Another advantage of the Colorado 7 route is that you approach the park from the south. You get some very nice views of the Longs Peak massiff.
As we came down into Allens Park there was a scenic overlook, so we decided to stop and take some pictures. The image at left was taken from here.
We were about ten miles southeast of the summit at this point. The picture shows Mount Meeker (13,911ft) and the Meeker Ridge. The summit of Longs Peak
is behind this.|
On the south side of the road is a cut that shows a very interesting intrusion of white, flaky rock. I have no idea what this is, but I will try to find out.
We continued on north along the border of the park and stopped a couple of miles south of Lily Lake to take some more pictures from the east
side of Longs Peak. At this point we were about 6.5 miles east-northeast of the summit. This side of the mountain is much more spectacular. The cirques were
carved by glaciers about 20,000 years ago, during the last ice age. You can see the remnants of the Mills Glacier in the center of the image. Longs Peak is the
summit on the right. This is 14,251ft. Mount Meeker is on the left. It is very difficult to get a perspective from this far away and many features are not visible from this far
below. The next time we go up here, we should hike up the Twin Sisters (directly behind me as I was shooting this) and take some other pictures. Chasm Lake
is below the glacier, hidden by a ridge. There is a trail to the top of Longs Peak that runs up the northwest side, saving you the trouble of climbing
the cliffs shown in this view. |
The Mills Glacier is named for Enos Mills who opened a lodge near this spot in the early 1900's. He was also a conservationist, and is known to many as the father of Rocky Mountain National Park.
We went further up the road and stopped at the Lily Lake Visitors Center. They have many books and other stuff as well as a number of displays regarding
the history of this corner of the park. I got a mineral book, a geologic map of the park, and a Delorme Atlas of Colorado. The atlas is made up of USGS topographic
maps of the state. They make
these for all the states and they are very useful as all the back roads are shown. The one for Colorado is not as detailed as it might be because the state is so big. I have
an atlas of Vermont that shows much better detail. Be that as it may, this was very useful to us as we continued our trek.