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Blizzard Adventure in June

Okay, maybe "blizzard" is an exaggeration, but not by much. It was snowing hard with poor visibility for the majority of the hike. It felt like a mid-winter hike which included busting out gloves and hot hands to try and keep my fingers from freezing - that's not something that should need to happen 4 days from the summer solstice!

Conditions weren't forecasted to be dangerous, just some chance of rain between 10-12, something we could easily prepare for. And good thing we did since that rain ended up being snow at that high elevation. The weather was forecasted to be perfect for hiking the other day of the weekend, but we had other plans. Normally if the weather is bad we would just skip the weekend and go the next, but we had (non-hiking) plans for the next 2 weekends that will make it hard to get outside. All of that combined made us decide to brave the weather and hike up to Chasm Lake. We loaded up the car and got an early start since this hike shares parking with the only 14'er in Northern Colorado, meaning the parking lot would fill up quickly. We got to the trailhead at 8:30 and took a spot from (presumably) someone who had already gone up and come back down. Not questioning our luck in getting a parking spot, we hopped on the trail and started our adventure.

The hike started dry, but it started snowing quickly early on, much sooner than the 10 am forecast. But we were prepared and hiked through the blizzard. Getting that much snow just a few days in the middle of June was strange, but since it is nearly summer it wasn't as cold as some of the other snowy hikes we have done in Rocky Mountain National Park. We were hoping that the weather would clear up by the time we got to Chasm Lake, but we hiked too fast getting there around 11 and it was still snowy with low visibility.

After summiting, we took a few photos at the lake and headed down to find a place that was less exposed for lunch. We quickly ate our lunch and kept descending. About a mile from the lake the snow abruptly stopped and we had partially blue skies in a matter of a few minutes. There was no indication that this sudden change of weather was going to happen when we were at the lake, otherwise, we would have waited. But having already hiked back so far we decided to just keep hiking back to the car. It was a shame, too, since all the beauty in this hike is in the last mile.

Having seen a glimpse of how great the views can be on this hike we've decided to leave it on our hike list to do again hopefully when the weather is better.

Trailhead Location
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8.98 mi 5.3 hrs 11,663 ft 2,457 ft
View Graph
Alpine Brook
Low Visibility
Chasm Lake
Back at the Snowfield
Columbine Falls
Breaking Clouds
Longs Peak
Alpine Forget-Me-Not
Twin Sisters