Following yesterday’s challenging hike to Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon, my father and I were looking for a more relaxed trail on Saturday. We also wanted to avoid the more popular hikes as this year is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service and entrance was free this weekend, resulting in a record number of visitors.
Reviewing the maps, we opted for a traverse from the Bear Lake trailhead up and over a mild ridge, then rounding Bierstadt Lake before descending into Mill Creek Basin and finally Hollowell Park. This would give us a good cross-section of the park’s ecosystem.
After a short climb, the trail levels off into a dusty path surrounded by pines before opening up to reveal Bierstadt Lake. As we made our way around the lake, we stopped to watch the wind move through the tall grass and were even approached by some friendly ducks.
Departing the lake, we walked through the peaceful mountain forest before entering Mill Creek Basin under a beautiful blue and white sky.
Continuing down the trail we are met with the wide-open vista of Hollowell Park, a great grassy expanse surrounded by low forested ridges.
It was a great day to explore a lesser-traveled section of the Rocky Mountain National Park.