Location: Idaho Springs, CO
Distance from Denver: 57 miles (~1 hr 15min) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~4miles RT ♡ ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Moderate (due to incline) ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Large, constantly emptying lot ♡ ♡ ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
This gem of a hike holds so much significance for me! This was the very first hike I ever did in Colorado, and one that left me breathless (both literally and figuratively). The trail starts at the Berthoud Pass trailhead, a little past Idaho Springs. At first glance, the parking lot always seems to be full but friends, half of the people here are tourists stopping to take a picture with the Berthoud Pass sign, so it only took us one loop around the lot to find a parking spot!
The hike takes you up to the top of the pass, near the weather station. You don't have to take the path pictured above (that is unless you want) - rather swing to the right and take the wide and winding path instead. Its a little more than 1.5 miles up to the top but where vistas are everywhere from the get-go! Plus gorgeous wildflowers are in bloom and scent the air with an amazing fragrance.
This trail is full of switchbacks and each one is pretty steep. It is a steady climb up, so bring tons of water and be sure to stretch out your calves before starting. There are snow (marker) poles up the trail and I remember the first time I had to stop near virtually all of them to catch my breath! The elevation (and the incline) killed me! This time around, we stopped less than 5 times to truly take a break - it was so incredibly humbling and rewarding to see how far I'd come since the very first time I had hiked this baby!
As mentioned earlier, at the top of Colorado Mines Peak is a weather station. It really doesn't get in the way of views, plus it helped shield us from heavy winds at the top (be sure to bring a windbreaker!) Simply slide around back and there is a little ledge you can sit on to enjoy the endless views and eat snacks!
While you are here, see if you can spot the (loud) birds pictured below! We heard them before we saw them, and boy do they move fast. We found it odd that they preferred to walk rather than fly, but in any case, they blend in pretty well!
What blew our minds when we summitted Colorado Mines Peak is that there is still snow at the top! If you follow us on Instagram (@co_couple), you likely saw Brandon & I sliding down the hill as well as our friend Becca & Brandon engaging in a snowball fight! So.much.fun!!!
Overall, we absolutely adored this hike - definitely one for the record books!
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