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Lake Haiyaha Rock Mountain National Park - Pin Me

The 3:30am wake up call came with some ease this go around. Surprisingly, my eyes naturally popped open without an alarm. It’s as if my natural body clock knew what was coming. I rolled out of bed and got moving for today’s destination: Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park. Who doesn’t want to ring in a new year watching the sun rise dramatically over the snow caped mountains?

Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park - Squirrel
The sun teases us with warmth while the blustery winds keep us bundled up!

Rocky Mountain National Park Info

However, here’s the catch: Rocky Mountain National Park is quickly becoming one of the most popular national parks in the United States. According to the park, in 2014 there were over 3.4 million visitors. That’s staggering. Traffic jams, long lines, and overcrowded trails have lead me to mostly stay away from the place despite the scenery.

So why did I bother? Well, my tactic to avoiding crowds in popular wilderness areas is simple – I’m up painfully early and I go during the off-season. Today was a perfect example of that. January 1st is the number 1 day to sleep in. Squirrel and I decided that is the perfect time to hit the hay early and head to the park’s most popular area – Haiyaha Lake Trailhead in the Bear Lake parking area.

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Heading across Nymph Lake as the sun slowly creeps above the trees

Lake Haiyaha Trail Area

The trail to Haiyaha Lake is one of the most popular trails in the state if not all of the National Parks. Honestly, this comes as no surprise. The trail is roughly 4 miles round trip up pretty easy terrain. As you meander gently uphill the trail treats you to 4 pristine high alpine lakes nestled among staggeringly high dramatic cliffs. The trail gets tougher and thus, less crowded, once you start to gain a rather short ridge to the final Lake – Lake Haiyaha. As you round the corner you’re greeted with a steep drop to a valley below while surrounded by the iconic rocky peaks that make Colorado famous.

Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park - Fox
Feeling small in a big beautiful world

The place is a dream. And we had it all to ourselves. Ya sure, conditions were less than ideal, but fit for a new year. Everything isn’t going to go your way, there will always be an obstacle to overcome in return for reward.

Reflecting on Life

We marched among the giants shrouded in swirling clouds. Every now and then they fully unveiled themselves. Each breath felt like a new life, a new sense of being, a new beginning. A new sense of awakening enveloped the landscape as the sun rose warming my soul and unveiling the pure beauty of a new day.

Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park - Lake Haiyaha
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Surrounded by indescribable beauty while we endured 40 mph blowing snow and -5F temps mirrored the struggles it takes to squeeze all the juice from life. Nature teaches us to appreciate every moment.

As 2017 opens up I’m incredibly thankful to have spent the first day of it in one of the most beautiful spots this vast country has to offer.

So wake up early! Walk a few miles. Watch a sunrise. Surround yourself with the beauty of your world around you. Away from cars, buildings, cities, technology. Find yourself in the moment experiencing every snowflake, breeze, and each tinge of color in the morning sky.

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Skipping around neighboring Sprague Lake

Feel alive.

Happy Adventurous New Year!

-Fox

 

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Adventure, travel, and the outdoors

17 Thoughts on “Solitude at Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park”

  • Now there’s dedication!

    I’ve got a National Parks passport and I collect stamps from all the US parks and historic places I visit in my travels. Turns out there’s a bunch of them and hunting down stamps takes me to places I would never have otherwise gotten to. The cliff dwellings at Walnut Creek, for example.

    • Pete,

      That’s so cool! I’ve seen the passports and follow a few people on Instagram who are involved with National Park Geeks. I think it’s great that you’ve gotten to explore places you’d otherwise skip over. I’d love to spend more time in national parks, but their dog policy makes things difficult. It’s hard for me to go out into the wilderness and not bring my best friend! However, I’m determined to make more of an effort this year. Happy collecting! 🙂

  • Oh wow, I’m so jealous of this scenery. Lake Haiyaha looks like something out of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”! I’m glad you found some peace there. Sometimes all it takes is a little time away from our man made world to remember why we are alive!

  • Ahh after living in Arizona, the sight of that much snow makes me cringe. RMNP surely is beautiful though. I was there once and had an amazing time!

  • What a beautiful, scenic place! The ice-capped mountains and forest of pine trees in the National Park are remarkable. We would love to hike and camp here.

    Just looking at the thick layer of snow makes us shiver; it must have been really cold. But we are looking forward to that considering that we are living in a tropical country where the sun continually burns the landscape.

    • Thank you! Rocky Mountain National Park is so iconic to Colorado. I’ve seen it during many different seasons and this trip was by far my favorite. I used to be the kind of person that was ALWAYS cold – and when I’m in my street clothes in the city I still am, but this year I invested in good winter gear and wow what a difference it has made! Don’t get me wrong though – I’ve lived in a tropical country too and there are days where I’d love to just sit in the heat haha.

  • Off season travel is just the best. I couldn’t imagine a better way to usher in 2017. That photo with the sunlight glinting over the mountains is magical. Good to know its still possible to find solitude

  • What a unique way to see in the new year! This place looks beautiful, and what a treat to get it almost all to yourselves! I love it when that happens although I’m not an early riser myself so it’s very rare for me!

  • Rocky Mountain National Park looks like a great place to visit. I’m an avid hiker and love learning about new destinations. I love your photos with the snow-covered mountains.

  • haha definitely looks like there were lots of opportunity for solitude! Not sure I could do it but its quite a romantic idea. Being on your own.

  • Love the piece and love your connect with the New Year and connecting your hiking to conquering obstacles in life. It looks breath taking and I give you so much credit for getting up early and hiking in the cold. Kudos to you!

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