Denver + Rocky Mountain National Park
My boyfriend and I visited Denver and Rocky National Park over a long weekend in February. Highlights of our trip included going to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and driving into Rocky Mountain National Park to do a snowshoe hike in the Estes Park area.
On Friday, we went out to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and hiked on a few trails around the area. The views here were incredible, although cold. The trails weren't too hard, but we weren't wearing hiking boots or proper hiking gear, and some areas had deep snow and were hard to walk on. Overall, it was beautiful.
On Saturday, we rented a red Jeep Wrangler and headed on the scenic route to Estes Park. We took the Peak to Peak Byway to get there (which I highly recommend). It was extremely windy and snowing; along the way there were spots where no one was even on the road because of the harsh conditions. I wanted to stop a lot more to take photos, but it was just too windy and some of the pull-off's weren't cleared. We were able to stop a few times to get some good photos, including some with the jeep ;).
Once we arrived to Estes Park, we headed to the Estes Park Mountain shop to rent snowshoes. We then drove to the Bear Lake Trailhead.
The goal of this hike was to make it to Dream Lake. There are 3 lakes along this route: Bear Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake. Bear Lake was only about .5 miles into the hike, so we made it there fairly quickly and easily. The entire hike I felt like I was in a Winter Wonderland, Evergreen trees covered in snow was a sight to see. The trail started getting tougher after Bear Lake; steeper, deeper, and more narrow. We took a small break at an overlook to take some photos, then we continued on. Dream Lake is about 1 mile in, which would normally seem easy, but when hiking through a few feet of snow and 80-100 MPH winds, it was tough. Once we made it to the frozen lake, we took a few pictures and then headed back. The winds were far too strong to stay any longer than a couple minutes, but this view was worth it. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.