Celebrate the Completion of the Alberta-Haiyaha Trail with Free Guided Hike on Saturday, Sept 29

Celebrate the Completion of the Alberta-Haiyaha Trail Project Free guided hike on Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 29

The Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) and Rocky Mountain National Park are pleased to announce the completion of the four-year project to rehabilitate and improve three miles of trails in the popular Alberta Falls and Lake Haiyaha region of the park. Work on a few finishing touches is wrapping up now and a celebratory, free, interpretive hike is scheduled for Saturday, September 29, which is also Public Lands Day.

This trail network, which links Alberta Falls and Lake Haiyaha, is easily accessed from the popular Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge trailheads, and is a popular area in the park. The trail continuing on to Lake Haiyaha was unimproved, and hikers had difficulty finding the route to the lake. This section of trail was never formally designed or constructed, and increasing use caused significantly deteriorating trail conditions, resource degradation and erosion. These problems have been carefully corrected.

The project greatly increased visitor safety and improved the trails’ usability and beauty, while protecting the area’s fragile and valuable natural resources and retaining a primitive character.  The properly constructed trails, which incorporate significant sections of labor-intensive dry-laid stone, are expected to last for at least 100 years.

Over the last four years, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) raised more than $400,000 to support this ambitious trail restoration and construction project. Contributors included nearly 1,000 generous private donors, the Colorado State Trails Fund, the Gates Family Foundation and more. 

Rocky Mountain National Park staff, volunteers, and RMNA’s own American Conservation Corps worked hard to make the needed improvements. This was a tremendous group effort—many thanks to all who pitched in time and money.

“There can be no better use of our collective efforts on behalf of Rocky Mountain National Park than to enhance the opportunity for public enjoyment of this pristine landscape while also improving its protection,” said the Rocky Mountain Nature Association’s Executive Director, Charles Money.

According to park superintendent Vaughn Baker, “We appreciate the support of our partner, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, to fund much needed projects like this. The park’s trail crew with critical assistance from a variety of other groups like the American Conservation Corps, the Texas Trail Tamers and the Southeast Utah Group National Park Service trail crew accomplished great work. Hikers will be pleased with the end-result.”

Please join RMNA and park staff on Saturday, September 29 at 8am for a free, guided, interpretive hike on these improved trails. Learn about the work that was done, the challenges involved, and how it will protect this resource for the enjoyment of all! This event is free, but reservations are required and space is extremely limited. Please call 970-586-0108 to learn more and reserve your spot.

Indian Summer Ride in Hall Ranch

Last week I decided to take advantage of a beautiful Indian Summer day here in Colorado and head out with a friend for a mountain trail ride on horseback.  On the way up to Estes Park from Boulder, there’s a great spot for a trail ride just west of the town of Lyons, called Hall Ranch (part of the Boulder County open space). Hall Ranch has over 3,000 acres of rolling grasslands, sandstone buttes, lots of wildlife, and stunning views.  Another important feature for riding is the easy horse trailer pull through in the parking area.

We took the Nighthawk Trail, which is 4.7 miles to the top.  At the top, we stopped for a bite to eat, and enjoy the views.  While I was taking a picture, my horse decided that my friend’s peanut caramel bar would make a great snack, and he scarfed it down.  I ran over just in time to pry the wrapper from his mouth….and for him to set his sights on my peanut butter cheese crackers!

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After “the snack”, we headed across to the Nelson Loop and back around to the start.  There were several good areas where we could bring the horses to a canter.  The Bitterroot Trail and Nelson Loop side are heavily used by mountain bikers, but they were happy to share the trail with us.  The last downhill to the parking area was via an access road running alongside the Bitterroot trail – no horses allowed on that section. 

With beautiful terrain and expansive views, red rock and ponderosa pine, mountain meadows, and rocky uphills, I’m adding this to my list of favorite spots to ride!

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