PHOTO TOURS / SIGHTSEEING TOURS
If you have limited time to visit our beautiful Rocky Mountains, this tour is going to pack more into two days than you ever thought possible. Rocky Mountain National Park and Mount Evans are both jewels of Colorado, filled with stunning views, plentiful wildlife and photographic opportunities galore.
Let’s take a look at what this photo safari has to offer.
Rocky Mountain National Park (Day 1):
We will travel from Golden (or Denver) along the beautiful “Peak to Peak Hwy”. This is a about a 2.5 hour drive, but you won’t mind a bit as the stunning beauty of the landscape will keep you mesmerized. Once we reach the park we have two options depending on your interests and physical abilities.
Let’s Hike – If you wish to get out and hike, we will take trails to four beautiful lakes snuggled into the mountain valley. Each lake has a very unique look to it with different opportunities for you camera. Total hiking distance about 7 miles with moderate climbing. Of course we can do some of these and not others if you wish to hike less.
- Bear Lake: is located right beside a parking area and can be reached by anybody. This is one of the easiest attractions to reach in the park and thus one of the most popular. In the winter this is one of the few locations we can easily visit during the winter months without snowshoes and some serious snow hiking.
- Nymph Lake: A beautiful yellow lily named Nymphaea polysepala makes its home on the deep blue waters of Nymph Lake. Breathtaking views of Longs Peak and Hallett Peak can be found whether you are looking up or down (this lake reflects like a mirror when the wind is low).
- Dream Lake: In summer this is a great easy family hike. Just like Nymph Lake before it, Dream Lake can perfectly mirror the large peaks surrounding it. Within 2 hrs of sunrise will give you the best shots.
- Emerald Lake: The trail to Emerald Lake passes Nymph Lake and the north shore of Dream Lake. Below the saddle between Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain at 10,080 ft, the mountains rise steeply from the shore.
- Alberta Falls: After the lakes we move on to visit Alberta Falls. These magestic falls are very impressive when the snow melt is still ongoing. However, even when the flow is light it’s a lovely place to capture water in motion, especially toward Autumn as the colors change.
Let’s Just Look – If you are not up for a great deal of hiking, we can par down some of the further locations and spend that time driving to additional areas of the park. Don’t worry, there is still much to see without having to break a sweat. We can still visit a couple of easy access lakes including Bear Lake mentioned above and Sprague Lake. If Alberta Falls is still too much hiking (about 3 mile round trip), never fear as we can head on over to Horseshoe Falls where you can view from the bottom in only a few minutes’ walk. If you’re inspired, it’s fun to climb up the falls along the sides.
We will visit Moraine Park with it’s lush green valley and perfect mountains streams. Here we can often see large herds of Elk and during rutting season it’s a great place to watch the bulls fight for mates.
Time for Sunset: Regardless if we hike or not, the latter half of the tour remains the same.
We will make our way up Old Fall River Road (my favorite part of the tour). This skinny, gravel one way road winds up the side of the mountains until we finally reach the top of the Continental Divide and meet with the famous Trail Ridge Road. From here at 12,000 feet you see views that span for 80 miles. We will stay up here until the sunset has dimmed and the sky turns rich black/blue over the surrounding mountain peaks… just spectacular.
Finally we head to Grand Lake where we will be staying the night in a quaint little town (walk end to end in ten minutes).
Mount Evans (Day 2):
After a full nights rest we will make our way to the Mt. Evans Park area, but before we do we will want to visit some local watering holes near Grand Lake. Why? To see Moose! While there are never any guarantees, this area is great for finding moose and will be the best chance you get in Colorado.
After noon we head South through the high plains of Colorado. This area may surprise you as it does not look how you might expect. It’s sort of like grasslands high in the mountains.
After lunch in Idaho Springs (a lovely community from the Goldmine days) we make our way into the Mount Evans Park. Get your camera ready as it’s hard to keep up with all the great photography opportunities you’ll see. Mountain lakes (Echo Lake and Summit Lake), wildflowers (if you love macro this place is great) and even BIGGER views than we saw in Rocky Mountain National Park.
What about wildlife? Oh yes, we have that too in the form of eagles, foxes, marmots, big horn sheep and mountain goats! This is the place to find them. I run about a 75% success rate finding great mountain goat photos here… you can’t beat that anywhere.
Eventually we will reach the top of Mount Evans (13,000 feet!) via the highest paved road in North America. From here we can watch the sunset. With 100 miles of distance and 360 degrees of view, your mind is going to be blown.
That’s the tour… sounds good yes?
- Time of Year: Memorial Day – Mid Sept.
- Tour Length: 2 days (8-9 hrs / day)
- Difficulty: Easy to Difficult (depends on itinerary)
- Landscapes: Rocky Mountains, waterfalls, mountain streams & lakes.
- Wildlife: Elk, big horn sheep, mt. goats, pika, ermine, marmots, eagles,