Deer Mountain – a Family Friendly Summit Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Looking for a family friendly summit hike in Rocky Mountain National Park? There is something very rewarding about reaching the summit of a mountain, but with young kids it’s hard to spend the time, energy and face the technical challenges of hiking up many of the prominent peaks.

Good news! You don’t have to hike all day to experience wonderful panoramic views and gain that awesome feeling of accomplishment. A three-mile hike up Deer Mountain offers both. The hike is located at Deer Ridge Junction, a few miles west of the Beaver Meadows entrance.

Hiking with a baby in the mountains

There isn’t a parking lot near Deer Mountain. Cars park right off the street making parking limited.

Parking near Deer Mountain is limited

Gear for hiking with young children and babies
I carried our 4 month old in an Ergobaby carrier and my husband carried our 2 1/2-year-old in a Deuter kid comfort carrier. With the added weight, we were happy to take extra breaks to enjoy the inspiring mountain vistas.

Great views on the way up Deer Mountain in RMNP

As we approached the summit, we hiked through melting snow which is pretty common in May –  especially this year.  I was thankful for my waterproof hiking boots, but we still got wet and muddy. Keeping a pair of flip-flops in the car to change into post hike would be helpful.

Deer Mountain Summit near Estes Park Colorado

Trekking poles were also helpful. You gain 1,093 ft of elevation.

Hiking Deer Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park in May

Standing at 10,013′ we made it to the summit. This was our youngest daughter’s first summit hike. Both girls were ready for a snack at this point, but we were worried about dark clouds looming in the distance and decided to start our descent. We probably should have started this hike earlier in the day because storms are more common in the afternoon. Deer Mountain, good spring summit hike for families in Rocky Mountains

On the way down, we had to be cautious in a few areas where slippery rocks were covered in slushy snow (especially with our precious cargo).

Hiking in snow

Luck was on our side, the weather cleared and we enjoyed the 3 mile return trip under blue skies.

Hiking Deer Mountain


Good, Better, Best… at the Grocery Store

My Grandpa taught me the sang, “Good, better, best – never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best!”

This popped in my head when I was grocery shopping today and I thought I’d share it because I don’t think I’m the only one overwhelmed with all the good aspirations to go green, shop local, eat healthy and save money.  I do not have time to research every product and go to multiple stores – I’m literally bribing my one year old with graham cracker cookies I pull off the shelf so she stops trying to jump out of the cart!

‘Ok, just breathe’ I told myself. I may never cook all organic, plan gourmet meals under $5 or find a way to leave a zero carbon footprint on our beautiful planet. I can be mindful, make a few slightly better choices and build from there. So, here is what I found:

Shatto Milk – My husband is not a picky person, but he is very picky when it comes to milk and this tastes great! It’s from a local Kansas City dairy, so it’s very fresh. They use glass bottles to keep it cold and to help the environment. I even got a $2 rebate when I brought my clean container back to the store so they can reuse the glass.

San Francisco Bay Single Serve Coffee – I love coffee and I love how convenient and easy my Keurig makes brewing a cup. I don’t love the plastic containers that accumulate in my trash, so I’m really excited about this brand that uses a mesh coffee filter instead of plastic.

Oscar Meyer Natural lunch meat and Coffee mate natural bliss –    I’m trying to buy meat that is nitrate/nitrite free and coffee creamer that doesn’t have carrageenan listed in the ingredients.

Finally, I remembered to bring my own reusable bags today – woohoo!  Let me know if you have any great products or practices that you and your family enjoy!