This post is part of our 2017 trip to Colorado we took in June. We weren’t sure how much snow was going to be in the mountains and how it would affect our hiking. But it was really the only time that we could go so we figured it would be beautiful and we would do as much hiking as we felt comfortable with. We got to Estes Park about noon on Sunday and took a quick look around.
It was a beautiful place with a mountain in almost every backdrop, but what I really had on my mind was an afternoon hike. So we checked into our hotel room at Discovery Lodge and was surprised that it did not have air conditioning. Usually I am very careful about making sure I check on things like this before booking, but I must have missed it somehow. The young lady at the front desk assured us that most hotels here don’t have air conditioning because it really cools down at night, she was right. We were pleasantly surprised by how nice this old rustic hotel was and the great views it had plus it had it’s own pond and was really close to everything. We unloaded our bags, pulled up a map of the Twin Sisters Mountain and headed out. The information on the hike says it is 7 miles but we never manage to follow the typical path so our hike was over 10 miles. We parked way down at the bottom near the road and could have saved a mile each way by parking by the actual trail head, but hey, free exercise. Trailhead elevation is 9090ft. and elevation at the peak is 11,428. It was fairly warm so we just packed the usual water, a little food and just a light jacket. The trail for the first mile or so was really nice and wooded, very quiet. Then the woods broke open to a huge wash out landslide area that happened in the flood of 2013.
There really wasn’t a trail through this area but it was not difficult to meander through and there were flags periodically to mark the trail. Once across the washout it was back into the woods and this was where the climb started to get more difficult because of the steepness. We kept going, taking a few rest breaks here and there although my wife said we didn’t take any and that I was running her ragged. Maybe I was, I’m always a little excited to do these hikes and probably wouldn’t stop at all if it was just me. We saw a few other hikers, but not a lot. On a steep grade, not even sure we were on the path because part of it was washed out, we came upon a group of older people. The youngest was at least 60 and they were coming down slowly with poles. We were literally pulling ourselves up the hill with tree branches and roots and I was just trying to imagine how these older people did it. I am guessing they got an early start.
As we continued on we started noticing the trees thinning out and small snow patches here and there. The views were getting better with every step but we had to be careful because these snow patches were quite slippery, especially if there were rocks below them. About a half mile further there was a spot where the snow covered area was large enough that when people were coming down they skied down on there butts. That is exactly what we did on the way back also. As with any time you are in the forest and there is snow, you never really know how deep it is until you walk across it and we had a few areas where we sank in quite a ways making the hike more difficult. Once we got above treeline the trail mostly cleared of snow but became more steep. We could see the top off in the distance but my wife was starting to second guess herself realizing that every step forward we went we would also have to repeat that coming back. The mind is a funny thing when you get really tired and I know she was, but she was a trooper and plodded on. We did reach the summit and for only being 11,400 ft. it was quite a workout but the view made it all worthwhile.
Once we reached the summit we came across this young guy and he took a couple of pictures of us. It was quite cold and windy up there and we were glad we had our jackets.
It seams like going down these mountains I am always amazed at how far we came up. I guess when your excited it goes quicker and then when you go down more of the reality of it sinks in. We did get to ski down on our butts on the large snow patch and made a couple videos that I’m not sure I want to share here but the kids enjoyed them. This is definitely a hike that I would recommend, although make sure your in somewhat good shape because it’s not a cakewalk.