Colorado Girls Trip

I just got back from an epic girls trip and I am so excited to share all the details with you! Take notes, you’re going to want to visit this mountain town stat!

I have known my best friend, Amy, for decades. Three decades to be exact. We both hit the big 4-0, her in August and me in September. Those months are pretty busy for us being educators. So, we pushed back our celebrations until October, grabbed another girlfriend, and took advantage of a long weekend and hit the mountains.

Lodging:

So excited to stay at the Stanley Hotel!

We decided that we would venture to Colorado and picked Estes Park for our lodging. We both love hiking, so it made sense to be close to Rocky Mountain National Park. I have always dreamed of staying in the historic Stanley Hotel, so that’s what we did! I loved that we were staying in this haunted hotel… in October. I love all of the creepy things, so you know we booked the Haunted Shining Tour. This hotel has it all including amazing views, tours, restaurants/bars, and a spa. If you wanted to be spoiled with good food, drinks, and pampering then look no further!

Inside the hotel
The Shining memorabilia
Scene from The Shining

Rocky Mountain National Park:

This National Park is one of my favorites and each season here is incredible. Fall is probably my favorite, though. The weather was absolutely perfect for us and we enjoyed over 10 miles of breathtaking hikes! The elk are rutting during the fall and I heard my very first elk bugle! I loved seeing all of the animals out enjoying the weather, too.  

Hiking Info:

These trails are stunning in the fall!

On our first day of hiking we headed to Bear Lake and started there. We decided to hike to Emerald Lake, which is about 3 miles out & back. What I love most about this trail besides the views are the lakes you see along this hike. You can start with Bear Lake, which is a short walk from the parking lot. Then you venture on to Nymph Lake, then Dream Lake, then end at Emerald Lake. The trail can be tough at times, but there are several places to stop and rest and take in the views.

  • Bear Lake:
  • Easy 0.7 mile loop
  • Best time to visit is March-November
Bear Lake Loop
  • Nymph Lake:
  • Easy 1.2 mile out & back trail
  • Best time to visit is March-November
Nymph Lake
  • Dream Lake:
  • Easy/Moderate 2.0 mile out & back trail
  • Best time to visit is April-November
Dream Lake
  • Emerald Lake:
  • Easy/moderate 3.2 mile out & back trail
  • Best time to visit is June-October
Emerald Lake

Our second day of hiking started with a sunrise hike around Sprague Lake. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see a moose time, but the sunrise was gorgeous. Then we decided to head back to Bear Lake and hike to Alberta Falls and then Lake Haiyaha. This was a little tougher day of hiking, we were already sore from the day before. And the hike to Lake Haiyaha was one of the toughest I have ever done. But I am beyond thankful that we persevered and made it to the lake because it is one of the most beautiful places I ever seen!

  • Sprague Lake:
  • Easy 0.8 mile loop
  • Popular year-round
Sunrise at Sprague Lake
  • Alberta Falls:
  • Easy 1.6 mile out & back trail
  • Best time to visit is May-October
Alberta Falls
  • Lake Haiyaha:
  • Moderate/hard 4.0 mile out & back trail
  • Best time to visit is June-October
Lake Haiyaha

Estes Park:

Estes Park is a fun little mountain town with lots of great shopping and restaurants along the main street. I can’t believe that we didn’t do more shopping, but we really focused our time in the National Park and then at our hotel. To be honest, the town was pretty crowded and there were long wait times for dining. I recommend eating off the main street. We loved having brunch at MollyB’s before starting our first day of hiking and ending the night with Mexican food and margaritas at Case Grande!

Hiking Gear:

If you follow along on our travels, then you know that we spend a lot our time outdoors and hiking! I am an educator, so I don’t have a ton of money to spend on hiking gear. I am always shopping on a budget and I have been so pleased with the gear I have. I love the hiking pants I wear, they don’t slide down or sag and are quiet comfy. I have had my high-top hiking boots for several years and they have held up so well! My backpack is the perfect size for me, my husband usually carries one that is larger and holds more. I do have hiking poles, but honestly I didn’t use them. My boys and husband love using theirs, but I feel like they just get in the way for me. But that might be because I am the one taking all of the photos and videos! Below are my top hiking recommendations! (The links included are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.)

As always, thanks so much for following along! For more videos of our travels, check out my posts on Instagram (linked on the main page). I have some videos of my favorite hikes there!

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