Colorado River Headwaters Hike to Lulu City



Lulu City Colorado River Valley (photo courtesy of Denver Public

July is a great month to hike to the old town of Lulu City in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It follows the Colorado River to its headwaters and is open year round. The 7.6 mile roundtrip hike has a 350 foot elevation gain and starts at 9010 feet (2746 meters).  Meadows, stream crossings and wildlife viewing are abundant. The trail is thickly forested with a few spots to view mountains.  

The town of Lulu city was founded in 1879 in response to the gold and silver rush in Colorado.  Log cabins, a general store, 2 lumber mills, saloons, a hotel and of course a brothel, comprised it.  The Stagecoach arrived three days a week from Fort Collins.

Some of the cabin remains are still visible (if you venture off-trail), but not many.  Shipler Cabins part way up are very popular.  On my way up I saw a hiker coming down the trail with a large piece of wood he said was part of one of the old cabins.

The town didn’t last much past 1884 as the silver ore extracted was of low quality and the transportation issues in the winter were immense.

 You can start the hike just past the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park at the Colorado River Trailhead, see maps below:


Lulu City Route Map from Colorado River Trailhead


Map Link:

Shiplers Cabins are part of the way up. Those who are not adjusted to the altitude often stop here to rest in the nearby meadow or turn back.


Old Cabins are Located Near the Trail

Fork in the Trail – Trail to the right goes to Little Yellowstone

View of the Never Summer Mountains from the Trail

Lulu City 1879-1884 Population 200

Current Site of the old Lulu City


Headwaters of the Colorado River


Summer Hike to the Wet and Wild

Cascade Falls is a 7 mile roundtrip easy to moderate hike with several places to see deer, moose and elk. I didn’t have my camera with me the first time when I saw a moose, 2 deer and a marmot. The next time I photographed a few spots along the trail. It’s a wonderful shady walk in the forest and you can hear the falls way before you see them.

 They aren’t waterfalls exactly, but more a river rushing over huge boulders with switchbacks. You pass over cliffs towards the end above the falls with steep drop offs. The trail continues past the falls up to a large meadow – great stop to rest.




Continental Divide Wildlife and Nature Photos

Moose Portrait

The Continental Divide Trail runs within a mile from where I live here in Colorado.  Here’s a collection of photos I took near the trail. I’m still working on the goshawk, osprey, and fox photos. More to come in the coming months.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird


Hummingbird on Nest


Broad-tailed Hummingbird Nest




Canada Geese






Lichen on Fir


Lichen on Granite




Wild Rosebud


Wild Rose


Continental Divide Trail

Ski Slopes and Vistas

Copper Mountain looking toward the village

The sport of skiing brings different experiences to everyone who partakes in it. It’s fun and easy to escape from the crowds and noise to an uncrowded slope with a vista.  In Colorado more than 36% of the land in the state is government land with the ski areas leasing many acres of it. I enjoy “getting away from it all” as a skier. Although I am a fan of wild landscapes, not touched by humans – ski areas offer a different perspective beautiful in its own way.  Above is the vista from a slope at Copper Mountain looking toward the village.

Photographing scenery when skiing is another matter. Taking ski photos can be a challenge if you are not in a helicopter or airplane. Sometimes the best photos I get are taken in zero degree weather. Often, I hate to stop and get a photo to preserve a scene ~ I’d rather zoom down the trail! The photo below was taken at Ajax at Aspen on a steep incline. Just trying to hold the camera steady was a feat.

Ajax Mountain Aspen

 If you’re on vacation with only a day or two for shooting, then a day of flat light will have to do and your photos could suffer. Or, even a run down a black mogul trail through the trees as shown below may only show the top and the bottom and never the steep and deep in between ~ Who would want to stop?

Eagle Wind

Top of Black Coal Trail

Bottom of Black Coal

Vasquez Cirque from the Eagle Wind Lift

Mary Jane vista

Parsenne Bowl


Copper Mountain

Winter Park - Mary Jane

Winter Park