Mileage: 3.6 roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 606 feet
Altitude: 9,400 feet at the meadow
To get there: From Grand Lake, follow signs to Rocky Mountain National Park. Follow the main park road to the Green Mountain Trailhead.
As we start into the shaded woods at the Green Mountain Trailhead, I am savoring the quintessential mountain-winter quiet. After just a few snowshoeing trips in Rocky Mountain National Park I am convinced that it’s one of the most peaceful places you can spend a day in the wintertime. I can hear the crunch of my own snowshoes and an occasional thump as snow falls off the trees and hits the ground. In a breeze that we can’t even feel, the snow is blowing off the pine trees and sparkling in the patches of sunlight. This bit of beauty alone is enough to make me glad that we chose to come here instead of heading for the hustle bustle of Winter Park Resort to snowboard.
After being cooped up inside with a cold for what felt like an eternity (it was about a week), a slow, quiet walk in the woods is just what I need. It is one of those days that Alex and I are together but each in our own zone as we go along, keeping whatever thoughts we have to ourselves. We have no obligations today, so we dawdle to the meadow. Once the woods open up into the big meadow, we have views of Mt. Ida, with its long, slanting ridgeline. The snow on the meadow is disturbed only by a single track made by Nordic skiers and snowshoers, and the dotted footprints of an animal much more delicate than humans. We pass a lone Nordic skier heading back toward the trailhead and we settle on a berm of frozen grass to have winter picnic: PB&J with coffee and Irish cream. I mention that we’ll have to come back here in the summer and sun soak in our own private patch of the sprawling meadow; it seems like the perfect place for such a thing. Even with all the winter recreation in Grand County I miss basking in the mountain summer sun for hours, and I get excited when I find a place I would love to come back to when the seasons change.
Hiking information from ‘Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park’ by Kent and Donna Danne