What you need to know to hike Park County, Colorado!

If you can walk, you can hike. Hiking is just like walking, except you do it with a good deal more of mindfulness and you do it out in the wilderness. You soak in the sounds and the scenery of nature while you get yourself into better shape at a pace and at a level of difficulty of your own choosing. Out here in Park County, right at the heart of the Rockies, hiking is an important part of our way of life. And here on this site, I will be sharing some stories about my own hikes, ranging from the easy riverside strolls to those tough high-country bushwhacks. I hope you enjoy the pictures and stories even half as much as I enjoyed the hikes, and that you’re encouraged to take your own.

Once you do decide to join me in my outdoor treks across Park County, here are a few friendly reminders to help you get started, especially if you are still a newbie to hiking:

Make a Plan and Stick to it
Spontaneity is fine but out there in the open, in an area known for its rugged terrain and extreme weather, it may be unwise to wander about aimlessly and unprepared. If this is your first time, better start slow. Don’t set yourself up immediately for an eight-hour climb. Remember that you can always come back for more some other day. Pick a trail that has already been mapped and tell others where you intend to go. In case you get lost in the woods, at least they know where to start looking for you. Also decide how long you intend to be gone. Do you intend to hike for just a couple of hours or do you plan to have an overnight trip to the great outdoors? Tell others so they will know when they should start looking for you in case you don’t get back.
Dress Sensibly and Comfortably
For your Park County hike, you’ll need a sturdy pair of hiking boots or walking shoes for off-road terrain. Make sure you break them in gradually by wearing them around for some time before you actually take to the road. Put on a good pair of socks to protect your feet from blisters. Here at the Rockies, it’s better to wear too much than too little. You’ll want to wear or carry clothes that will protect you from rain, winds, and a sudden drop in temperature. Dress yourself in several thin layers which you can strip off when it gets too warm and put back on when it gets too cold. Use a soft material that absorbs sweat for the layer next to your skin and a light windbreaker for your outer layer. Even if it doesn’t look like rain, it’s best to come equipped with rain gear like a large, folding poncho for protection. Wear a hat, preferably one with a wide brim, to protect your face and your neck from the sun.

Bring a Backpack of Essentials
Even if you’d be out for just a couple of hours, it may be a good idea to pack in some spare clothing, a fully-charged cell phone   (keeping in mind that there isn’t much coverage away from main highways), a GPS, a map of the area, sunglasses, a utility knife, a bottle or two of drinking water, enough food, some insect repellant, sunscreen lotion, a first aid kit, toilet paper, zip-lock plastic bags for your trash, maybe even a camera like myself as who knows, you might encounter something wonderful you’d want others to also see. If you plan to trek uphill, better bring along a sturdy rubber-tipped hiking staff.

Don’t Pollute
Don’t leave any trash behind. Leave no trace but your footprints behind. Remember, as hikers, we are only passing through. Respect the wildlife. Avoid changing the natural environment by resisting the urge to pick up things no matter how interesting. Be considerate to your fellow hikers.

Welcome. I’m John, and if you want to know more about hiking in Park County, you can always contact me 

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