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434 Lily Mountain 2011-07-09

Lily Mountain Summit

Finally, my partner and wife, Amy, joined me in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. She is here; but things are a little bit different... she has a genuine, hurt foot. It's not broken, she probably wishes it was - instead, she has plantar fasciitus and a more serious heel padding issue. The doctors gave her a special soft shell boot that keeps her from weighting her heel. She is still ready to try a hike.

Lily Mountain sits on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. Lily Lake which is at the bottom of the mountain, is in the National Park, Lily Mountain is National Forest Land. The Park Service does not allow dogs on trails in the Park but the Forest Service allows dogs on (most) trails. The Lily Mountain Trail is popular because it is very scenic and because dogs are allowed on the trail.

I had never hiked the trail before.

After a late start, Amy was still trying to find where I hid things, we parked at Lily Lake and walked down Highway 7 toward the trailhead. Originally, we planned to hike the trail to the top and then scramble back to the Lake and our vehicle; but regardless walking down the road was not a great idea.

From the trailhead, the trail traverses over a mile to the north ridge of the mountain. The trail passes the tops of many scenic overlooks and rocky outcrops which, for climbers, spark additional interests. Though the trail stays at about the same elevation, it is hardly ever not going up or down, as it goes rolling along.

After the long traverse, the trail climbs near the north ridge to the top. It is fairly steep but there are plenty of scenic diversions and reasons to take breaks. Near the summit, the trail ends and the hiker must look for cairns (rocks stacked) to find the easiest path as they scramble over rock. The scrambling sections are short and not exposed.


Amy on the Lily Mountain Trail


Amy made it to the top wearing her boot; but the 'made for walking around on carpet - boot' took a beating. She changed into a mountaineering boot for the descent.

Lily Mountain is a good 4 mile (round trip) hike and is especially worthy if you have a dog. We thought it was very similar to the popular Gem Lake Trail in the Park and you can bring your dog. Woof!

A few Lily Mountain notes ...

There are no facilities at the trailhead, which is located on the side of Highway 7.

Restrooms are available at Lily Lake.

Parking is along Highway 7, a very busy road.

The trail traverses much further north than it seemed like it should have. We kept thinking it was going to start climbing; but it never did until it reached the north ridge.

On the summit we met one man from Texas and then a couple from Texas also. The couple was extremely nice and went out of their way to help Amy (and me). We'll give one big point for Texas.

Dogs are allowed on the trail. One couple had their Great Dane and two small white dogs. When I passed the man, he was helping the massive Great Dane off of a six foot ledge of one of the rock overlooks - I can only imagine the effort to get him up there.

We found a phone on the trail near the trailhead. We discussed it between us as to what to do. After seeing that the battery was still fresh, we decided to leave it on an obvious rock for the owner, who was probably hiking the trail above us. In a short while we met a hiker and asked if she had lost a phone. Sure enough it was hers. We told her where we had left it. We saw her again near the top of the mountain. She had looked everywhere for her phone and had not found it. Another group of hikers had decided to pick up the phone and had it with them. The woman had a great workout, going up the mountain twice. A tidbit of advice, If you lose something, ask everyone you see if they have seen it.

Amy thought it was very hard to walk in her regular boots after walking in the special no heel impact boot. Her muscles were going to be sore!

Happy Lily Mountain Trails


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