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Zephyr Lodge Condo -- Area Information


 

Hiking

This information is compiled to assist guests who rent our Condo at the Zephyr Mountain Lodge.  If you've arrived at this page as a result of a web search on Winter Park and Hiking, we hope you benefit from the information.  And if you need lodging, thank you for considering us.



INTRODUCTION

If you have the urge to get a little closer to Colorado's bright blue sky and white puffy clouds, try a hike high into the mountains.    Grand County offers a wide range of hiking from the sedate to the scary.    Nearly everyone can do it and it doesn't cost a thing. 


With well over 1000 miles of trails within 30 minutes of the Zephyr Mountain Lodge, the hiking possibilities are nearly endless.  The bigger problem is often what area to explore next.    The trails are
too numerous to post to this website -- instead we reference you to the best book on the subject.  The authors hiked the equivalent of Denver to Chicago and climbed and descended over 40 miles to research 67 trails they chronicle in their book.   All trails were personally researched and are GPS documented.

 

The book is available at local bookstores, at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, from www.barnesandnoble.com, and from the authors' own website.   We make no attempt to duplicate the information published in this fine book.

 

 

 

Another text worth considering is "The Official Hiking Guide to Grand County" by Susie Masterson.  This book is also available at the Grand County Chamber of Commerce and at www.amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

For maps, we recommend those published by Trails Illustrated, now a division of National Geographic.  They are available at local sporting stores or may be ordered on-line.   The waterproof design and excellent research make them the best maps available.  Expect to pay $8 to $10 for a map that is generally the equivalent of 8 15' topo maps.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are reluctant to make the investment in quality maps, I recommend the free [from the Chamber of Commerce] Grand County Trail Map.  This map is published by the headwaters trails alliance who performs much of the maintenance, signage, and upkeep for the Winter Park hiking  trail system.  They frequently have a project underway and if you would like to help, visit their website.

 

 

 

 

 


 

HIKING SAFETY
1. Always be prepared for bad weather.  It can snow in July and August.  Exposure to the elements is the number one danger in the Rocky Mountains.  Bring Windbreaker and Wind Pants...always.

2. Bring plenty of water.  You will dehydrate quickly.  Should you become lost or hurt, you will need water until help can arrive.  If you plan on drinking creek water, always use a purification system that will filter bacteria and giardia.

3. Protect against the Sun.  A hat and sunscreen are advised.

4. Bring 10 essentials: Map, compass, flashlight, extra clothing, hat, mittens, raingear, sunglasses, extra food and water, matches, candle/fire-starter, pocketknife, first aid kit, space blanket or 2 large trash bags. 

5. Be mindful of the altitude.  Altitude sickness can lead to complications that can jeopardize even the strongest hikers.

6. Rule of Befores:  Before you go, listen to the weather forecast.  Tell someone where you are going.  Drink before you get thirsty.  Eat before you get hungry.  Dress warmer before you get cold.   Check you equipment before heading into the field.  Get out of the weather before it strikes. 

7. Rescue. Grand County has excellent Search and Rescue.  Call 911 to activate.  But don't expect your cell phone to work everywhere.  Less than 25 pct of the county's remote regions have coverage.


5 EASY WALKS
For the remainder of this page, we concentrate on 5 easy walks that are sure to delight young and old alike.  The serious hiker is directed to one of the previously mentioned books and will have nearly 100 trails to choose from.  Click on the Instant Map to get a quick idea of where these trails are located.  Hiking maps are available from the sources identified above.

FRASER RIVER TRAIL
The perfect summer stroll is a walk along the paved Fraser River Trail.  You can join the trial in Old Town, just a quarter mile walk from the Zephyr Mountain Lodge and walk 6 miles to Fraser.  Picnic tables and benches are located along the path.  The path offers fine views of the river, beaver, old growth forest, wetlands, and meadows.   You can turn around at any point and retrace your steps.  Or you can catch a shuttle bus in Winter Park Town [after walking 3-4 miles and 200 feet downhill] or at the Fraser Safeway [after walking 6 miles and 500 feet downhill].  Or you can catch the bus to town and walk back for a little more exercise.

The trail follows the Fraser River between the Zephyr Lodge and Winter Park town.  Once in town, follow the main street [US 40] out the the far end.  At the Cozens museum you rejoin the trail as it once again follows the Fraser River through wetlands.

Map: Trails Illustrated, or local Winter Park trail map
Driving Distance from Zephyr Lodge: 0 miles
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 200-500 feet depending on turnaround
Approximate Distance: 1-6 miles each way

 

 

 

BONFILS-STANTON / JIM CREEK
OUTDOOR CENTER

Take a modest yet educational walk  in the Jim Creek area directly across Hwy 40 from the Winter Park resort entrance sign and just a half mile from the Zephyr Mountain Lodge.   The route is a gentle 1.5 mile loop with picnic tables and benches plus a few signs to explain the local flora and fauna.  If you are lucky, you may catch a moose munching on the plentiful willow branches.

Map: Information Kiosk at start, or local Winter Park trail map
Driving Distance from Zephyr Lodge: 0.5 mile.  Walk to highway and
   ski resort entrance.
Total Elevation Gain/Loss:  200 feet -- mostly walking to the trailhead
Approximate Distance: 2.5 miles round trip [includes walking to trail]

LOWER ROOF OF THE ROCKIES and FANTASY MEADOW.
Take the Zephyr Express Chair lift [requires ticket] to the top of Winter Park Mountain.  Once on top, walk the Lower Roof of the Rockies trail.  At the start, the vistas of mountain peaks are unsurpassed.   Once at Fantasy Meadow, relax at the picnic spot and enjoy the solitude of a mountain stream as it nourishes a meadow of flowers.  You are hiking at 10,700 feet so be careful to monitor your exertion.  The distance to Fantasy Meadow is 1 mile.  You will gain a total of just 70 feet.  But in the process, you will gain and loose a few hundred feet more.  You will cross  a handful of ski trails on your route.

For your return, you can choose several routes.  The most direct is to return via the same Lower Roof of the Rockies trail.  If the weather is threatening, this most direct route is advised.  But if you got  an early start, have plenty of water, and are feeling pretty strong, then choose Upper Roof of the Rockies as your return route. 

Returning by Upper Roof of the Rockies will add 2 miles to the total trip [new total is about 4 miles].  You will cross several more ski trails such as Hobo Alley, Switchyard, and Lonesome Whistle  You will have fine views of the Vasquez Cirque.  And you will be gaining 300 feet of elevation in the process.   

Map: Use the local Winter Park trail map.  Paper copies are  available  
   at  the Zephyr Lift ticket window.
Driving Distance from Zephyr Lodge: Walk 100 steps and ride the
   Zephyr Express Chair Lift to the start of the trail.
Total Elevation Gain/Loss:  300 feet out and back, or 600 feet if
    returning via Upper Roof of the Rockies
Approximate Distance:  2 miles round trip out and back, or 4 miles if
    returning via Upper Roof of the Rockies

PUMPHOUSE, DEADMAN, AND CORONA LAKES
This entire hike is just above timberline on a defined trail in the middle of miles of high alpine tundra.  From the trailhead, Deadman Lake is to the far left, Pumphouse Lake is slightly to the left, and corona Lake is to the far right nestled in a grove of trees.

Park in at a wide spot on the Moffat Road, which was an old Rail Road grade.  Follow an old wagon road down the hill.  After a short distance, a distinct single-track trail turns to the left.  Follow this trail to Pumphouse Lake.  A trail leads down to the water and to the remains of an old rail road pump house.  This lake provided water for steam engines as they traveled over the pass.  The mountain directly behind Pumphouse lake is Mt Epworth; a ski race is held here every 4th of July.

To reach Deadman Lake, turn left [south] and follow the shore of Pumphouse Lake.  Continue in the same direction up to the saddle.  From the saddle, Deadman lake is visible nearby.  To reach Corona Lake, return to Pumphouse lake by the same route.  Then follow the old wagon road down to the creek.  Cross the creek and continue up the hill.  Pass a giant boulder field and arrive at Corona Lake.

Since the entire route is above timberline, be watchful of the weather.

Map:  Trails Illustrated, or Page 57 of Hiking Grand County
Driving Distance from Zephyr Lodge: 2 miles to the Moffat Road.  Turn
   right on Moffat Road and drive 13 miles to where 3 lakes are visible on
   the left.
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 550 ft
Approximate Distance: 3.5 miles Round Trip

MONARCH LAKE LOOP
Monarch Lake is a picturesque Rocky Mountain Lake, 2/3 mile long and 1/3 mile wide.  Sitting at 8340 feet above sea level, it is ringed by pristine forest and numerous reminders of pioneer life.  A nice 4 mile hiking trail circumnavigates the lake.  

Start by registering at the Forest Service cabin.  Take the Southside Trail on the right and follow this trail around the west end of Monarch Lake.  The view across the lake with the mountain backdrop is beautiful -- especially in the early morning.  Continue around the lake always taking a left turn wherever possible.

Along the way, you will encounter old cabins and a rusting boiler.  They were used by the Monarch Lumber company in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  You will pass several more small settlements.

Moose have sometimes been spotted in the adjacent willow thickets.  Keep your eyes sharp.  In late July and early August, thee raspberries should be ripe around the wet and rocky areas near the parking lots.  Again, keep your eyes sharp.

Map: Trails Illustrated or Page 147 of Hiking Grand County
Driving Distance from Zephyr Lodge:  37.5 miles.  27.5 miles from the
     Zephyr Lodge, turn right off Hwy 34 [between mile markers 5 and
    6] onto County Road 6.  Drive 9.8 miles on good dirt road to the
    trailhead.  Follow signs to Monarch Lake.
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 ft
Approximate Distance: 4 miles

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Suggested hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park limited list published by the National Park Service.

Rocky Mountain National Park hikes [excellent list by independent website]

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Mother and Son

Above Columbine Lake


Daisy Meadow


Discover fields of flowers


Family along the Continental Divide Trail with Winter Park Ski Area in the distance


Discover Fresh Mountain Lakes

Climb a Tall Mountain


An 8 and 10 year old can have fun


Beautiful Tarn in the tundra

Winter Park is dwarfed by high peaks

Discover fields of flowers
 

July 3 -- It is not unusual to find snow

 


September -- it is not unusual to have 0 degree chill factor.
 

This poor hiker developed altitude sickness by failing to acclimate from sea level.

Fraser River Trail near Old Town


Fraser River Trail half way to Winter Park Town.

Fraser River Trail just outside Winter Park Town
 

Fraser River Trail in the wetlands outside Fraser


Posted Trail Map

Moose Feeding

 


Enroute to Fantasy Meadow

 
 
 
 
 
 
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