Although in the last month I have re-done a number of amazing hikes, I’ve already covered those in previous blog posts (Check out Horsetooth Falls and Arthurs Rock!). My latest (and now favorite) hike of them all is Grey Rock, located in Laporte, Colorado.
This hike was about a twenty minute drive from my apartment, but unfortunately, the trailhead I mapped out was not the correct one. It was 4:30 am when I left, and going into the mountains at that time means absolutely no light. The trailhead I was led to had closed gates, and since I didn’t want a trespassing ticket, I headed further into the mountains in search of phone service. There is literally no service at 90% of places throughout the mountains, but if I could get some I would be able to map out a route to a new trailhead.
Whether it be fate, or getting lost in the right direction, I found the actual trailhead for Grey Rock about 7 minutes further down the road, and an open (and free!) parking lot. It was great–and proved that I didn’t get up at four in the morning for nothing. No way did I want to turn back at that point, so you can imagine my excitement when I found the real trailhead.
I wish I could tell you what the first half of the hike looked like–but walking in the middle of the forest, with only flashlights on the path in front of you at five in the morning, kind of neglects you of that courtesy. But don’t worry!
By around 6:15, I could see light peaking up over the edges of the trees and hills that surrounded us. We began to turn our flashlights off as time went on, until we were completely in light around 6:45 am. Our goal was to reach the summit of Grey Rock around sunrise (6:50 am), but we weren’t to the top until about 7:15 am.
It will take you about an hour and a half to two hours to reach the summit–keep that in mind for sunrise or sunset hikes.
So, I have to say that the view was amazing, breathtaking, awesome. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was my favorite hike by far. Whether that be that I couldn’t see all the elevation gain I was doing in the dark, or the summit’s outlook, or the whole feel of the hike itself–it made it all absolutely worth it.
On the way down, I got to see what we actually had accomplished on the way up. The hike started on a rocky dirt path, intertwining between a stream, and a majority of the time was spent on this type of trail (about one hour). Then, the path becomes more elevated, leading you to a false summit, where you then can view the actual Grey Rock in its entirety.
Following the trail and eventual cairns, you are rock climbing to the very end. This last half mile is difficult and I suggest breaking often, as well as constantly checking that you are going in the right direction (as one wrong move might lead you off a cliff). The view is spectacular. I mean, I’ve been on top of plenty of mountains, but this one was my favorite.
I can’t wait to go back–and I hope to do that very soon!
Some tips: Bring plenty of water, bring sturdy hiking boots or shoes (that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty), bring your camera, and bring your friends!
As always, safe and happy hiking.