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Old 02-12-2011, 02:27 PM
Location: Elk River/Pequot Lakes-MN
60 posts, read 119,805 times
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Hi everyone, my girlfriend and I have been thinking of driving to Denver over our spring break and head up into the mountains. We are not planning on skiing but are interested in sight seeing in the mountains and doing lots of hiking. We will be taking our dogs just so you know! Where are some places we might like to check out? Also we are deciding if we should drive our jeep or her accord. Would like to drive the accord for gas mileage but will we get stuck in the mountains? Any info on fun outdoor things to do in the mountains would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:41 PM
20,310 posts, read 37,810,444 times
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Jeep. It snows a LOT up in the high country. Use the search tool to find threads on hiking. Winter weather changes quickly up there, be prepared and be careful.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:06 PM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,653,765 times
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Originally Posted by Mesabi View Post
We are not planning on skiing but are interested in sight seeing in the mountains and doing lots of hiking.
A note of warning. Colorado snowpack is very unstable. Avalanches occur all the time. If you're hiking (or more likely, snowshoeing) in the mountains, be aware of avalanche danger. If you're outside a ski area, in a place with slopes around you, avalanches are always a possibility. Look up some winter snowshoeing books when you're here to get an idea of what is "safe". For instance, Mayflower Gulch near Copper is a pretty safe route up to the abandoned mine. Beyond the mine however, avy danger is very high. In Montezuma, the road/trail towards Webster Pass is relatively safe but it does cross some dangerous slide paths. Herman Gulch is safe until you reach the open meadow with obvious signs of avalanche activity (my friend's stepmother died in an avy while XC skiing there). You can trigger avalanches from far away, so the slope doesn't have to be "right there". The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is a good site to start (look at the Education section).

The list of snowshoeing possibilities is way too long (especially given the myriad avalanche danger zones). For things to do, stop by the Borders bookstore in Dillon (if you head up this way) -- they have a Colorado section that will give you tons of ideas. Rocky Mountain National Park is quite popular for snowshoeing (with many relatively safe trails) -- but you may not get much solitude. Here in Summit County, Mayflower Gulch is very pretty and very mellow. The drive over Loveland Pass (including a stop at the top) is worthwhile. The view of the Tenmile Range from Dillon Marina at sunrise is very nice. At Keystone and Vail, you can take the gondola up to the tops of the mountains for sightseeing. Not many indoor things, although the outlet mall in Silverthorne is a popular stop for many.

Also we are deciding if we should drive our jeep or her accord. Would like to drive the accord for gas mileage but will we get stuck in the mountains?
I drive a 2WD sedan (w/ snow tires) all winter long here in the mountains with no problems (along with MANY of our friends and neighbors). You can access most places (e.g. trailheads) with your Accord. Snow tires will be useful though. If the snow is deep enough that you need a Jeep to get through, you probably should turn around!
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Old 02-13-2011, 01:39 AM
2,253 posts, read 5,839,172 times
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Wink Different with dogs

If hiking, then you should probably aim for lower elevations. Come spring break there could be some heavy snows, so perhaps academic anywhere, but in a place such as Summit County you will be guaranteed a fair degree of snow that time of year. Some trails, more usually around town, may work for your purposes, but much beyond and probably deeper snow. While you might snowshoe, or more easily xc ski, your dogs could be floundering.

Unless venturing off the beaten path, your Accord will be fine if equipped with appropriate tires.

Areas of Rocky Mountain National Park would actually suit your desires fairly well. Even though there are any number of high peaks in the Park, and a fair degree of snow at higher elevations, the lower elevations of this Park on the east side receive relatively little snow due the mountains just to the west catching it. There are hundreds of miles of excellent hiking trails which see little traffic in winter. Although you might be surprised how far out some people will venture. It is also quite beautiful, if of course often cold, this time of year.

Do know however that your options there will be circumscribed if visiting with dogs. They are allowed in campgrounds and on roads, but NOT on trails. Nevertheless, one might still enjoy pleasant walks with their canine friends. Two possibilities would be along the roads leading further into Moraine and Endo valleys. Each of these is closed to vehicles closer in come winter, but one might continue on foot. Beautiful walks, and easy enough when the snow has been packed down by other hikers. If during or after a storm, then another question. You might inquire of Park headquarters for suggestions and ideas.

Among other possibilities would be the many fine hiking trails just outside of Boulder in their open space park. Chautauqua, just off Baseline Road, would be an ideal trailhead. Best to check, but it seems dogs are allowed on most of these trails if on a leash. Boulder can receive snow of course, and these trails tend to head up higher, but the overall elevation and likelihood of dealing with deep snow is less than some other locals.

Other than that, perhaps ask locally wherever you end up. People tend to love their dogs, and like to take them for walks.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:02 AM
726 posts, read 1,814,087 times
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I would definitely have a couple of plans of things to do. Meaning have a Plan A, plan b and a plan c. Take whatever vehicle is better in snow. I think safety trumps gas mileage. Weather can never be predicted anywhere let alone Colorado mountains. Storms can move in and dump a lot of snow fast. We've been in Frisco for the last week and the weather has been gorgous but today there's supposed to be a storm moving in. I like the suggestion of Rocky Mountain and Boulder.
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