Scenes from our Journey!
view our photo album!
Teachers - Connect your classroom today and get involved in our journey!
Contact us!
  • Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • View our photos on Flickr
  • Subscribe via RSS
Journeys Through America is a nonprofit organization providing educational material for all school-aged children across the country. The program will form partnerships with local school districts to provide children with a new, interactive, educational experience integrating the history of America and its National Parks. Journeys Through America's goal is to foster a fun and adventurous learning environment that will promote altruistic growth within our children and our greater community.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Pt. I

By Jul 30th 2010 No Comments »

On Sunday we decided to do a scenic hike of Crosier Mountain. Crosier is not part of Rocky Mountain National Park but does provide great panoramic views of the park.  The trailhead is located just up the hill of the Ranch and is about a 9-mile round trip hike.  I would rate the park as moderate except for the last .5 mile, which includes steep switchbacks and would prove to be strenuous for even the most altitude-adjusted hiker.  For us flatlanders, it was a great way to get attuned to the elevation increase and to help stretch our lungs for future hikes in the park.

On Monday we chose a shorter hike to Gem Lake, part of RMNP and nestled amongst the backdrop of Lumpy Ridge.  Gem Lake is a great place to take your family, however be prepared for a lot of people, so either go early, go late, or just deal with the congestion.  A large portion of Rocky Mountain National Park is comprised of very populated hikes – so getting away from the crowds is actually a somewhat difficult task…I believe we will find this a lot, from here on West.

On Tuesday we tackled another long hike, about a 10 mile roundtrip trek to Sky Pond. Depart from Glacier Gorge junction early to avoid larger crowds and plan on not being the only one on the trail.  We arrived at the Glacier Gorge junction around 8:00AM to a full parking lot – so we had to park in overflow parking, about 5 miles south of the trailhead, and head back up the hill via shuttle bus.  Buses do run often which makes the park more accessible and convenient for hikers.

From the trailhead we headed towards Loch Lake which was in the opposite direction of Bear Lake, one of the most popular attractions in the park, and therefore we were able to lose about ¾ of the crowds. From Loch Lake we continued our ascent to Timberline Falls, Lake of Glass and eventually Sky Pond.  I was particularly excited to see Lake of Glass and Sky Pond – as a photographer I was looking forward to capturing those turquoise blue hues in the water created by the Glaciers.

Some bottleneck congestion slowed down our hike just below Timberline Falls while some chilling wind whipped through the air as soon as you scrambled to the top of the falls.  Grazing Elk made for some picturesque moments while some audacious rock climbers negotiated the towering cliffs surrounding Sky Pond, making us grateful for solid ground below our feet.

Our descent from Loch Lake to the trailhead was where we had the most difficulty steering the trail. Crowds of people (some experienced hikers, most not), congested the trails making navigation a tricky task. By the final quarter mile of the trail, a line of around 20 people had formed on the trail, forcing you to go the pace of the leader with unfortunately no way around it.

However, despite the crowds, this hike was by far the most rewarding and my favorite thus far. You had magnificent views of the park the entire trail length, with the final scenic gem resting thousands of feet up the mountainside, snuggled amongst the towering peaks.  Roaring waterfalls, turquoise blue lakes and abundant wildflowers all added to the picturesque beauty of it.

Contribue to the Conversation!