Up Columbine Creek to Mount Adams and Watanga Peak and down the Roaring Fork.
First part of the trail is down the Colorado River. Shown above and below is where
it meets the high waters of Lake Granby. Click on a photo to go higher. Scroll down for details.
Swan Lake? ...... actually, a Great American White Pelican close to where Columbine Creek meets the
Colorado River and the high water of Lake Granby. Click on a photo to go higher. Scroll down for an introduction.
For the best treks, you enter at one point and exit at an entirely different location. For the trek featured
here, we first left a vehicle (the previous evening) at the Roaring Fork trailhead. This is by the easternmost reach
of Lake Granby, near the Arapaho Bay boat launch and campground area. You could set up a luxurious camp there,
and have your less-venturous friends celebrate your arrival with hot food and beer when you come out. The entry point
for this up-the-creek, over-the-mountain and down-a-creek excursion is the southern end of Shadow Mountain Lake,
close to the Green Ridge campground. The journey starts with a short walk across the Shadow Mountain Lake dam
and then an easy walk on a Rocky Mountain National Park trail along the original Colorado River. A mile and a half
downstream, you start up the Columbine Creek drainage, where there are no trails except those maintained by elk.
We did not see a single person on the entire trip. This is worth emphasizing because a Google search of the terrain
and the Indian Peaks Wilderness gives one the impression that it is overrun with visitors. Not so on the Grand County
side. No people were seen on an variation of this trek we posted a few years ago.
See Colorado River to Arapaho Bay via Twin Peaks.
The campsites at the beginning and end of this trek were bustling with families enjoying the area. It really is great to be
camping at these locations by our great lakes. Even if you can't make it far up the trails, it is satisfying knowing what is
way up there. It is our pleasure here to show you what is over the hills and along paths created by elk.
We started on this trek at 5:30 am in mid-July. It took us almost 9 hours to go all the way up, including time off for rests
and taking pictures. It took half that time to make the long descend and come out by Lake Granby well before sunset.
There is some talk and evidence of the Colorado River Trail from Shadow Mountain to Arapaho Bay being
improved for use as a mountain biking trail. It looks promising. More on that later.
Click on photo to go higher.
.. return to Scenery2 list of journeys ..