August 27, 2021
Mesa Verde National Park features elaborate cliff dwellings and myriad archeological sites. The structures, excavations, and artifacts span over a thousand years of ancestral Puebloan history. The park divides into two large sub-mesas. Chapin Mesa hosts crowd favorites like Cliff Palace and Square Tower House. But the quieter Wetherill Mesa features its own set of large cliff dwellings, like Mug House, Step House, and Long House.
Continue reading “Long House (Mesa Verde NP)”
August 27, 2021
Thousands of years of history
Mesa Verde National Park features a unique blend of stunning scenery and over a thousand years of archeological treasures. Ancestral Puebloan people built elaborate cliff dwellings on this high cuesta just beyond the Rocky Mountains.
Continue reading “Petroglyph Point Trail (Mesa Verde NP)”
August 27, 2021
Seven Centuries Later
During my recent visit to Mesa Verde National Park, I took a ranger-guided tour of Square Tower House. The “house” consists of a set of stone dwellings built into a cliffside by the ancestral Puebloans. The park contains roughly half a dozen major dwelling sites periodically open to the public in some fashion. Square Tower in particular features the tallest ancient structure in the park.
Continue reading “Square Tower House (Mesa Verde NP)”
August 26, 2021
Views for Days
Colorado boasts an impressive roster of four national parks. Everyone knows Rocky Mountain National Park. It ranks among the most popular in the country, with roughly 4.4 million visitors in 2021 alone. But way over in the southwest corner of the state lies Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde ranks as Colorado’s least-visited, but arguably one of the nation’s most unique.
Continue reading “Mesa Verde National Park”
August 25, 2021
Iron Paths in Ouray
My day began in the tiny town of Ouray. The former mining town sits nestled in a dramatic box canyon deep in the heart of Colorado’s San Juan mountains. The adorable city provides a point of departure for myriad outdoor pursuits, including hiking and ice climbing.
Continue reading “Ouray Via Ferrata”
August 23, 2021
Hiking Vail, Gondola to Gondola
Most folks know Vail primarily as a skiing and winter destination. And few would argue that this storied resort truly shines brightest when dressed in powder. But the “mothership” of America’s largest skiing company offers myriad recreational opportunities year round.
Continue reading “Hiking Vail (Northeast Rim / Ridge Trails)”
July 26, 2021
Indian Peaks Wilderness
When an avid hiker friend informed me she’d be coming through the Front Range this summer, I knew I needed to find a solid hike to show off the Colorado Rockies. I wanted to find something a bit more expansive than the Flat Irons; but also an experience that avoided I-70 traffic and hours of driving.
Continue reading “Isabelle Glacier (Indian Peaks Wilderness)”
July 18, 2021
Arrival at Summit Lake
I pulled into the half-full lot at Summit Lake just before sunrise. The forecast called for a warm, cloudless, summer day. After a string of ambitious (and at times failed) fourteener attempts, I was excited for an easy win.
Continue reading “Mount Evans via Summit Lake”
June 4, 2021
Hiking Aspen Mountain
Aspen, Colorado needs no introduction. But here it is anyways: a former mining town turned real-estate powerhouse, home to four world-class ski areas. Folks can and do spend entire weeks in Aspen simply shopping and dining and relaxing by glitzy hotel pools. But the outdoor recreation opportunities here are just as jaw-dropping as the nightly hotel rates.
Continue reading “Ute Trail up Aspen Mountain”
June 3, 2021
They say the early bird catches the worm. But in Moab, Utah, the early bird catches brisk hikes to incredible sunrises—and way fewer crowds. And so I found myself breezing past a shuttered entrance booth at Arches National Park around 4:30 in the morning.
Continue reading “Delicate Arch at Sunrise (Arches NP)”