A couple of years ago, I wrote about our hike on the Homer Rouse Trail in Estes Park, Colorado. We’ve noticed some pretty major changes to the area, so we decided to revisit the hike on our most recent trip.
We were lucky to have two cars with us, so we decided to leave one parked off of Fish Creek Road near the turnoff to Cheley Colorado Camp. We shuttled our family so that we could walk downhill one-way from the Lily Lake/Twin Sisters parking area back to our parked car. (Last time we walked both ways)
Going one-way made the hike approximately 2 miles, which was attainable for our 4-year-old to walk on her own while my husband carried our 2-year-old on his shoulders.
The Homer Rouse Trail is a public trail that is on private property. It is not in Rocky Mountain National Park.
We walked past the historic Baldpate Inn before entering the gravel road where motorized vehicles are restricted. Horses, bikes, and dogs are welcome on the trail. We passed by groups on horseback and on a bike riding tour that looked challenging and fun. Friendly dog owners allowed our girls to pet their playful pets, which was the highlight of their walk.
We didn’t walk far before we came to areas along the trail that were cleared of trees. I’ve heard two theories about the clearing. The first is that the trees were cut down to help prevent potential forest fires.
The second theory is that the trees were not native to the area, so eventually the forest will grow back with new trees that will thrive. (I’m guessing aspens)
I thought seeing so many trees down would ruin this hike for me, but if I trust that the goal is long-term forest conservation and restoration, I can see the positive. The views of the surrounding mountains and valley below are much more open.
And wildflowers were popping up where once they would have more competition for sunlight. Here is an article from Estes Park News with more details.
Besides the vast views, my favorite part of the trail is when the dirt road turns into a narrower wooded section of the hike.
We continued downhill through the pines until we reached a small bridge over the creek. We turned right on the dirt road for the final stretch.
I took one last look back at Twin Sisters before we arrived where we parked our car. It’s amazing how much the Homer Rouse trail has changed in the last couple of years, but I think it’s still a hidden gem.
If you are looking for more hikes that you can take your dog on, check out our new page – Dog Friendly Hikes Near Estes Park, Colorado.