Fatman’s Favorites: Hikes

Wow, choosing my favorite hikes for the year is a challenge. It is a bit like picking a favorite child I would assume. I went on so many amazing hikes this year and each one had special moments. Even the ones I didn’t absolutely love had at least some redeemable quality.

What I really look for on a hike is that “Oh My!” moment. That is the moment in which the view just stops you in your tracks. What I don’t really love is the hike that is just hard for the sake of hard. I don’t mind working for a great view. I don’t want to just work out for working out sake!!!

Here are my top 10 favorite hikes of 2020.

#10. Mt. Sniktau

Mt. Snitau was a personal goal of mine. I am not really sure why it became my Everest but it did. I picked it at random one day and tried it and failed. Then I tried again but the weather was bad and I turned around. So when I finally finished it the sense of personal accomplishment was tremendous.

Sniktau is hard. The hardest part is the first part that I dubbed “Heart attack Hill” because each step felt like I was having a heart attack! It was a long slow process to get done with that first hill but once I did the views were amazing and the rest of the hike was pretty easy.

I spent more time at the top of Sniktau than any other hike that I finished. Really just taking it all in and feeling really good about being able to tackle such a mental and physical challenge.

#9. Ben Tyler Trail

The Ben Tyler Trail was my first really long hike and steep hike. It measured in at 13.6 miles and 3,419 feet of elevation. I was moving for a crazy 7 hours and 11 minutes and almost broke me. That ranks it #1 in most elevation and #2 on moving time.

I also tackled this one pretty early in my hiking year. For the first time I really felt that I could do this and take on some of the more difficult challenges that were out there. I also learned that I needed better shoes and a better backpack!

#8. Mount Royal

Mount Royal makes the list as my first all snow hike. It wasn’t deep enough to require snow shoes but I definitely had the spikes working on the trail. Located in Frisco, it was one of those hikes that made you work for it. It is steep but each step seems to get another great view.

The snow really made this hike memorable but the views of the Frisco and Breckenridge area were spectacular. If it wasn’t so dang cold I would have stayed up on this mountain for hours.

#7. Chicago Lakes

The Chicago Lakes hike would rank a bit higher if it wasn’t so dang hard. There are some amazing views on this hike and you pass by several lakes. You also spend plenty of time in the Mt. Evans Wilderness.

Not only is the hike long, it was extremely muddy on the day I went. My feet were sinking and slipping all over the place. The higher you go the better the views and the lakes are so you get rewarded the harder you work. Make sure you leave some gas in the tank for the big incline to get back to the finish!

#6. Lion’s Head

Staunton is one of my favorite places in Colorado. I have hiked there more than anywhere else and taken about 50 pictures of Lion’s Head, a rock formation at the edge of the park. Little did I know you could actually hike to the top.

On one of my last trips out there I found my way to the top and it was a special moment for me. Staunton is where I have really been able to test my growth. Starting out I felt like I would need a medivac just to get half way to Lion’s Head.

So when I sat on the top of the peak it felt like I had really come full circle.

#5. Mohawk Lakes

What a great hike. Several lakes, deep forest, rocks to walk on, waterfalls. The Mohawk Lake hike really had a little bit of everything. One of the nice parts was how segmented the hike was. Every time the mind started to wander, the trail brought you back with a new feature.

The day that I went was a cold foggy day that gave the hike a surreal feel. Fog sitting over lakes around 12,000 feet up is special and so was this hike.

#4. Herman’s Gulch

Herman’s Gulch was the first hike that I really felt like I got into the mountains. I spent most of the first few months trolling around the shorter hikes of the front range. My friend and hiking mentor Scott talked me into trying Herman’s Gulch.

Herman’s Gulch was the perfect combination of a really steep start, a long flatter middle section, and a really steep ending. It all concludes in my a stunning alpine lake. The middle section was one of the nicest places that I have hiked all year.

I really had to work and wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the lake but was very happy that I did!

#3. Lake Isabelle

Really all of the Brainard Lake hikes could be on this list but I went with Lake Isabelle because it was my first time up there. Several people suggested this hike and I had a great time. The hike is moderately hard depending on how far you make it.

The lakes are the best part but a steady diet of waterfalls add to the beauty of the entire hike. It was one of the first hikes I did where I just couldn’t stop walking. I knew that each step would take me somewhere more beautiful than the last. At one point I ended up on a snow patch and had no real idea how I got there. It is a great hike in a great area.

#2. Twin Sisters

Twin Sisters was a special hike for me as it was where I completed my 52 Hike Challenge. The 52 Hike Challenge really helped me stay motivated and hiking. Every time I thought of quitting I decided to keep going because I knew I had to finish this challenge.

My friend Scott makes another cameo as he picked Twin Sisters for the hike. It was also my first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park on the year. The hike was great as it ran across from Longs Peak and provided great views throughout.

#1 Silver Dollar Lake

Drumroll please….. My Favorite hike of 2020 was Silver Dollar Lake! The Silver Dollar Lake hike has a series of alpine lakes that feed into each other through a series of small streams. There is plenty of hiking in the woods and the lakes and mountains and is really just a beautiful plot of land.

What makes it my favorite hike is that it isn’t that long compared to what you get to see. The trail is only about six and half miles and 1500 feet of elevation. The hardest part of the hike is getting up the access road at the beginning.

After the road you are just surrounded by some of the best scenery Colorado has to offer!

So there it is. The Fatman Top 10 hikes for 2020. For a look at all of the hikes I have tried make sure to check out my Hikes page. I will have more “Fatman Favorites” this week so make sure you check back. If you want to see all of year enders they are located on my Thoughts page.

If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. You can also follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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