Denver & Colorado

I live in and LOVE Denver. As much as I enjoy traveling, I am so happy to call Denver home. There is always something to do in this city! From racing to restaurants, there’s something here for everyone.

Here, you’ll find posts about my favorite things to do in Denver/Colorado.

Red Rocks: Workouts / Film on the Rocks

2011 Denver Out of the Darkness Walk

Bike Riding on the Cherry Creek Path

A Bachelorette Weekend in Vail

Denver Patio Ride

Canvas & Cocktails, Girls Night at Canvas and Cocktails!

Tease Studio (Pole fitness class!)

Bella Glass Studios

First Fridays: True Love Shoes  & Infinite Monkey Theorem

Indoor Skydiving

Yelp! Denver Events: Monster MashUp, Elite Event at Capital Grille

Rugby Games at Infinity Park

Gun Safety Class at Cherry Creek State Park

Get Out and PLAY! Colorado is one giant playground for people who love to be active and explore. 

Coloradocation (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

Glacading at St. Mary’s Glacier

Birthdaycation in Breckenridge! (part 1, part 2)

Learning to Winter Camp (part 1)

Denver Eats! There is no shortage of great food in this city.

Izakaya Den Sushi

India Oven

Banzai Sushi

Bull And Bush

Dining Out Paleo: Chipotle, HBurger, Garbanzo

Euclid Hall

Trip Report: Mt. Bancroft East Ridge

Back in June, I skipped out on my Routefinding field day with my Basic Mountaineering School class. I had a flight for a business trip that night and made the choice to stay home instead of participating. I knew I’d need to make up the trip in order to graduate and this past Saturday was makeup field day.

Our objective was to summit Mt. Bancroft, a nearby 13er, via the East Ridge route. Bancroft sits at 13,250 and the East Ridge is an interesting scramble, much like Kelso Ridge without the knife edge. In June, too much snow on Bancroft meant the team snow climbed up a gully to the summit but in late September, we enjoyed a beautifully rocky East Ridge.

Mindy and I carpooled from Denver and met our other 4 members at Loch Lomond, a lake at the base of Bancroft where the team camped. A note to other non-high clearance vehicles: The dirt road to Loch Lomond is very rocky! It was do-able for my Subaru Outback for about 1+ miles before I found a pull off and parked; we hiked the remaining 1.5 miles to the lake.

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

Just after 7:30 a.m., we met our team, threw on our packs and headed up the mountain to gain the ridge we would follow to the summit of Bancroft. Because this was a student-led trip and I was technically the only student (the others had graduated), I was responsible for route finding. Instead of taking the trail to the southeast of the trailhead, I opted for the direct route…straight up. We bushwhacked through literal bushes and ~.25 mile and 600 vertical feet later, we were on the ridge.

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

And then….the scrambling began. Holy moly did we scramble!

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

It was mostly class 3/3+ scrambling that was very doable. Nothing too exposed and hand/foot holds were ‘bomber’, in climber lingo. We scrambled until we hit the infamous notch.

At the notch, climbers must rappel 80+ feet and then climb a 30+ foot headwall on the other side. There are a few obvious places to build a rap station as webbing from previous climbers has been left on boulders. We built our rap station and sent the team down, one by one. Note to future climbers: beware of loose rock on the rappel and at the base of the rappel. Lots of chossy, flakey rock. Also note that once you start the rappel, you have no bailout option except to finish the route so be sure you have time and energy to press on!

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

On the other side, Sylvia lead climbed the headwall and belayed the rest of us from above. It was a short 5.2 climb with plenty of holds but, again, be sure to check the rock first.

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

The rappel and headwall climb are definitely the crux of this route but most trip reports I read failed to mention the additional, exposed class 4 scrambling after the notch. Note to future climbers: way more scrambling ahead!

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

The next section of scrambling was a bit more intense – definitely class 4 as we climbed along the top of the ridge. Without a cloud in the sky, we took our time and carefully moved across the ridge. Three or four false summits later (I lost count), we came out of the rocky scramble section and finally reached the grassy, ‘mellow’ hike to the summit that I’d read about online.

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

And then, the summit! We did it!

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

To return to the trailhead, we followed the southeastern ridge back to Loch Lomond. It was full of boulder and talus fields because what’s the fun in an easy, mellow hike out?!

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

In total, our hike was 5.5 miles from trailhead to trailhead (does not include the 1.5 mile hike to Loch Lomond) and took us 7.5+ hours.

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

lgsmash-created caltopo map or our route

actual garmin stats of our route

actual garmin stats of our route

Mt. Bancroft Trip Report // lgsmash.com

Looking back on the East Ridge route

Overall, I really enjoyed this climb. Definitely, more experienced climbers will move on the East Ridge much quicker than we did but with big blue skies and no threat of storms, we took our time and enjoyed the spectacular September day. This is what living in Colorado is all about!

I couldn’t help but notice how much I’d grown as a mountaineer on the East Ridge…where I would have been close to tears and battling with my mind to stay focused on the task at hand (and not jump to worst case death scenarios) in previous field days, I remained calm and steady. Not once did I feel panicked or anxious – just mentally and physically exhausted. I felt truly proud of myself and enjoyed every sip of my post-climb celebratory beer.

Urban Trail Running: The Bluffs Regional Park

This little surprise trail in urban Highlands Ranch, Colorado, became an immediate favorite for me. Unfortunately for me, I found it far too late! As I start a new job in Downtown Denver today, this trail is too far of a drive for me to utilize regularly. Sad panda.

The Bluffs Regional Park // lgsmash.com

The Bluffs Regional Park is a hidden trail, tucked behind a shopping center and smack-dab in the middle of neighborhood homes. It’s hilly and surprisingly tranquil, given its location. I learned about The Bluffs one winter night when I ran with the Lone Tree Runner’s Roost run club – they’d mentioned that because it was icy, we would run on the nearby sidewalks instead of the trails at The Bluffs. I made a mental note to check out the trail in the spring time. Fast forward to Kristen inviting me the Lone Tree Runner’s Roost for run club where we ran – you guessed it! – The Bluffs.

From the Lone Tree Runner’s Roost, it’s a 4 mile run to and around the park. From the parking lot, it’s a 2.5 mile loop.

The Bluffs Regional Park // lgsmash.com

The 2.5 mile loop is hilly with a few sections of flat on a packed dirt trail. There are no trees and no shade so plan accordingly – lots of sunscreen, a hat and extra water!

The Bluffs Regional Park // lgsmash.com

The Bluffs Regional Park // lgsmash.com

This is a popular trail but it’s never felt overcrowded to me. I’ve run in the mornings before work and in the evenings after work. You’ll encounter runners, walkers with pups, mountain bikers…and snakes on occasion. I’ve only (literally) run into a snake once – it wasn’t a rattler and it wasn’t very big but it was an immediate reminder to keep my eyes on the ground ahead of me.

My favorite part of The Bluffs is how close it was to my work (5 minutes!) and how stepping on to the trail leaves the city noise behind. The view of the front range isn’t too shabby either.

Solo or with friends, give this trail a shot if you’re looking for an easy loop in south Denver without wanting to drive too far.