Saturday, January 24, 2009
Snowshoeing: RMNP Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake
Written by Anna
Today my friend Rita, her two friends and I, were going snowshoeing. We decided on Rocky Mountain National Park. We all met in Longmont behind the Pumphouse Brewery and took off for the park.
We stopped at the visitor center and asked where was the best place to snowshoe today. We were told there was fresh snow at Bear Lake, Bierstadt Lake, Fern Lake and Odessa Lake.
Although RMNP trails are well marked, there are three ways to get from Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake, which can get confusing - having a map of the trails is always helpful
We parked at the Bear Lake Trailhead parking lot and figured we would see where that took us. The Bear Lake parking lot was packed with people. This is a very popular place even during winter months. The snow was gently falling to the ground and the temperatures were in the high 20’s up in the mountains.
Some nice scenery at the beginning of the trail near Bear Lake
Heading down the trail to Bierstadt Lake
Even though it felt chilly as we walked to the trailhead from the parking lot to put on our snowshoes, immediately after we started snowshoeing I became hot and had t take some layers off. I'm still dressing too warm.
The snow was gently falling to the ground
Group shot half way through the trail, it's snowing more now
We headed on the trail following the signs to Bierstadt Lake and Odessa Lake, but once we arrived at the sign to turn for Odessa Lake, we realized it was all up hill and decided to stay on the trail for Bierstadt Lake.
The group taking a break
From Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake is about 2 miles. At first the trail climbs up but then it descends for a while. The weather kept getting snowier and we were still descending to Bierstadt Lake. We ended up turning around about half a mile before arriving at Bierstadt Lake.
Once we got near Bear Lake we decided to take the trail around the lake for a bit and check out the scenery. I have only seen Bear Lake in the summer time. It was frozen solid now and people were walking on the lake itself.
Looking across the frozen Bear Lake
People walking on the frozen Bear Lake
Really starting to snow now at Bear Lake - my camera lens is blurry because its wet with snow
Leaving Bear Lake, heading to the parking lot
The trail from Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake travels through a wooded area which protects nicely from wind and blowing snow, but unfortunately there isn’t a lot of scenery except in a few places where the trail opens up to views of nearby mountain peaks.
Our Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake trail
Bear Lake is located at 9,475 feet in elevation and Bierstadt Lake is at 9,416 foot. On this 2 mile trail from Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake the elevation gain is only about 245 feet per the RMNP website. I would say this trail is easy compared to others in the park. As an example, snowshoeing from the Bierstadt Lake trailhead to Bierstadt Lake there is a 1,000 feet elevation gain. That's a much harder trail to snowshoe.
Yummy... this Red Alert was a very fine beer
By the time we stopped at Bear Lake to take some pictures the wind had already picked up and the snow was falling quickly. We got back in the car and headed back down the mountain to Longmont, stopping in at the Pumphouse Brewery for a drink.