We’ve just returned from a three day trip to north central Colorado. We celebrated the 4th here in Highlands Ranch with an afternoon at the pool and a grilling extravaganza that we called the kabob-athon. Chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetable kabobs were all wonderful and I plan to post recipes soon. Don’t miss the Churros Cheesecake Bars … ohmy.
I’m posting this shot of the bear that was at our cabin as the headliner shot. Exhilarating for me as it was my first bear sighting – ever. I’ve lived in Colorado for nearly 40 years, camped and explored our wilderness areas ad nauseam, been to Yellowstone twice and not once have spotted a bear. This shot was taken moments before he swatted that grill to the ground. We were told mom was next to our car, we didn’t see her. I’d call this guy a “teenager” in size.
We left bright and early on the 5th, our destination, Clark, Colorado. This area one of our favorite areas in Colorado. It’s far enough from Denver that you escape most of the rat race, pristine with lush green valleys surrounded by mountains. We rented a cabin along the Elk River. The location has it all, rivers, mountains, lakes, easy hiking trails along with a cozy cabin where we felt very comfortable. And our dogs were welcome. Perfect.
On our way to our destination, we took a little side trip to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge outside Walden, Colorado. The refuge supports diverse wildlife habitats, including sagebrush, grassland meadows, willow riparian areas and wetlands. 23,464 acres, the refuge was established in 1967 primarily to provide suitable nesting habitat for migratory birds.
I love barns, so couldn’t resist taking a photo of this one that sits on the refuge. Googling told me this is the Case Barn. The area was settled by Owen Case in 1889. He was a school teacher and a rancher. There is little information about the construction of the barn. The USFWS surveyed the barn in 1991 and the recorder estimated it was built around 1948. The barn is not open to the public.
Here’s where my photo taking turns lame. We stayed at Glen Eden Resort, Clark, Colorado. I had to snatch this photo off the internet. I took not one photo of our cabin complex.
Our cabin was an easy drive to popular and pristine Steamboat Lake. It’s a Colorado State Park located in Routt County 27 miles north of Steamboat Springs. The 2,820-acre park was established 1967 and includes a 1,101 acre reservoir.
Another barn to photograph. The Fetcher Barn was constructed in 1929 by J.T. Kelton, who moved his family to Clark in 1927. He served as County Sheriff to supplement the family income during the depression. The Fetcher family moved to Clark from Pennsylvania and purchased the ranch in 1949. The barn sits on the west side of Steamboat Lake.
Time for a picnic lunch, we moseyed over to Hahns Peak Lake and Campground. Hahns Peak Lake is a small, quiet lake, especially when compared to nearby Steamboat Lake. It’s tucked away, and fishing, camping and hiking are the main attractions. Featuring a scenic picnic area, the best spot, right on the water, was taken by a family fishing, and our picnic table is just above. These spots are near campsite #7. The 160-acre lake sits at 8,500 feet and is surrounded by wilderness. The 10,774-foot Hahns Peak adds to the scenery.
Pearl Lake is also a short trip from Clark. A beautiful little lake and State Park that my friend Teri describes as “heaven.” Pearl Lake is named for M. Pearl Hartt, the wife of pioneer sheep rancher, John Kelly Hartt.
I love this photo of this young man who spent some time laying on the end of the dock just staring down at the water. Summer!
There’s a great trail to hike at Pearl Lake. Easy, lush and untouched. It’s a short walk to the dam for a bit of exercise.
This was little Remy’s first ever wilderness hike. He made sure we had no unexpected chipmunk attacks.
Almost back to the parking lot, I snapped this shot of people enjoying the beautiful water. Unpolluted and quiet with great fishing and wakeless only boating, it’s what a mountain lake should be.
On the road leading out of the park, I snapped this shot of Hahns Peak.
Just East of Steamboat Springs is Fish Creek Falls. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend this side trip. Clear and fresh high alpine water roars down Fish Creek Canyon, spilling over the magnificent 280-foot Fish Creek Falls. It’s one of the most popular destinations around Steamboat Springs. Get there early…by the time we left at 10:00 the parking lot was full and the road leading into the site filling up with cars.
The hike and trails to the falls are easy and we felt as if we were in a rain forest. So lush with ferns, aspen, oak and vegetation.
I had the opportunity to snap this shot of a Cordilleran Flycatcher.
After our trip to the Falls, we headed over the Stagecoach Reservoir. 17 miles South of Steamboat and a relaxing drive, Stagecoach State Park sets the stage for great recreation in the Yampa Valley. Vistas and views are backdrops to the 820-acre reservoir providing renown lake fishing.
A shot of one of the interesting formations that tower over Stagecoach Lake.
If you’re planning a Summer vacation to Steamboat Springs, don’t miss these wonderful lakes near town. It’s what to do around Steamboat Springs.
We camped at nearby Pearl Lake a few years ago and I posted lots of photos here on my blog.