This hike is ‘in the middle of nowhere’ according to my 5-year-old. In reality, Black Canyon trailhead is in the Lumpy Ridge area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The drive is less than 10 minutes from downtown Estes Park, Colorado.
Here is a map of the Lumpy Ridge trails. Lumpy Ridge trailhead begins at 7,840 ft of elevation, I believe that’s the lowest trailhead elevation in Rocky Mountain National Park.
I agree with my daughter that it feels remote here. That is probably because we didn’t see many other hikers on the trail.
If I were going to buy land someday, my dream would be for it to have a similar landscape. I find the wide-open views and rugged rock formations uniquely inspiring. Drinking coffee and looking out at this view every morning… that’s worth dreaming about. Right!?
According to AllTrails.com, this hike is 15.5 miles out and back. The trail will take you all the way to Lawn Lake.
Fifteen miles is obviously longer than we would expect to hike with young kids, so we set out with the expectation to turn around when everyone was feeling tired. The girls both did great. At 3.7 miles roundtrip, we hiked substantially farther than our first hike here. We are making progress!
We spotted wild turkeys in the grass. Farther down the trail we saw a coyote or fox (we should have brought binoculars). Lucky for the turkeys, I don’t think their paths crossed.
Between spotting animals, climbing on rocks and trees, and taking in the mountain scenery, I could not have asked for a better morning in Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m thankful for time spent ‘in the middle of nowhere’ with my favorite people.
Today I want to share a scouting report for a new (to us) trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. East Shore is located on the west side of the national park near the town of Grand Lake and Granby Colorado. The trail borders Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby as well as the Colorado River. We parked near Shadow Mountain Dam. Our girls found the dam fascinating. (Their excitement could be attributed to the movie Frozen 2 which features a dam breaking as a major plot point.)
The East Shore trailhead gives hikers access to RMNP as well as the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. From Shadow Mountain Dam, we headed north for a half mile. The total distance of the East Shore trail is over 20 miles.
By the time we made it to East Shore, we had already hiked up on the alpine tundra and gone kayaking on Grand Lake. Given all the activities of the day, it’s not surprising that we only made it through a very small portion of the trail. We are excited to return when we have more energy and time to explore.
Trail Positives: Lake views, mountain views, wildflowers, dam.
Trail Negatives: Distance from our cabin in Estes Park.
Final Thoughts: This trail would be a good option for people visiting Grand Lake or Granby, Colorado. Remember that hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park requires a park pass and a timed-entry permit.
In 2019, we were lucky to enjoy the outdoors as a family both in our new home town of Fayetteville, Arkansas as well as our favorite mountain getaway in Estes Park, Colorado. Writing about these adventures on rockymountaintot brings me a lot of joy. My goal is to provide as much helpful information as I can in each post and hopefully inspire people to check out some of the places I love.
The number of views on rockymountaintot this year quadrupled! Thank you to everyone who took the time to check us out. I’ve compiled the list of our Top 10 Posts of 2019:
On a recent road trip through Colorado, we decided to make a stop in Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods which is a National Natural Landmark. I was excited to learn that this park is free.
interactive, educational visitors center
Our family enjoyed walking through the educational exhibits at the Visitor Center, which is also free. We learned that a new species of dinosaur was discovered here. Inside the Visitors Center you can also shop for souvenirs or grab a bite to eat.
outstanding views of pikes peak
From the Visitor Center viewing deck you can see Pikes Peak which reaches over 14,000 ft. in elevation. You can also see prominent rocks inside Garden of the Gods including (left to right) Gray Rock, South Gateway Rock, and North Gateway Rock.
unique Red rock formations
We took a drive around Garden of the Gods to spot some of the most well known rock formations including Balanced Rock, Twin Spires, and Siamese Twins.
kid-friendly hiking trails
We chose to hike on the Ridge Trail which is only a half mile round trip. We parked in the South Parking lot and climbed up through the red rocks. We enjoyed the unique landscape and surrounding views. Here is a map with additional hiking trails to explore.
Our visit was fast, fun, and free! Garden of the Gods and the surrounding area has much more to see. We look forward to returning to Colorado Springs in the future. You can learn more about planning a trip to Garden of the Gods at gardenofthegods.com.