Sunny days always keep us itching to get outside. These two happy hikers have been trying to make the best of this summer. We recently recently embarked on a summer journey from Denver to Las Vegas. This trip was an amazing adventure through 9 of our National Parks and a few other amazing spots along the way...
Stop 1: Rocky Mountain National Park
RMNP is one of the most popular national parks and draws approximately 3.4 million visitors per year, mostly in the summer. When we started to plan our visit this was a must stop on our summer hiking adventure. We had heard great things and RMNP didn't disappoint. Make sure if you plan to stop by this popular national park, that you are well prepared and take a look at several options for hiking and/or camping. Our plan was to stay at mostly backcountry campsites throughout our trip and we wanted to make sure we got a good spot in RMNP since we had heard there were a lot of great sites. If you plan to make a visit, know that from June through September the park sees a huge influx of visitors so make sure if you want a back country site that you plan ahead. The booking of backcountry sites in RMNP must be done over the phone. Make sure you have several options of sites when you call so that if your first option isn't availble you can easily move on to your second or third choice and not waste time having to call back. We ended up not being able to get any of our options in the Bear Lake area so we ended up booking a site at Pear Lake.
Pear Lake is located in the Wild Basin Area of the park in the South East corner of the park and was much less crowded that any area near the Beaver Meadows Entrance just outside of Estes Park that we visited. We spoke to a few people on the trail that said we had made a good choice hiking out to Pear Lake if we were looking for a little more solitude. It was a great hike that was about 7.2 miles to our back country site at Pear Creek. The trail had amazing landscape changes from open grassy fields to steep rocky climbs, to switch backs that lead down to Finch Lake (5 miles in) before the last 2 mile gradual ascent to Pear Lake. The Pear Lake site is listed as not having a privy, but there is one located at the group site .2 miles from the lake but make sure you aren't shy because there are no walls to this pit toilet. It you are into fishing, Pear Lake is packed with fish. You can also hike on a very primitive trail to Hutcheson Lake and Cony Lake for great views and even better fishing.
The next day we hiked back out and headed to Estes Park. A very nice small town with a nice little downtown packed with shops and restaurants. Needless to say we had worked up an appetite and had a large lunch before driving on highway 34 from the east side of the park to the west side. Unfortunately for us it was very cloudy that day and the views weren't all that great, although we could tell if it were clear skies that the views would have been amazing.
Things Learned in RMNP:
1.) Everyday during the summer between 3pm-5pm it will rain for about 20-30 minutes in RMNP.
2.) Pear Lake is home to the greenback cutthroat trout, an endangered species of trout that was thought to be extinct.