the background.
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.
The Utah mountains on one side and an endless stretch of salt flats on the other. Imagine this view at the Bonneville Salt Flats but magnify it by tenfold and add a pink sunset that dips behind the mountains. It was such an incredible sunset, especially because we were able to walk to the middle of the salt flats with nothing around us.
I finally backpacked into Havasupai after hearing so much about it and finally reserving a permit last February. I spent 3 days this April in Havasupai swimming in turquoise-colored waterfalls and sleeping under the stars. It was so relieving to completely disconnect and take in the beauty of the Havasupai Waterfalls.
One of the best hikes, if not the best hike, I’ve done.
The Narrows refer to the narrow canyons the North Fork of the Virgin River. It is one of the most iconic hikes to do in Zion National Park and perhaps the most unique hike of all national parks. You’re hiking in river water as high as chest-deep snaking through the massive slot canyons, where the sun’s rays occasionally shine through to create dramatic curves and shadows. Besides your footsteps splashing and the echo of your voice, all you hear is the endless roaring river
Angels Landing is a classic hike and one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park. The trail begins at the canyon floor, traverses through 21 steep switchbacks, and ascends along the ridge to Angels Landing. For those brave enough to hike the last half-mile using chains with 1,000 ft cliffs on either side, they’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Zion Canyon. It is said that “Angels Landing is so high that only an angel could land on it.”