Best Hikes of Colorado latest issue of AWAYN magazine


James C. Beckham Hike to Maroon Bells

A reflective lake and two big snow-striped mountaintops, named Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, anchor a happy panorama exemplified by a symphony of color that changes with the seasons.Located simply ten miles west of poplar or sixteen from Snowmass up Maroon Creek Road off Hwy. eighty two in a very glacial valley, the 14,000-foot peaks (fourteeners) really epitomize the wonder of the Rockies. Hiking trails offer access to many photo-worthy scenes within the river National Forest, as well as hypnotizing wildflower fields, fly-fishermen seeking catches in tranquil Maroon Lake and good fall colors on poplar trees.

More than three hundred million years of earth science activity, as well as sedimentation, uplift and erosion by wind, water and ice, are attributable to the creation of Maroon valley. Per the Forest Service, the mountains received their distinctive maroon coloring from the weathering of hematite, an iron-bearing mineral, whereas Maroon Lake occupies a basin that was graven by Ice-Age glaciers.


Because the natural landmark is thus widespread, there's restricted access to the realm throughout the summer and fall. Fall is a particularly dreamy time to go to, once the Maroon Bells are cradled by cloud-speckled blue skies and golden-hued poplar groves. the most effective thanks to see the Maroon Bells is to require the general public bus operated by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) and visit mid-week once there ar fewer crowds. The bus operates between 8am to 5pm from period through early October. Bus tickets are on the market for purchase at the bottom space of poplar Highlands Ski space (1.5 miles up Maroon Creek Road) at Four Mountain Sports and also the box office. Tickets are on the market for purchase at the Ruby Park Transit Center in downtown poplar.

Park your automotive for $5 (weekdays) and $10 (weekends) at the poplar Highlands parking structure. You’ll conjointly take RFTA’s FREE Castle/Maroon bus to poplar Highlands from Ruby Park Transit Center in downtown poplar. Overflow parking is offered at the comb Creek Intercept heap outside of poplar on the RFTA itinerary.

Before 8am and once 5pm, you'll drive all the thanks to Maroon Lake for a $10 vehicle free.

New in 2018: The last 3 weekends in Gregorian calendar month, once parking is predicted to be full at the scenic space and at the Highlands car parking zone thanks to peak fall-foliage viewing, the milk heap can offer free overflow parking. RFTA buses can shuttle passengers for free of charge from the milk Ski space to poplar Highlands to catch the Maroon Bells buses. 



From Aspen, take Hwy. eighty two to the roundabout on the west fringe of city, opt for the exit for Maroon Creek Road and keep going regarding four.7 miles till you reach a welcome station. If you’re coming back from Glenwood Springs, take Hwy. 82 south toward aspen until you reach the roundabout (about forty miles). 



If you're going to hike within the space, make sure to bring correct shoes, sunblock and potable. Dogs are welcome on the paths (and are allowed on the RFTA bus from the poplar Highlands to the to the Marroon Bells), however they need to be unbroken on a leash.

This simple 1-mile round-trip trek starts at the car park and follows the circumference of the lake; keep an eye out for the active beaver pond.

Maroon Creek path

Start at the outlet of Maroon Lake and move Maroon Creek to encounter alpine meadows, poplar forests and rocky slopes. This 3.2-mile unidirectional path is a superb place to identify life like deer, red fox, Ovis Canadensis, porcupines and a spread of birds.


Crater Lake path

This 3.6-mile round-trip path rewards hikers with breathless vistas of bushy poplar woodlands and Crater Lake. Begin at the Deadly Bells kiosk from Maroon Lake path and be ready for a steep and rocky ascent, cooler temperatures and spontaneous thunderstorms.


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Activities: BackpackBackpack HikeHike
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Dog friendly Dog friendly Picnic Area Picnic Area Parking Parking


Robin Hurrican Loveland Pass

The Loveland Pass earlier than Eisenhower Tunnel was once a traffic-chocked chore, however now the pass by gives get right of entry to some of Colorado’s high quality backcountry desolate tract presenting mountain vistas for the hikers and skiers who find them.


All 11,990 ft above sea level, the Loveland Pass is the alternative route to I-70 and the Eisenhower Tunnel. Rising 800 toes above the tunnel via a collection of hairpin switchbacks, you may locate youself with a healthy grip on the handlebar.

Its tough to preserve your eyes on the road with the surrounding mountain views, so make sure to take a ruin for images at the top of the pass. There is assign and some walking trails to admire the remarkable views.


Loveland Pass is on CO-6, located between exit 216 of I-70 and keystone.


The Loveland Pass is the best possible avenue in the United States that is kept open year-round, weather permitting.


The top of Loveland Pass is a trailhead for many different routes. Those looking for a little exertion ought to try out Grizzly Peak, a 7 mile hike to 13,427 ft. Those searching for something a little much less strenuous can take a walk on the loop trail, which follows a ridge on the Continental Divide for an effortless 3 mile loop.

All hikes round the region will provide some awesome views.


Going up the omit in winter, particularly on  days after a massive snowfall, skiers can be viewed hitch- hiking lower back up the bypass to squeeze in any other run. The pass is a terrific chance to get out into the backcountry of Colorado to ski some open bowls, glades or the steeps. Proper use and understanding of a transceiver, snow shovel and probe, and the capability to analyze safe skiing terrain are critical to ensure a safe outing.


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Activities: BackpackBackpack HikeHike SkiingSkiing
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Parking Parking Restrooms Restrooms

AWAYN Editorial

Interview with Luke Pearsall

Luke Pearsall is professional photographer with many years of experience in film industry. When leading tours across South America he caught a travel bug and since then he always feels the urge to travel. His travel work and travel writing is driven by a desire to share the world through travel, photography, video and authentic experiences in hopes to inspire others to see new things, explore more and live a life less ordinary.


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How did you get to where you are today?

I got my start in photography during the summer of my Junior year in high school. I grew up in a beautiful beach town on the Jersey Shore and had the opportunity to start taking college courses at the local community college the summer before my Senior year. Like most high school kids burned out from a long year in the classroom I just wanted to make something fun that I might be interested in. This was 1999, and digital photography was still in its infancy, and the course was a 35mm film course, so I borrowed an old SLR camera from a neighbor and signed up for the course.

The rest of that summer was the summer I fell in love with making images. I learned how to develop my own film, how to print my own prints and became enamored with the idea of learning more. I was the president of my class, an honors student and athlete. My whole life all I wanted to do was compete to be the best student so one day I could get into a prestigious school and get a good job. I was one of those kids. The sort that you kinda hate to a certain degree when they raddle off their college resume of clubs and activities they were part of. That summer course changed it all for me.


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All your photographs are amazing. As a professional photographer how do you find your subjects?

When I first started making photographs and working with models many years ago it was much harder.  Believe it or not social media wasn’t really a thing so connecting with people to collaborate with was much more difficult.  If you wanted to work with real talent you had to get into the good graces of modeling agencies and hope that they had some new talent that needed pictures.  When a model, photographer, makeup artist or stylist work together collaborating through and agency its called a Test Shoot.  I did test shoots until I was blue working for free and building my book.  Every shoot you do you get better, learn something new and take away something from.  I get asked often how you get better at making portraits or shooting landscapes.  The best advice I can give anyone is to just keep shooting.  The more you do it the better you get at it. You will find a better command of the tools and understanding of what you like and what resonates with you as an artist creating your own unique style.  Doing something over and over again is the only way to discover and master those things. 


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What makes the good picture stand out from the average?

In the social media driven landscape of imagery these days its really hard to not look at what is popular or the accounts of creators and not see the same exactly looking images, in the same exact places, with the same exact presets applied to the images. It’s become so formulaic that it drives me crazy.  Even though many of these photos are beautiful they all just sort of seem basic to me.  What I am really drawn to are people who are telling that same story but in a different way.  Someone that puts thoughtful time and effort in to actually making a photograph.  You can always tell when someone woke up early to get the best light or went the extra mile to climb higher than everyone else to get a different perspective.  A good picture makes you stop. An average picture makes you scroll or stroll right on by. For me the pictures I find the most interesting are the ones which use foreground as a layer to draw the eye to the subject.  Foreground, subject and background are so important, they are the layers that you have to work with so finding creative ways to manipulate them is what makes an average photo good and a good photo great to me. 

Where was your most memorable travel adevnture? 

Three years ago I did a photo project while hiking 550 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. I’ve been working on a book project for the trip recently and am very excited to share it one day in the future.  The hike took me 29 days and an additional three days to reach the coast. The landscape of Northern Spain is beautiful, the food was incredible but the people I met along the way were by far the most special part of the journey.  When you hike a route that has been around since Roman times you run into little treasures of history all along the way.  I would recommend this hike to anyone of any age.  It will change you life, as it did mine. 


What equipments do you use to captures your footage? What are some of the challenges of using them?

I think that many photographers would answer this question the same way that I am going to.  It really doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you use.  An iPhone can make an image that is just as beautiful as a three thousand dollar camera.  

I personally just switched from Canon cameras to Sony.  For travel and adventure work you really can’t beat the size, weight, and power of a Sony Camera. They are doing amazing things with their technology that allows photographers to work more efficiently and at a higher rate of speed. Sony is also creating a wonderful community of creators through the Sony Alpha Collective which has been so wonderful to experience. 

If I was talking to a beginning who wanted to get a camera to start with I would personally would say look for a camera that shoots videos and stills and has interchangeable lenses.  If you could have one lens only to start I would choose a 24-70mm f2.8 lens on a full frame camera.  It gives you the most focal range from a wide to a medium portrait lens.  I think a great middle of the road camera for beginners is the Sony Alpha A6000 series cameras.  They are the perfect combination for a video and photo and produce excellent quality images and video.  

A large majority of the gear I use can be found on this link.  It is my adventure gear, outdoor gear and photography and video gear lists.  Feel free to check it out.

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More ADVENTURES highlights


Bo Al Mount Sneffels

To get to Sneffels you want to drive to Ouray that is forty seven miles south of Montrose on highway 550 Continuing south from Ouray on the highway, continue up and round the initial major switchback and switch right into County Road 361 with signs for American Boy Basin. Head this steep however well graded road for 6.5 miles and keep right at the Camp Bird road junction. Winter maintence sometimes ends here. The steep cliffs and shelf section are spectacular nonetheless alarming for a few people. There’s a brief stretch of shelf road simply past the Camp Bird junction that was sculptured into the geological formation facet throughout the mining days. Within the spring a body of water usually cascades over the road here creating for a true sight to envision and one strange drive! This dramatic stretch is simply wide enough for one vehicle. Consider the road's condition and your comfort before continuing. 

It is an honest plan to possess 4WD beyond the Camp Bird entrance. In my experience driving this road, 2WD cars get delayed on a reasonably steep and loose section simply before the dramatic shelf. All wheel drive cars or traveler cars with good clearance will build the road up into American Boy Basin once dry. Pass the Imogene Pass junction and at ten, 800 feet, the Governor Basin Road heads off to the left (at an outsized mine). A high clearance 4WD vehicle is needed on the far side this time. I used to be able to get my Toyota Camry this way in 2012. With a 4WD, continue up to the correct at the Governor Basin junction and park wherever {you feel you area unit feeling you’re feeling} that you simply are rich the road and off belongings. There’s a vault can zero.8 miles past the Governor Basin junction at eleven, 300 feet. At this tiny bathroom lavatory} there's room for several vehicles and this can be in all probability the foremost well-liked parking spot. On the far side the little toilet, a rougher 4WD path heads further into the basin to tree line wherever it essentially turns into the path towards Blue Lakes Pass.


When to Climb

During a traditional year, the simplest climb conditions for avoiding snow is mid-June through period of time. It’s vital to stay in mind that this can be prime electrical storm season and everybody ought to be off summits and ridges by noon! 

May through mid-June is that the best time for snow climbs within the Lavender Couloir, Snake Couloir or the Birthday Chutes, but snow climbs may be safely done as early as March, reckoning on the avalanche and snow conditions. Make sure to stay a watch on the avalanche conditions! Snowshoes can possible be required on any climb before could

Sneffels may be climbed year-around, but in traditional and significant snow years, the road is usually closed at Camp Bird, and therefore the east Dallas road access is closed at the forest boundary gate. Inquire with the Ouray County workplace concerning road data before continuing however expect a substantial increase in distance needed for winter climbs.

You could bring dogs but I wouldnt recommanded

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Activities: ClimbingClimbing HikeHike
Amenities: Dog friendly Dog friendly Parking Parking


Federica Alfonzo Dillon Reservoir

Dillon Reservoir, owned and operated by the Denver Water Board, is the Denver Water system's largest water storage facility.

The interagency Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee (DRReC) is responsible for recreation within the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Area, which includes the reservoir surface and adjacent properties. DRReC consists of the Board of Denver Water, Town of Dillon, Town of Frisco, Government of the Summit County and the United States. Service to forests. Motorized and non-motorizedboating, open water and ice fishing, cycling, snowkiting, hiking, running, walking, skiing and others are popular recreational activities. Public access to the reservoir is available through two marinas in Frisco and Dillon, as well as several campgrounds and day-use areas in the adjacent National Forest of the White River.

This town has galore activities in the summer thanks in part to its pristine reservoir, Lake Dillon. The reservoir is perfect for boating, sailing, walking and picnicking with 26 miles of shoreline surrounded by a breathtaking mountainous backdrop. There are several boat launch ramps and two marinas where you can rent rigs, and even a sailing school and charter cruises are offered by the Dillon Marina. Fishing is great too, especially as the ice thaws, with stocked salmon, cutthroat and brook trout. A nice way to spend a summer night is with a free lakeside concert at the Dillon Amphitheater, hosted from mid-June through early September on Friday and Saturday nights.

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Activities: Standup PaddlingStandup Paddling
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly


Terry Obrien Bridal Veil Falls

A huge twenty-foot cascade covered up away in the northern slopes of Rocky Mountain National Park, Bridal Veil Falls makes for an incredible goal climb. Keep your eyes out for Elk in the meadows along this climbing trail in Colorado's most loved National Park. Get the climb data you need with our climbing preview for Bridal Veil Falls, and get more subtleties by investigating the nuances and tips below. Bridal Veil Falls is a diamond concealed in the northern ranges of Rocky Mountain National Park. This climb is about 1hr a short ways from the Denver territory and highlights far-reaching mountains, wildflowers, timberland, and a smidgen of a stone scramble. Marriage Veil Falls dispatches from a stone section at a corner to corner, making it a delightful site. Most guests to the National Park go to the focal point of the recreation center so you may get yourself alone on the trail on a weekday. I wouldn't anticipate that at the end of the week, however. Like most regions in the recreation center, the untamed life is plentiful. We regularly joke, considering it the zoo. Elk and deer, just as falcons and different raptors can be seen along Cow Creek trail. The trail to Bridal Veil Falls starts at the Cow Creek Trailhead. You'll go through valleys and look at the falls along Cow Creek. In the end, you'll climb up in the timberland, getting somewhat of a break from the sun. Before the cascade, you'll experience a few rocks to climb and scramble over, making this a progressively moderate climb.

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Activities: BackpackBackpack HikeHike
Amenities: Dog friendly Dog friendly Parking Parking