Trail Name: Lake Estes Trail
Location: Estes Park, Colorado
Date: May 10, 2020
Time at the Trail Head: 6:00 am
Trail Length: 3.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 190 feet
Elev. at Trail Head: 7,531 feet
# of Hikers Passed: 22
# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 0
# of Horses Passed: 0
With all the Covid-19 restrictions and with Mother’s Day approaching, I thought it would be a great idea to take a trip to Estes Park to let my wife get out and check out some of here favorite stores in Estes Park, even if we can’t go set down and have lunch or dinner on Mother’s Day.
The trail research was easy as I knew I wanted to hike/walk around the lake.
The weather was a little more of a problem as it has been cloudy and rainy all week, pretty much all around the state, except for southwest Colorado, but I did find one morning where it was going to be clear from around 7 am to noon, so I made my plans and woke up early to be at Estes Lake at sunrise.
Drive to the Trail
The drive was not so spectacular this time because, not only was it dark out, but it was also foggy for most of the drive, which is nerve racking, due to all the Elk out along this drive from Boulder to Estes Park. I did get some nice pictures of the drive as I left Estes Park, but instead of driving to the East, the way I came in, I left to the south, towards Nederland.
Now, let’s get to the early part of the day when I started my hike/walk around Lake Estes.
My Day on the Trail
The clouds had started to clear on the pass coming into Estes Park from the town of Lyons, but as you can see, the clouds are still in the town of Estes Park below.
It was in fact cloudy and foggy when I reached the Estes Lake trailhead so I slept for 30 minutes, hoping the clouds would clear. It finally started to look lighter in the sky, through the clouds, so I took that as a sign that it was time to start my hike.
The fog was still sitting low near the ground but the wind was light and I could tell this was going to be a gorgeous morning in Estes Park.
I noticed that with the light wind, I was going to have some great reflections on the lake. I knew it was going to take another 30 minutes for the clouds to begin dissipating, so I slowed down and enjoyed watching Lake Estes wake up.
I finally saw the first glimpse of the sun over the eastern side of Lake Estes.
I kept turning around and looking for the first glimpse of some snow packed peaks and more of the sun rising, while taking more pictures of the reflections on the water.
There is a nice golf course on the north side of lake Estes, called Lake Estes 9-Hole Golf Course. It provided some beautiful photos in the morning light. You can also see Fall River flowing into Lake Estes.
There is a concrete trail all around Lake Estes and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the magnificent views.
There is a beautiful pedestrian bridge on the north side of the lake between Fall River and Lake Estes.
There’s also a peninsula off to the right of the bridge that will give you some great vantage points on the Lake.
I was also able to catch the rising sun’s reflection off the lake out on the peninsula.
The thing I loved most about this morning hike around Lake Estes was watching the sunrise and the valley come to life.
You can also get your first glimpse of some snow packed peaks in the photo above.
I was finally back on the path, heading east, but not before capturing a few more beautiful photos.
The fog was really starting to lift now and you could catch more glimpses of the blue morning sky.
This morning kept getting better and better.
I finally saw the mountains on the southeast side of Lake Estes through what looked to be a hole in the cloud.
It was at this point that the skies really began to clear and reveal some majestic views in the valley.
I knew there were a lot of elk in the area around Estes Park, and I was pleasantly surprised when I ran into a small herd of elk at the Lake Estes Marina.
The clouds were nearly gone as I reached the east side of Lake Estes. You have to walk down below the dam on the east side before walking back up to the road on the south side of the Lake.
This is where I started getting some grand views of the mountains on the north side of Lake Estes as the clouds had completely lifted off the lake. This first photo is of the mountains south of Estes Park.
You can see the Lake is still very calm with some great reflections.
My kids have told me that you can see an Indian laying down across the lake in the next photo. The Indian’s head is to the right and the feet are to the left.
The have been to summer camp many times in the summers over the last 6 years here, so I’m sure they heard that from one of the camp counselors.
I want to show you the next photo of nearly the same shot but within 10 minutes, the wind had picked up and the mirrored reflections on the lake were mostly gone. This is another reason I love starting my hikes early in the day.
I’m not sure if you know this but much of the movie, “The Shining” was filmed at the white hotel here in Estes Park.
You can see the Stanley Hotel on the left side of the above photo and better in the photo below.
I was getting closer to my truck and the trailhead but there were still a few great photo ops remaining.
I was about to put my camera up when I noticed a bird perch high up in the sky and what I believe to be an American Eagle.
I tried to get a closer look and I’m pretty confident this is an American Bald Eagle sitting on top.
This is not really a hike but I still strongly recommend taking this 3.4 mile walk around Lake Estes, early in the morning, followed by some shopping and dinning in Estes Park.
This is truly an amazing place to visit.
Early morning hikes are the best times to get out in Colorado.
Bring some binoculars in case you see some elk or possibly an American Bald Eagle.
- 【Powerful 12x42 Binoculars, but Lightweight Enough, only 1.1 pounds】 Adorrgon 12x42mm binoculars deliver 367ft/1000yds large field of view. Capable of delivering a clear face from more than 650 feet away. Perfect for bird watching, hunting, sports events.
- 【Clear Low Light Vision】Advanced Fully Multi-coated Binoculars with large 16.5mm BAK4 prism lens binoculars deliver brighter vision in weak light condition (e.g. Twilight). Perfect for Hunting or Concerts at night.
- 【18.5mm Large Eyepiece & HD Vision , Larger Image, Brighter View】 2.25 times the image size of 14mm eyepiece (e.g. 10x25/10x21 binoculars), 1.28 times of 16mm eyepiece (e.g. 12x25 binoculars). Large eyepiece binoculars make full use of 12x magnification, deliver larger and brighter image, ensure clearer details.
- 【2021 Upgraded Universal Phone Adapter, Sturdy and Easy to set up】 Soft anti-slip rubber and sturdy structure design ensure stable camera image when photographing. Suitable for all kinds of smartphone with or without phone case, including but not limited to iPhone, Samsung, Sony, Google, LG, Motorola, HTC, etc.
- 【360° Rotatable and Sturdy Tabletop Tripod, Photographing without Shaking】 Rotatable designed tripod ensures 360° photographing. Thicker and sturdy tripod leg, Non-slip rubber feet, enable you to shoot clearer and brighter pictures without shaking. Capture the wonderful moments and share with your friends.
Check out this short video of the Lake Estes Trail on YouTube.
I would love to know if you have had any experience on this trail or have other trails you love to hike. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.
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