Posted by: bikedave | July 21, 2010

July 19, Rest day, Rocky Mountain National Park

Today started out wet.  When I woke up, it was raining. The cloud bases were above the 12,000 foot peaks of the Never Summer Mountains to the west of us.  The rain continued into mid morning, but had mostly quit by the time we had finished our breakfast of eggs and fried bologna.
We left the Timber Creek Campground, and drove north on US34, Trail Ridge Road, along the Colorado River.  We are only a few miles from the beginning of the Colorado, when the road turns away from the river and begins a series of switchbacks that take us up to the Continental Divide at Milner Pass (10758 ft).  The road then works it’s way up to Trail Ridge.  In some places, on Trail Ridge Road, you are literally on top of the mountain.  The highest point on the road is at 12,183 feet.  The views from this road are stunning.

Click for full size

In this picture, we are looking southwest across Forest Canyon.  Mount Ida (12,880 ft) is on the right, and Mount Julian (12,928 ft) is on the left.  The ridge line to the left of Mt. Ida, and Mt. Ida itself are on the Continental Divide.  Mount Julian is closer to us, and obscures the Divide as it continues to the left.  If you look closely, three of the Gorge Lakes can be seen in the photo.  They are, from highest to lowest; Inkwell Lake, Doughnut Lake, and Arrowhead Lake.  There are two more lakes in the group that are above Inkwell Lake, but are too high to be seen from our vantage point.

Looking south across Forest Canyon, Flattop Mountain, on the Continental Divide, can be seen on the left.

We continued through the park until we exited on the east side.  We drove south to Idaho Springs, then west, and north to return to our campsite in the park.  Here are some of the sights we saw along the way:


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