Summit County is a playground for those who love the outdoors. In the winter there are plentiful ski resorts and in the summer, this part of the Rocky Mountains provides every type of outdoor activity from kayaking to hikes.
The proximity to the Front Range means trails can get busy, so I recommend getting out early and following all rules. If the sign says leash fido, leash your dog. If campfires are banned due to forest fire threats, do not light a fire. We all want to continue to use these mountains, so be good.
I grew up hiking in the backcountry around Mt. Rainier in Washington State. Therefore, hiking is not a foreign activity to me. Lately, however, I am more likely to take a two-hour walk in the mountains rather than a six hour grueling uphill climb with a heavy pack on my back.
These small hikes are a way to connect with nature even if your time is short or your legs are a little out of hiking shape.
We stayed in Frisco, Colorado, this past weekend. Upon getting into the area, we visited Sapphire Point Overlook, along Swan Mountain Road. It’s less than 10 minutes from Frisco on the way to Keystone. This loop trail is just 0.6 miles long but provides magnificent views of Lake Dillon and the mountainous countryside.
Honestly, this hike is super popular and it’s a little difficult to get good pictures at the main lookout, but don’t worry, more good scenery awaits those who take the loop.
In the heat of the day, this was as much hiking as Fritzi, our two-year old German Shepherd needed. After the drive up, walking around Frisco, lunch and this little hike, she was done. We were staying at Frisco Inn on Galena, not a dog-friendly property.
Our boarding facility was full so we were taking her to The Dog Chalet in Dillon. Thankfully, she had a good time there and was deemed “super sweet” by the staff (proud dog mom moment). By the way, Dillon and Frisco are just minutes apart in Summit County.
This second hike we set out on was a little longer. It was our last day in Frisco, and because the trailhead was so close to our hotel (five minutes) we went before we picked up Fritzi from The Dog Chalet.
The hike to Rainbow Lake from the Second Avenue trailhead is easy and beautiful. We set out around 8:30 a.m. and while the trailhead parking lot was nearly full, we only saw one other couple on the trail into the lake.
This is a good time to be in the mountains because it is so very verdant. There is also lots of water running alongside and under the trail. I hadn’t been in this type of environment for a long time so it seemed particularly lovely.
On the way back, we saw a lot of people and dogs on the trail. This reaffirms my opinion that getting to a trailhead early is the way to go. We weren’t that early, but the hike in was hugely different than the hike out. Also, it was a reminder that this trail is super easy, as we were passed by a lot of toddlers happily toddling along beside their parents.
There are other, much longer trails that merge here at this trailhead so avid hikers can research longer hikes.
Thank you to Visit Frisco, Colorado, for hosting us on this trip.