Cub Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park
Location: Moraine Park area of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Trail Length: About 6.5 miles, loop trail
Elevation Gain: About 700 feet
Link: Cub Lake Trail on AllTrails.com
Notable Features: A great longer trail right in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. After hiking past a meadow and up a ridge, you’ll hit the trail’s namesake lake. If you keep following the loop, you’ll parallel the Big Thompson River as you circle back to the trailhead.
Chasm Falls via Old Fall River Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Alberta Falls Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
The Rio Grande Trail connects Glenwood Springs to Aspen, but I just walked a brief section of it in Glenwood. Starting in Two Rivers Park, I walked by the junction of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, passed under the 8th Street Bridge, and headed downtown for pizza.
Alluvial Fan Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Lefty the alligator in Gulf State Park
Location: Gulf State Park, Alabama
Trail Length: About 1.9 miles, in and back trail
Elevation Gain: Pretty much zero – all at sea level
Notable Features: A relaxing walk through marsh with views of a lake, river and if you’re lucky, an alligator or two.
Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, Colorado – Instagram
Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown, southeast of Denver
Trail Length: My route: 1.8 miles
Elevation Gain: About 200 feet
Link: Lake Gulch Trail on AllTrails.com and Inner Canyon Trail on AllTrails.com
Notable Features: Relatively easy trail through rock formations, some pine trees and a rocky stream.
Continental Falls on Lower Mohawk Lake Trail near Breckenridge
Location: Off Highway 9 south of Breckenridge
Trail Length: About 5.0 miles, in and back trail
Elevation Gain: About 1,000 feet
Notable Features: This is a moderate trail that falls just below the strenuous level. At 5 miles and with 1,000 feet in elevation, it isn’t the most knee-busting trail out there, but the entire trail is above the 10,000-foot mark, making it harder for those not used to the altitude. The trail parallels Spruce Creek for part of the way, and the journey is worth it for the up-close view of Continental Falls. If you go a little further than I did, you’ll reach Mohawk Lake.
Hyperlapse video of Continental Falls feeding into Spruce Creek.
The Kishwaukee River south of Rockford has great kayaking for people of all skill levels. I went with my sister, her husband and their two boys. The almost 9-mile length was a little long for the younger one, but with a current that keeps you moving in the right direction, it seems shorter. And there are plenty of sandbars to take snack breaks.
We put in at Baumann Park in Cherry Valley and ended at Atwood Park in New Milford. You need to leave a car at Atwood or arrange to have someone pick you up there.
My sister’s family has done this kayak several times, and she says the water level has varied considerably. When I went with them, she said it was much lower than her previous trips. We had to hop out of our kayaks and drag them a couple of times when the river was too shallow, but it was manageable and only happened two or three times.
Time lapse video of the Kishwaukee River:
Savage River Loop Trail in Denali National Park, Alaska
The Savage River Loop Trail is a flat, relatively easy trail – and my favorite spot (that I’ve encountered so far) in amazing Denali National Park.
The trail starts at the parking lot – and dropoff point for the Savage River Shuttle bus – and parallels the river for about a mile until it crosses the river on a wooden bridge, then heads back to the starting point on the opposite side. A simple trail, but it is beautiful. You’re never far from the river, which starts as a wide, briaded river at the beginning, then narrows into a well-defined channel further along the trail. Looking around, you’ll see mostly treeless terrain that juts up into rocky hills. Purple lupines and pink fireweed line the trail during the summer.
Lots of birds frequent this area, and you’re almost guaranteed to see small wildlife, mostly squirrels. You may even get lucky and spy a moose or a Dall sheep.