McGregor Mountain Blog

Bear Sighting!

August 22, 2014

I was heading to Safeway for a few items and as I pulled in I noticed a large crowd gathered at the southeast end of the parking lot with cameras clicking away. Normally an elk doesn’t cause this kind of attention and especially since there was police tape and police keeping folks away. So I went to check it out and it was a huge black bear sow up in the tree! The pics aren’t great as she was tucked in there pretty tight, obviously a bit distressed about the attention she was garnering.

Enjoy!

Michael

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Wonderful Summer Day!

July 28, 2014

As the summer season rolls along we see families come and go as they are fortunate enough to spend a week or so of their year enjoying this special corner of the rockies. The mornings start off quietly with folks out enjoying a steaming cup of coffee on the front porch of their cabin looking out over the Fall River Valley. Deer Mountain stands guard high above with its imposing cliffs often causing ones imagination to run wild with thoughts of exploring the mountains flanks. And the last remnants of winters snow can still be seen along the slopes of Sundance Mountain to the west, keeping watch over the entire valley like a proud parent. Birds are busy working the feeders around the property and the chipmunks and ground squirrels are just as busy cleaning up the birds messy eating habits from the ground. It’s easy to let one cup of coffee turn in to two turn into three and before you know it the morning is escaping you! But most don’t fall into that trap every day and manage to get their gear together to hit the trails. After all, this area has some of the best hiking in the world and most are eager to take full advantage!

As I walked the property this morning, our wonderful staff hard at work making things look great for our guests, the animals scurrying about, a cool breeze coming off the divide, I couldn’t help but realize how lucky I am to call this little piece of land on the slopes of McGregor Mountain home. To see it through the seasons, day after day, to know the animals that call it home, to see the storms roll in, and then to see the skies clear… it’s a special place!

Here are a few shots from this morn… enjoy!

Michael

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Aspen Glen Loop

May 31, 2014

Run Stats:
Length: 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 732 feet

Strava Track:

This classic run/hike from here at the lodge takes you through Little Horseshoe Park above Aspen Glen Campground. You do have to run a about 1.65 miles along Hwy 34 (round trip), but it’s worth it to get to these great trails!

Start out taking a right out of the lodge driveway (west) and run along Fall River Road. Get on the left side of the road and use extreme caution as there is really no shoulder to speak of. If you want more of a shoulder you can run on the right side of the road, but know that you won’t be able to see cars coming up behind you. Stay on the road for approximately .88 mile and you will veer off to the left down a small hill right at a small gravel pull-off a kiss before the entrance to the park (you will see a trail below you to the left).

Down the hill to the trail on the left.

Down the hill to the trail on the left.

 

Then head right (west) on the trail.

Then head right (west) on the trail.

Go right on the trail. Note that this is the trail that National Park Gateway Stables uses for all of their rides and horses always have the right of way. If you do come up on a group of riders, just step off the trail until they pass.
You’ll go along the trail for a minute or two until you come to a road. This is the little drive into Aspen Glen Campground. Cross this and then take a left over Fall River on the bridge. This will turn back into the trail. You will soon come to a sign pointing the way for the loop trail. I usually run it clockwise and that is how this description will go. But if you want to go the opposite direction, go for it! So take a left at the Loop Trail sign.

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Cross the road and take a left over the bridge.

 

Follow the Loop Trail. You can go either direction.

This sign is about 30 yards after you cross Fall River. Follow the Loop Trail. You can go either direction.

From here, you will start to wind up into Little Horseshoe Park. This is a great place to see elk and mule deer! They are usually thick through here! In roughly .8 of a mile you will come to a trail junction with the North Deer Mountain Trail (that leads around Deer Mountain or up to Deer Ridge Junction). To stay on the loop trail, go right.

To stay on the Loop Trail, go right. Or take a left to head up to Deer Ridge Junction or the North Deer Mountain Trail.

To stay on the Loop Trail, go right. Or take a left to head up to Deer Ridge Junction or the North Deer Mountain Trail.

Continue up this trail coming to a few smaller junctions. You can short cut this trail by following the ‘Loop Trail Shortcut’ sign. To complete the full loop, just follow the Loop Trail signs. There may be one sign that doesn’t say Loop Trail on it, but it points to Horseshoe Park, head that way.. it will be obvious. You run about 30+ yards on a Park Service dirt road as well, but the signs are abundant and it’s all marked very well. The Park Service road is the highpoint and from here it will be downhill or flat.

The park service road is the high point. You're only on it for 30+ yards before following signs that turn right off the road leading downhill.

The park service road is the high point. You’re only on it for 30+ yards before following signs that turn right off the road leading downhill.

Once headed downhill, you’ll soon come to some beautiful open meadows. Look for elk and be sure to look behind you and to the left for some INCREDIBLE views of the Mummy Range! Like this one:

Mt. Chapin, Mt. Chiquita, & Mt. Ypsilon from the Loop Trail.

Mt. Chapin, Mt. Chiquita, & Mt. Ypsilon from the Loop Trail.

Follow the trail and you will soon be back at the original Loop Trail starting point. Take a left and you’ll see the bridge over Fall River just up ahead. From here, simply retrace your steps back to the lodge. The only tricky park is finding the right spot to pop back up onto the highway. Look for the ‘Estes Park City Limit’ sign. Just past  that will be a 35 mph sign. Work your way up that little hill toward the 35 mph sign and you’ll pop back up in the right spot. Cross the road, carefully – it’s a busy highway, and head back down HWY 34 for .8ish miles and the lodge will be on your left!

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You’ll turn uphill about here.

 

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Head up the hill between the Estes Park City Limit sign and the 35 mph sign.

If you have any questions, stop in the lobby and ask! This is a wonderful loop that is a kind of staple for me, especially in the Spring and Fall months. It does get some pretty serious drifting in the winter, making it pretty tough to plod through.

Notes:

  • You do need a National Park Pass to be on trails within the National Park.
  • On any run leaving and/or ending at McGregor Mountain Lodge, you will have to run some distance (+/- 1 mile usually, but sometimes more) along HWY 34, aka Fall River Road. Use extreme caution as you run along this highway.
  • There are inherent dangers while running or trail running in the mountains. Please know the risks and take appropriate precautions.
  • On trail runs, it is very smart to not run alone. Try to run with someone else and always let others know where you are going. You can email us at info@McGregorMountainLodge.com with details of where you’re going and when you intend to return, if you have no one else to tell.
  • Trail conditions constantly change (weather, downed trees, washed out trails, etc). Use our maps only as a reference and know you may have to retrace your steps if a trail is too dangerous to pass or impassable for any other reason.

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Beautiful Morning!

April 15, 2014

It’s spring here at McGregor! That’s for sure! Birds singing, some fresh snow, greening grass… it’s all part of our favorite time of year! I went on a ten minute walk around the property this morning and took a few short clips so we could share our little slice of Heaven with you!  Sorry about some of the wind noise, but I didn’t want to add music because I didn’t want to cover up all of the singing birds! Enjoy!

Michael

Be sure to watch in full screen HD…

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A Fine Spring Day!

April 12, 2014

Spring is kicking into gear here in the high country. The grass is greening, flowers are starting to bloom, the spring runoff is slowly coming off of the mountains, and the wildlife is getting more active as the promise of summer gets more real by the day! It’s a cool, cloudy day though, as we are getting ready for another spring snow storm. We’re looking to get about a foot of snow between now and tomorrow night. It’s just part of the deal here in the high country during this time of year.

As Steve was doing some spring projects, our little family of mule deer came down for a visit. Mama, Baby, Shadow, and crew stopped by to drink from the pond and to much on some fresh grass. They are a blast to have around. So sweet and curious. We spent about 20 minutes talking to them and taking some pictures before they moved on along the mountainside.

We had a few chippies stop by for pictures and I managed to snap some shots of a few of the bulbs that are blooming! We love this time of year! This winter has been a long one and we’re ready for warm mountain days, endless ribbons of single track in the National Park, and simply spending as much time outside as possible! Fire up the grills, wear out a few pair of hiking shoes, watch all the wildlife, and simply enjoy what the summer offers here in Estes Park.

Enjoy this little set of pics! Happy Spring!

Michael

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