Friday, September 12, 2008
Alberta Falls at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
On this trip to the park we visited the Bear Lake area. On the way there, we saw a black bear walking parallel to the road for a short distance, and then dart into the forest. We have been to the park many times and this was the first bear that we have spotted. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my camera positioned fast enough for a photo.
Instead of walking around Bear Lake, we decided to take the trail to Alberta Falls. While all of Rocky Mountain National Park is well worth visiting, this area is particularly beautiful. The trail leading to the Falls from Bear Lake, is almost too pretty to be natural. Ferns, aspens and rock formations line the trail.
About 10 minutes into the hike, we saw a bull elk and three females (cows) next to the trail. The bull was no more than forty feet from us and the cows were closer.
Fall is rutting season for the bulls, and this one was attempting to prove how tough he was by tearing up some small trees and making loud noises (bugling). It was quite impressive.
After about ten minutes the cows took off, leaving the bull, who finally decided to cross the trail and move on. Why he went in a different direction than the cows, only he knows.
The falls are very pretty. They can be reached easier than from Bear Lake, but the hike from Bear Lake is a trip worth taking. It is about about a 30 minute walk to the Falls from the lake - a good bit longer if you stop to view wildlife. The trip there is mostly downhill, back - you guessed it. The high altitude can make it seem a lot longer if you're not accustomed to high altitude hiking.