I left you in the last article at Shrine Pass, west of Frisco and just 2 miles from Vail Pass. So that’s where we will be starting today.
We visited Vail and Frisco in one morning. Vail is definitely not as interesting in the summer as it might be in the winter. In the midst of COVID everything was closed and the small village was lifeless. But we could definitely notice it’s a great spot during the ski season. It almost looked like France’s or Switzerland’s ski stations. We thought about getting breakfast there but another restaurant in Frisco was calling our name. So off we went to the quaint and lovely town of Frisco! It is located in the middle of 4 renowned ski resorts : Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. There is something really special about visiting ski resorts in the summer for me. I love the weather and the vibe of mountain towns off-season. After breakfast, we headed towards Grand Lake, right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, where we would spend our morning the following day.
We spent the 2 following days in Rocky Mountains National Park. Due to the current sanitary situation, you have to book a timed entry for the national park. Since we have our annual pass, we only had to pay $2 per reservation and decided to take 1 for the Saturday afternoon and 1 for the early Sunday morning. The park wasn’t too crowded when we went, which was very agreeable.
The morning before we saw the park for the first time, we spent a lovely time at Grand Lake itself. I loved the colourful houses on the banks of the lake and the lupine flowers there.
On our first day in RMNP, we took the entrance at Grand Lake and scoured the very famous Trail Ridge Road. The road is the highest paved-through road in Colorado and crosses the park from Grand Lake to Estes Park. It is 48-mile long and passes through the Continental divide at Milner Pass (11,000 feet/3000m) where we saw marmots and bighorn sheeps. The beginning of the road offered great wildlife and the end of the road offered more views on the mountains. It’s a ravishing drive for outdoor lovers! The first 5 minutes in the park, we saw a few moose and after a while, we also witnessed a beautiful white fox.
The second day, we took another road through the park that led us to Bear Lake and our morning hike : Emerald Lake Hike. Nola was not allowed on any of the trails in the National Park so we decided to get there for 6am and pick a short hike (5kms/3mi total). By 8:30am we were done and Nola had finished her night in the van while it was still cool and breathy. Emerald lake was not too challenging or long for an early morning, even with a few steep inclines. We passed 3 lakes in total : Nymph, Dream and Emerald lake. They are all unique and pretty. We only spotted deer, a red fox + a mini chipmunk but we loved that hike.
Well, this is where I conclude our time in Colorado as we left for Nebraska that day, the 28th of June. Overall, Colorado remains one of my favorite states. I love being outside and CO is definitely a Mecka for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors. The landscapes were changing, colourful, vibrant, wild and powerful. We saw a lot of wildlife, which is always a wonderful surprise to us. I was really looking forward to see moose for example et wasn’t disappointed. Each area of the State really brought something to us and I hope we can be back in Colorado in the winter one day. I didn’t particularly find people nice except in Denver but I won’t judge. I know things are weird for everybody right now and people are not necessarily very happy to see tourists in the middle of a pandemic, I respect that.
I am putting the map of our itinerary in Colorado here (that’s for 18 days). And if you have any questions or think we missed something, please DO let us know! We might be back in the near future. We never know.
Talk to you soon,
Coco, Bobby, Nola and Vanito!