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Rollins Pass / Heart Lake hike - Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2012-08-10 01:04
  Subject:   Rollins Pass / Heart Lake hike
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Moffat Tunnel to Heart Lake is one of my favorite hikes in Colorado. It's fairly long at 8.4 miles (and 2100 ft of vertical), but I find the scenery well worth it. I didn't get pictures the first time I did this hike, about three years back. But this time...



The drive up is on (well maintained) dirt road for the last several miles, and there are multiple railroad crossings.






There's this garishly painted building on the way up. Based on the little bell-tower, I think it's probably an old church. (Redneck Rampage) GIT OFF ER LAND! (/RR)




The parking lot and trailhead are right at the Moffat Tunnel.




You spend a fair bit of the hike in the trees, but even here you find a little bit of visual candy.



Eventually you hit treeline and come upon the first of the two major lakes. I'm not actually sure if this is Jasper lake, Crater lake, Rogers Pass lake, or some other lake. Anyway, the first time I did this hike, there was actually a whole dead elk in the water right here at this spot!



The scenery starts to get good about now. You can see this bread-loaf shaped hill and just barely see a little lake above the first lake, hidden in the trees. I was disappointed with the scarcity of snowfields, I was hoping to get some bootskiing in.



Continuing upward on the trail, you reach...



Heart lake! It's tough to see from this angle, but this picture actually shows the two top lobes of the "heart".




You've already been hiking for maybe two and a half hours now, so some may want to stop at Heart lake. But if you want more, you can continue on up into the steep stuff...





The views are pretty spectacular now.



When you get near the top, you see this sign. Which looks like it's been eaten by bears! ;D



The real top. Looking left you see:



Looking right you see:



Turns out this is actually the ski resort town of Winter Park! Which is kind of mind-blowing to me, because I always think of Winter Park as being really far away from Nederland.


Vanessa took a few pictures too...



Don't ask me why her camera takes pictures with so much more saturation. It probably has a much better CCD than my cruddy little phone camera.



This is where the dead elk was last time.





This little meadow beside Heart lake is a great place to bust out the snacks.




We encountered a hiker couple who had a Malamute as big as a timber-wolf! They said they had hiked up and over from Winter Park, and camped by Heart lake the previous night.



Doing my best Howard Wolowitz.



A/B.

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