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A Little Bit of Fall

We had a busy weekend, but that didn't stop us from getting into the mountains, particularly since it's getting that time of year when the colors are changing. The colors change fast in Colorado, so we knew we needed to take any opportunity we had to get into the mountains to try and enjoy it while it lasts. With Katie working Saturday and us attending a birthday party in the early afternoon on Sunday, our only option was to get up into the mountains before sunset, which at this time of year is starting to be early.

Timed entry is still required in Rocky Mountain National Park for a couple more weeks, but it had been a while since we last made it into the park. We try and avoid the busy summer with all the tourists, but now that people aren't taking summer vacations, the park should be a little less crowded. We didn't quite know where we were going to hike when we were driving up to Estes Park. We had a reservation to get into Rocky at 4, but because of the time constraints before the sun went down we knew we weren't going to do anything serious. We ended up picking Bierstadt Lake based on the views that we got earlier in the year when we snowshoed this same trail. Bierstadt lake is a quick 2.5 mile trail with very minimal elevation gain, but the hike is along an exposed mountain face that gives great views of the Bear Lake corridor. The hike didn't disappoint, the first half-mile we were hiking through thick aspen groves, and the remaining half mile to the lake we had unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains. The sun was setting towards the direction that we wanted to shoot, so this hike may have been better as an early morning hike instead, but we made due and ended up with some pretty good sun flare photos. One thing I always forget about in the mountains is that there really isn't golden hour because the sun doesn't get low enough. By the time the sun sets behind a tall peak next to you, the sun is still pretty high in the sky. But that's okay since all of these plans were somewhat last minute anyway.

We were a little early for fall colors this year, but we knew that heading up to Rocky. The colors were predicted to be early this year because of the massive amounts of rain that we got in the late summer, but I think peak colors in Rocky Mountain National Park will actually be next weekend, which aligns better with when peak colors usually hit the Colorado mountains (which is the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October). Despite most of the aspens still being green, we did find several golden aspen trees that made for some great fall colors hunting. Next weekend will be even better.

Trailhead Location
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2.51 mi 1.9 hrs 9,430 ft 610 ft
View Graph
Green and Yellow
Little Bit of Sun
Into the Sun
Big Boulder
In the Aspens
Setting Sun