Colorado Road Trip 2019 | On the way to Steamboat Springs

We left Winter Park (Fraser/Tabernash area) and headed across miles of some very flat arid wide open land to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Steamboat Ski Resort is an internationally known ski destination. It is a relatively new ski area, which started in 1963. I believe that is the same year that Waterville Valley here in New England (NH) started.  Nevertheless, we've been told that Steamboat Springs had the first organized skiing in Colorado (or was that in the west? or in the entire USA?), as a ski jumping hill was build there in 1914 by Norwegian Carl Howelsen. That original jump is no longer in use, but you can see it still at the Howelson Ski Area.  Next to the two old wooden jumps there are now two modern jumps, the largest being 114 meters. It is one of only several ski jump training areas left in the United States.

The Steamboat Ski Resort is huge.  It has 18 lifts, 169 trails, and has 2,965 skiable acres.  This makes it the fifth largest ski area in Colorado, based on skiable acres. But I see that only Snowmass has more vertical rise. This gives Steamboat almost twice the vertical rise and 14x the acreage of one of my favorite New England ski area, Waterville Valley

The town of Steamboat Springs is just a few miles away. It got started in 1873.  Ranching and mining were the main occupations.

The downtown area and the ski resort area are circled in blue on the screenshot below from Google maps. The green designates bike riding trails.  The trail through the town follows the Yampa River and is paved and flat.  Great for joggers, walkers, and strollers.

Starting 20 miles or more from Steamboat, we starting seeing yellow signs like this one in the middle of a cow pasture.  F.M. Light is a western clothing outfitter.


Colorado Road Trip 2019 | A Drive to Rand, Colorado

While still staying at the Wild Horse Inn, we spend the better part of a day driving out to Rand, Colorado. Rand is an unincorporated ranching community.  There is a post office that I learned later was established in 1883, though the current small building is clearly not the original. The population of Rand is 49.

All photos below taken with my Olympus E-M1 and 24-200 mm full frame equivalent zoom

This is a bit tongue in cheek.  There is no water around.  This is a pub.


Colorado Road Trip 2019 | Driving around county roads in Tabernash

Below are a few images taken while doing a bit of exploring on the dirt and gravel county roads around Tabernash and Fraser.  We decided we'd spend a morning getting lost. One road just got narrower and narrower and I was afraid I might not be able to turn around.  Fortunately I found a spot before I ran out of room.  Thankfully there was no one coming the other way.

Because we never knew where we'd be at lunch time, we kept a pretty full cooler.  Typically we picked up a nice fresh sandwich at Safeway or City Market.  They make great sandwiches (and its pretty hard to pass up Safeway's 2-for-$1 pastries and bagels.

You will see some snow covered ski trails at Winter Park, even though these images were taken in June.  Colorado had a record May snowfall.  Also, Winter Park's base is about 8,500' above sea level, which means it can pick up some late season snow.

Aspens in some nice light


Colorado Road Trip 2019 | Wild Horse Inn

Perhaps the nicest place we stayed was the Wild Horse Inn.  It is in Tabernash, which is not far from Winter Park and Fraser.  It is from here that we drove to the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We would have stayed at Wild Horse longer but our visit bumped into a weekend in which the inn had been booked full for quite a while because of a wedding.  I didn't take a photo of the large tent on the property, but the Wild Horse Inn is booked most summer weekends for wedding parties and receptions.

iPhone photo

Four shot panorama

Three shot vertical panorama

We did buy this mug to take home with us.

A bed and breakfast should always have a nice
breakfast like this.


Colorado Road Trip 2019 | Western Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park

After spending a number of days visiting the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park (via the town of Estes Park), we moved over to the western side and stayed at a B&B in Tabernash called Wild Horse Inn.  This is located about 25 miles from the Kawuneeche Visitor Center entrance to the park and a few mile north of the resort of Winter Park where we would soon spend a couple of days in a small condo (Airbnb).

Below are a few images of the park on the western side.  You'll see plenty of snow as the Trail Ridge Road travels some of its distance over 11,000 feet above sea level. Plus there had been record snowfall in May. The roads are not treated with chemicals or salt, so it wasn't actually open for travel until the day before these photos were taken in June

Continental Divide

Continental Divide at Poudre Lake

Trail Ridge Road

The visitor center remained closed due to snow

Selfie opportunity

Farthest away: Longs Peak 14,259'

snow removal equipment

snow removal equipment


Colorado Road Trip 2019 | The Estes Park side of Rocky Mountain National Park

These photos were all taken from the eastern side of the Park over the course of several days.

Longs Peak.  14,000+ feet
(I climbed it in 1977)

Skiers were climbing and skinning to ski down through
trails that were once Hidden Valley Ski Area
(now defunct)

One cold morning at the Cabin

One cold morning at the Cabin
(Actually, it was cold enough to have a fire every morning)

Early morning light

There has to be trout in there!

Reflections of aspens and conifers

Volunteer at one of the main wildlife viewing sites.

My best moose photo

Bull elk

Two males practicing their battle techniques