The last few days we have been exploring the Rocky Mountains. Because of the distance from Loveland where we are staying to Estes Park, which is the gateway to the National park, we rented a room for a few nights at the Olympus Motel, it was nice, clean and cheap which is what I like. Wednesday our first day in the park we had a timed entry for 9 am, then drove the 46 mile park road, at high altitude, no guardrails, to Grand Lake, a small resort town on the western side of the Rockies. spent some time there then drove the park road back to Estes park. The second day we had a timed entry for noon, and spent the day exploring the Bear lake area. Friday, we explored Estes park some and returned to Loveland in the afternoon. What a trip. It was an amazing time.

You notice I have said timed entry, you cannot get into the park without a timed entry permit. You have to get them online, and know exactly what days you want to go. Sixty days before hand you can reserve the tickets from the parks web site, for the days you want, if they have not already all been taken by about five after eight in the morning. They have eight different times during the day, with about three hundred tickets per time slot, that you can reserve. Thus the reason we arrived at noon the second day.

That was Dave telling about our adventures in the park, now I get to add the pictures! One thing I love about walking through the park is the wonderful smell of the pine trees along with the fresh air.

Oh before I forget, Come on sing along with me . . . . .

As Dave mentioned we drove through the park to see Adams Falls, along the way, especially where there are no guard rails, the park has these poles in different places to help the snowplows stay on the road as the snow gets to high levels. I wouldn’t want that job.

There was a fire in the park in October 2020 and approximately 30,000 acres, or 10 percent of the park, was impacted by the fire, a couple years later and this is how it looks.  Based on evidence gathered at the fire’s origin, investigators have determined the fire to be human caused.

Drove through the park and arrived at Adams Falls

The hike to Adams Falls was fairly short and definitely worth it.

Stopped in the Visitor Center and off we went.

The trail meanders along the start of the mighty Colorado River, though it’s still little more than a mountain stream in the Kawuneeche Valley.    It has beautiful views of the Colorado River,  the Kawuneeche Valley meadows and the snow-capped Never Summer Mountain Range in the distance.

We both put our hands in The Mighty Colorado River. Since we were at the beginnings of the river it felt like the thing to do!

🎶You gotta keep singing with me. 🎵

Our next stop

 On the beginning of the trail is this miner’s cabin, one of the oldest buildings left standing in the Kawuneeche Valley. In 1902, Joseph Fleshuts homesteaded 160 acres here with the intent to live on the land for at least five years. Life must have been hard. In 1911 he abruptly he abandoned his cabin—and was not heard from again.

Further down the path is one of the Kawuneeche Valley’s first dude ranches once thrived here. In 1917, German immigrants Sophia and John G. Holzwarth built their homestead here, after wartime prohibition closed their saloon in Denver. Originally ranchers, they began hosting friends from the city at their “Holzwarth Trout Lodge” in the 1920s.

The Never Summer Ranch, as it was later known, offered fishing, hunting, and horseback rides. Guest stayed in rustic cabins or a lodge that once stood in the meadow before you. In 1975, Never Summer Ranch and Holzwarth Homestead became part of Rocky Mountain National Park. Although the newer buildings were removed to restore the meadow, this dirt road leads to the Holzwarth’s or original homestead buildings.

The Kawuneeche Valley is prime moose habitat. We didn’t see any, the closest we got to one is this picture.

 Vacationers driving wagons and Model T Ford’s rumbled up this road in the 1920s to spend a week or more at Sophie and John Holzswarth’s Trout Lodge. After each day’s fishing, guests strolled to the “Mama” Cabin-the largest building to the left where Sophie cooked meals that combined her native German cuisine with western recipes.

Besides the rustic cabins, this “dude ranch” had many outbuildings, including a taxidermy shop run by Johnny Sr. for a decade this was due to ranching as it originally existed-plain, primitive, and fun. In the 1920s the Holzwarths built the more modern Never Summer Ranch along the Colorado river and use these buildings for overflow.

Our next hike . . .

To see the valley we were just at and hike the Milner Pass.

At 10,759 feet, this mountain pass has exceptional views of Poudre Lake, and is located on the continental divide!

The divide traverses the Americas from Alaska to Cape Horn in Chile. As it rains on the divide, the future course of a drop of water depends on a matter of feet. All water east of this pass will flow towards the Atlantic Ocean while all water on the west side will flow towards the Pacific Ocean.

It starts as a  paved  trail and has 360 degree views of the tundra and Rocky Mountains.  We were  over 12,000ft in elevation so we felt kinda winded and it was chilly being up that high in the tundra, but it was  totally awesome!

Back at the hotel where we staying, thinking about all the astonishing and amazing things we’ve seen today!

Time to awaken and start another grand day in the park.

Our first stop was Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.

 The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is a National Historic Landmark because it reflects the legacy of one the world’s most creative architects, Frank Lloyd Wright.

After Wright’s death the firm he founded, Taliesin Architects, designed the Visitor Center. Architect Thomas Casey, who designed the visitor center, was apprenticed to Wright. Casey incorporated many of Wright’s design principals into its creation. Today, the building is a National Historic Landmark in recognition of its unique contribution to architecture in the National Park Service.

Frank Lloyd Wright Design Principles
1. The building blends with the natural setting.
2. The building departs from traditional “box” architecture.
3. Materials are chosen for their weathering effects over time.

I almost forget . . . Sing along with me . . .

Bear Lake is a scenic trailhead and destination in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sitting at an elevation of 9,450 feet, the alpine lake rests beneath the steep edges of Hallett Peak and the Continental Divide. Several trails start from the lake.

Just an incredible place to be.

Our next stop . . .

Is at Glacier Gorge trail and we hiked to Alberta Falls.

We were both at the top of the falls and had to put our hands in the water. 😊

Next we went back to Sprague Lake, where we took the van tour, because we didn’t get to see very much of it. We took a walk which has boardwalks and bridges with views of Flattop Mountain and Hallet Peak.

There is definitely a lady exploring the glacier as you can tell by her skirt. I gotta give her a lot of credit!

We finished out our day sitting on a bench and watching theses three ducks go under water for food and come up again. Another day at Rocky Mountain National Park with the spectacular scenery.

“Because of the Thames I have always loved inland waterways – water in general, water sounds – there’s music in water. Brooks babbling, fountains splashing. Weirs, waterfalls; tumbling, gushing.”

— Julie Andrews

Our last day at Estes Park, which is right next to Rocky Mountain Park. The Town has a River walk trail that we took before we left.

I’m still trying to comprehend all the beautiful spaces and places and just how wonderful and vast Rocky Mountain National Park is.

Your last and final time to sing along with me . . . .

🎵 Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high

Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado) 🎶

Thanks for putting up with the song.


  1. Sandy

    Wow! Stunning photos. There’s just something about water and mountains….
    Looks like you’re having a great time. Keep on hiking! And posting photos. :). Great idea
    staying in motel closer to park to save travel time.

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