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stillhouse Mar 12th, 2009 05:06 PM

Few days near Denver in mid-May
I was offered the opportunity to attend a training 10 miles north of Denver in mid-May. I was trying to decide what I could do by myself for 3 days beforehand. Ironically, I spent two weeks in Colorado last summer visiting the Vail/Rocky Mt National Park/Pike's Peak area. my last visit having been about 15 years earlier. Many years ago I enjoyed Mesa Verde and the Ouray-Durango area, but it appears that the drive is 7+ hours from Denver. Never been to Boulder. Wasn't sure if there would be many ranger-led activities in RMNP in May. I don't feel comfortable hiking by myself. I'd appreciate suggestions to help me decide.

WhereAreWe Mar 12th, 2009 06:06 PM

I'm never sure what people mean when they say they're not comfortable hiking alone. Do you mean you need someone you know with you, or do you mean you need someone (anyone) around in the general vicinity so you're not alone on the trail?

If it's the latter, you will have the company of strangers on pretty much all of the easy hikes in RMNP, even in mid-May. There aren't a lot of ranger-led activities that time of year, but there are some. Go to and look at last spring's park newspaper to get an idea of the possibilities for ranger programs.

It's pretty easy to fill 3 days between Boulder and Estes Park. The question is do you want to go back to RMNP by yourself when you've just been there recently, or would you rather try something new? There's plenty in Denver alone for 3 days.

fmpden Mar 12th, 2009 06:20 PM

However, you need to keep in mind that May is still spring time in the Rockies and you can encounter snow but mostly likely a lot of run off which means mud. Hiking at lower levels should be OK. Are you a bike rider? April/May is the change over time in the mountains.

GypsyMaiden Mar 12th, 2009 06:43 PM

Definitely don't hike alone. I understood what you meant, because I say it all the time. 10 miles north of Denver would take you to the prime area of either heading west to Boulder or heading northwest to RMNP. Check out the website, as I am sure you can find a class or a hiking group.

The drive to Mesa Verde is great, but would eat up your time. Stay focused on the north/northwest of Denver, and you'll be happy. You could even check out Winter Park, which is on the west side of RMNP via the road through RMNP or 2.5 hrs west of Denver on I-70. You could rent a bike and dink around there. Paint some pottery. Relax....have a beer.

After all of this, my vote is Winter Park!

WhereAreWe Mar 12th, 2009 08:04 PM

"Definitely don't hike alone. I understood what you meant, because I say it all the time."

Enlighten me then. You must have someone you know with you, or there must be other people around while hiking?

"You could even check out Winter Park, which is on the west side of RMNP via the road through RMNP or 2.5 hrs west of Denver on I-70."

The road through RMNP will be closed mid-May unless they have an extremely warm spring with little snow between now and then.

Lexma90 Mar 12th, 2009 09:48 PM

Here's another idea. Boulder is a great little city, and there are plenty of outdoor activities right outside Boulder. Not the grandeur of RMNP, but also there will be less or no snow. There are a ton of local hiking trails and are well-frequented by the locals, so you won't feel alone, but that are still gorgeous. I don't have a good website to direct you to, but try googling for trails from Chatauqua Park (very popular), and to Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Mount Sanitas (kind of short), Royal Arch (this one you get to from Chatauqua).

historytraveler Mar 13th, 2009 03:26 PM

Or try the Boulder Bike Path which has several names depending on which stretch you're on. The path essentially runs from east Boulder through downtown Boulder and on to Boulder Canyon. It's flat, easy and you can certainly walk it alone.

luv2cthings Mar 17th, 2009 05:10 AM

For mid-May, I would agree that Boulder is your best bet.

pisceantraveler Mar 18th, 2009 06:39 PM

Boulder and the parks along 93 (Eldorado Canyon, Golden Gate, Flatirons) offer good lower-elevation hiking. For something closer to Denver, perhaps consider a hike around Red Rocks. Mid-May is a transition period still and can conjure up 70+ degree shorts weather or a good snowfall. And watch for the generally predictable thunderstorms in the afternoon. Plan your hikes for early in the day when you can.

PeaceOut Mar 28th, 2009 09:03 AM

Boulder is a good suggestion. I wouldn't drive all the way to RMNP. Chautauqua Park is beautiful, and the dining hall restaurant there is very good.

You could also drive just a bit south of Boulder to Eldorado Canyon, which is a nice place to walk, and maybe see some rock climbers. While in Boulder, eat at the Tea House for a very "Boulder" experience. In good weather you can sit outside by the creek. The menu is interesting and the food and service are very good.

If you like college campuses, CU is beautiful.

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