During a recent visit to Colorado, my husband and I drove the beautiful Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. The highest continuous paved road in the United States, it reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet. At 11,796 feet, we stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center, the highest visitor center in the National Park System. From there, my husband decided to hike the Alpine Ridge Trail. Because of the thin air, I could hardly handle walking across the parking lot, let alone, hiking up another 200 feet in elevation so I handed my camera to my husband while I shopped at the gift shop.
The following is a description of the trail from Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails.com.
The Alpine Ridge Trail begins from the far end of the parking area for the Alpine Visitor Center atop Trail Ridge Road. Although a very short hike, the trail is fairly steep, gaining more than 200 feet in just three-tenths of a mile. Combine this with being situated at an elevation of 12,000 feet and it’s no wonder that it’s earned the nickname of ‘Huffers Hill’.
The entire route travels across alpine tundra. Through years of overuse the condition of the trail had significantly deteriorated, which resulted in erosion and concerns on the impacts to the fragile tundra. In 2010 the park closed the trail for major reconstruction, which included paving the entire path. Due to the steepness of the terrain trail crews had to build almost 225 steps in order for visitors to reach the top of the mountain. This multi-year project wasn’t completed until 2013.
For my husband, hiking the trail was not an easy feat. Because of the thin air, he could only go about 20 feet and then he had to stop to catch his breath and let the pounding of his heart subside. But he was determined in his quest to reach the top. My husband has a knack for capturing beauty in his photos. Take a look at the fluffy clouds, blue sky, and the alpine tundra with amazing mountain views.