Posts Tagged ‘water falls’

Blue Lakes Trail – Uncompahgre National Forest

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Lower Blue Lake

Lower Blue Lake

Do high-altitude glacier lakes surrounded by beautiful mountain views interest you?  Well then, you might want to read this and start planning your own hiking adventure on the Blue Lakes Trail!  At this point, I can honestly say that this is the most beautiful location I’ve come across in Colorado, and I highly doubt that it will disappoint you, even if there still is some snow on the ground.

Sure, the altitude may get to you (I topped out at 11,761 feet – a personal best), but if you take it slow and stay hydrated you’ll make it to the top and be happy you made every step of the climb.  The blue hue of the water and surrounding views are what brought me here, but pictures and videos cannot do the Blue Lakes justice… you have to see them for yourself!  You’ll know exactly what I mean, when you peer down onto the Lower Blue Lake, from the rocky cliffs above.

I took this hike as a birthday treat for myself, and camped out right above the Lower Blue Lake for 2 consecutive nights, where I was greeted by plenty of varmints scurrying around, a big buck checking out my campsite (while I ate dinner down the hill), and howling canines of some type up in the mountain tops, which provided me with a wakeup call.  It was truly a beautiful experience, and I’d gladly go back, perhaps sometime in August (to avoid all the snowdrifts), in order to conquer the Blue Lakes Pass and the smaller lake I noticed on Google Maps.

In fact, you can check out my trip right here:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

There are actually a couple different ways to reach the Blue Lakes, but I opted for the easier hike and the easier drive, so that’s where I’ll direct you.  So, CLICK HERE for directions to where you’ll want to park your car before you start your hike.  There seemed to be plenty of parking spaces available, and no one will mess with your car while you’re off on your adventure.  The Blue Lakes Trail starts at the other end of the parking area, as I’m sure you’ll notice the sign, info board, and trail logbook.

Want to see the path I took?

I just recently started tracking my hikes with the RunKeeper app, so that I can track my actual path, see how far I hiked, how long it took me, and the elevation change I endured.  So, if you’re interested, CLICK HERE for all the stats and map of the path I hiked (from trailhead to my campsite) on the first day.  You can also CLICK HERE to see the short hike I went on to see the two upper Blue Lakes, as well as proof that I actually was 11,761 feet up (looks like you need a RunKeeper account to see those stats)!

HELPFUL TIPS

Unless you really want a challenging hike, complete with giant snowdrifts to hike over and extra chilly nights, I wouldn’t plan on coming here until July.  I hiked this trail on June 20th and, as you got higher in elevation, there were plenty of big snowdrifts I had to hike over, in shorts.  The snow takes a while to melt off the mountains but, as it melts, it drifts down and crosses quite a few spots on the trail, so be prepared for that if you come here before July.

You will also have to wade through water to continue along the trail, at two different points, so wear boots and socks that dry quickly, if they’re not waterproof!  The first water crossing wasn’t that deep when I went, and only one of the footsteps I took resulted in a soggy boot, so it’s nothing to be too concerned about.  In fact, once you cross the first little creek, you’ll know that you’re about halfway to the first lake.  Now, the second patch of flowing water was a bit concerning for me, since the water was really flowing and it happens to be at the top of a waterfall, but with slow and careful steps you’ll make it across, even if the water does come halfway up your calves.  But you’ll only have to wade through water the second time if you plan on going up to the two upper Blue Lakes.

And, even though I’m sure this goes without saying, if you plan on camping here, pack as light as you possibly can – your shoulders and legs will thank you!  The 3.3 miles of hiking to the Lower Blue Lake is tougher than you might think, and you still have about a mile of hiking, as well as over 700 feet in elevation gain, to deal with before you make it to the Upper Blue Lake.

Where I Camped

Where I Camped

Want to camp where I did?  There’s an amazing view of the Lower Blue Lake below you and mountains to die for, but no one else seemed to set up camp where I did.  So, if you want a little privacy and the best spot in the area, then CLICK HERE for the exact spot I set up camp.  If you star this location, you should be able to bring up Google Maps on your phone on the mountain and have it show you how close you are to my spot, at least if you’re using Verizon.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, you can check out their official site here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/gmug/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=32558&actid=50

And if you’d like to enjoy the natural beauty without having to see my face, then you can watch the instrumental video here:

And here are more pictures:

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Blackwater Falls State Park and Douglas Falls

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Blackwater Falls (57 feet high)

Blackwater Falls (57 feet high)

If you love amazing views and the perfection of falling water then you need to check this place out!  There is so much beauty to be absorbed by your pretty little eyeballs in West Virginia, so I highly recommend you plan a trip to this area.

My timing was a bit off, otherwise I would have made it to the state’s high point during daylight hours, but I did manage to see some great views and some gorgeous waterfalls.  And I came at the perfect time of year, to see the changing colors of all the leaves, but views like the ones at Blackwater Falls State Park can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

And I know I didn’t go to every overlook, or hike every trail, but I got a good taste of what this area has to offer and I will be going back to this exact location during my walk across the country.  There is a TON of natural beauty to explore, in and outside of the park’s limits, so give yourself plenty of time to absorb it all.

But enough out of me, check out the beauty yourself through the video below…

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you would like to check out Blackwater Falls in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for the directions to the parking lot, above the falls.  There is plenty of parking, bathrooms and food provided here.

If you would like to check out the Pendleton Overlook and Pendleton Falls in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for directions to the parking lot, right next to overlook.  Once again, there is plenty of parking and it’s only a short hike to the waterfall.

If you would like to check out Elakala Falls in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for directions to the parking lot, right outside of the lodge.  Again, there is plenty of parking and it’s a short hike to the waterfalls.

If you would like to check out Lindy Point in Davis, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for directions to the parking lot, right beside the trail.  There isn’t a lot of parking here, but you can park on the side of the road if you need to, and it’s not that long of a hike to the vista.

And if you would like to check out Douglas Falls in Thomas, West Virginia then CLICK HERE for approximate directions to where you’ll park.  You will want to turn onto a gravel road called Rail Falls Road, which is marked with a green road sign, but drive slowly because there are a lot of potholes.  If you don’t have four-wheel drive, then just park your car on the side of the road whenever you don’t feel comfortable driving any farther.  It won’t be too long of a walk to the falls, but you will cross a bridge that looks like it’s constructed out of railroad ties and you want to keep going until you come to a gate, and then Douglas Falls is down the bank to the left.

HELPFUL TIPS

At Blackwater Falls they have a boardwalk, with a couple overlooks, so you won’t be able to walk right up to the base of the falls without breaking some rules.

But you will be able to get up close and personal with Pendleton Falls.  Just stick to the Pendleton Trace Trail, marked in blue, and go past a dammed area and over a wooden bridge.  Then, off to the left, you’ll see a small stack of rocks beside a trail and you should hear the falls in the distance.  Take that trail down the bank, but be careful because it can get a little tricky.  You’ll be able to see the falls from up top and the base.  And, if you check out the Pendleton Overlook, be careful around the edge of the gorge because some of the overlook locations don’t have any railing to keep you from going over the edge.

But the trail to Elakala Falls is clearly visible off to the left of the lodge parking lot and you’ll know you’re in the right place whenever you cross a wooden bridge.  Why?  Because you just walked over the top of the falls!  You can climb down the bank to see it up close, but there are actually three more sections to this waterfall, which are a little harder to get to.  So, if you want to see it in its entirety, then be prepared to slowly creep down the gorge, off the beaten path.

And there is a observation deck at Lindy Point, but there are side trails that allow you to walk right out onto the rocks, so be careful near the edge.

But don’t get confused when you’re looking for Douglas Falls, because there are a couple small waterfalls before you get to the true falls.  The first one is wide and falls a decent height but the rocks aren’t quite red at this point, and you’re looking for the reddish rocks, which mining helped color.  The second fall you’ll come across is really short, but now you’ll start to see the reddish rocks.  But you don’t want to stop walking, or driving, until you come to a gate, and you’ll hear the falls off to the left.  You’ll want to be careful on the rocks, but you will be glad you came down this rough road, outside of the park, to find this gem.

WANT MORE?

But if that wasn’t enough for you then check out the official site for Blackwater Falls State Park, here: http://www.blackwaterfalls.com

And if you’d rather not have me interrupt your viewing pleasure, then here’s the instrumental version of the video:

And here are some more pictures…

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in Views, Waterfalls, West Virginia | No Comments »