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Boulder Brook Blog

Climb and Hike with Professional Mountain Guides

Join the Professional Mountain Guides at Colorado Mountain School for an exceptional guided outdoor experience.  No matter your age, background, or fitness level, there’s a perfect hike or climb for you!  You can experience Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, Guide Training, Avalanche Education, Ski Mountaineering, or Ice Climbing!  Whether a novice or a seasoned alpinist, Colorado Mountain School guides will provide the educational and fun experience that you and your group or family are seeking.


Half Day Fun Hikes and Climbs introduce you to the beautiful trails and classic climbs in Rocky. These outings are ideal for beginners: the only requirements are a willingness to try something new and sense of adventure!  Estes Park Half Day Hikes or Climbs are offered three times each week on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8a – 12p. The fee is $90 per participant.


If you are aiming higher, you can climb Longs Peak with the experts. As the sole concessionaire for technical climbing in RMNP, the guides at Colorado Mountain School are the experts on Longs Peak.  Join them on any route, including the popular Keyhole, the historic Cables route, or even climb the awe-inspiring Diamond.


You can even hire a private guide for rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, or skiing when it works best for you.  CMS offers private guiding every day of the year!  If you would like to cover the curriculum from a certain course but can’t make the course date, or if you have your own objective in mind, CMS will customize your experience. Custom private guiding allows you to do what you want to do when you want to do it.


Why choose CMS?  Their trained guides can introduce you to the world-class, vertical environments and backcountry of the Front Range. CMS guides provide unforgettable climbing experiences, and enable you to progress to new levels of adventure. All CMS Guides are American Mountain Guide Association trained and/or certified, First Aid and CPR certified and Wilderness First Responder certified. Read more about what sets them apart and get to know their guides at or call Colorado Mountain School 800-836-4008 for more information or to book your special mountain experience.



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Spring Wildlife Advice from CPW

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds us to be aware of ourselves, our behavior and our proximity to wild animals and their newborns.  We love them and they are amazing and incredibly delicate and beautiful. We quite naturally desire to connect with nature – often by getting up close, by touching with our hands or by feeding with inappropriate and sometimes deadly foods – all of which are dangerous and harmful behaviors.


Never feed wildlife! Remember, feeding wildlife is illegal and has been since 1992. Game animals – Elk, Deer, Big Horn Sheep, Pronghorns – are ungulates with complex four-chambered stomachs that digest foraged foods via fermentation. Corn and Grain are toxic to ruminants! So far, in May of this year, one bighorn Ram and three deer were found dead as the result of human feeding.  Feeding wildlife does more harm than good.  Be conscientious about your choices – enjoy nature and abundant wild life without feeding or endangering the animals.


Never Intervene with Wild Babies or Their Mothers!  Weather in feathers or in fur, it is very, very rare for a wild mom to abandon her offspring.  It is quite normal for adults animals to leave their babes in safe places while they forage or hunt.


CPW reminds us that baby mammals have no scent so predators can’t find them.   If you are fortunate enough to come upon a little one, look, don’t touch, don’t feed, and don’t get too close.  Chances are good that mom is closer than you think and will smell and see you long before you see her.  This is especially true if you are walking with your dog. Moose, Elk, Deer, and Sheep are extremely sensitive to the presence of dogs (predators!) so keep your pet leashed and quiet so as not to disturb the moms or the babes.  Remember, new moms are jumpy, nervous, easily agitated, some weigh over 600 pounds.  If you are more than noticed, if you are being watched or stared at, if a head is down or a hoof is pawed, you are way too close and probably in danger! Back away. Remember, both furred and feathered little ones are easily terrified and can be frightened to death by human or canine contact.


If you notice a wild babe alone for 24 hours, call the Rangers or Colorado Department of Wildlife, or even the local Police Department who will get in touch with the right Wildlife Responders.  They’ll know how to best handle the situation and the babe so everyone is safe and well.


We love our wildlife friends and visitors. It is always a thrill when the elk come for breakfast or the Big Horns come for snack.  As is best for them, they eat what nature provides.  What’s best for us as stewards of land and nature is to honor and respect, enjoy and protect by being conscientious observers —  aware of ourselves, responsible for our behavior, and respectful of wild life in the beautiful environment around us.

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Trail Ridge Road Open with Night Closures

As of Friday, May 29, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened. Due to heavy melting on the road during the day and freezing temperatures at night, visitors should plan for night closures occurring at 8:00pm until conditions change.  Road crews and rangers will reassess conditions each morning and reopen the road when and if conditions allow.  Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are expected to open soon.


Weather conditions can change rapidly.  Travelers are encouraged to call the park’s Trail Ridge Road recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222 for updates during and after regular office hours.  For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

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Use Caution and The Zoom

Spring is birthing season and wild babies are everywhere!  From now through mid-summer visitors are likely to see young animals that may appear alone in the forest, in backyards, on or near trails (especially close to Lake Estes) or along the sides of roads.  Rest assured, they have not been abandoned. If you see a baby animal, move away quickly. Never get between a mom and her offspring.


If you are a parent, you understand why. An Elk cow will know you are close and both see and smell you long before you see her. The same holds true for Deer and Moose mothers, so do not approach or attempt to get the baby animal to move.  They are safe and secure right where they are and mom is probably a lot closer than you may realize.  As wonderful as calves and fawns and pups and kits are, Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) reminds us not to approach, touch or handle young animals as they are best cared for by their parents.


It seems strange to us that animal “infants” are left alone by their mothers but it is to their advantage and for their benefit. Young elk and deer and moose, for example, carry no scent, blend well in to their surroundings, and learn to stay still, silent and safe while their mothers forage and gain the nutrition they need to recover from birthing and produce milk for the young ones to nurse.


CDW reminds us also to keep our pets leashed and/or under control.  As much as we love them and as domesticated as they are at home, in the woods, dogs and cats are natural predators. Canines and Felines acting on their natural instincts will find young animals, birds and bird eggs, and can attack, kill, or even frighten a babe to death.


Remember – for the benefit and safety of all –  Look. Keep your distance. Use the zoom!

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Digging Out Trail Ridge Road May 2015 Update

access RMNP snow removal crews usually begin plowing Trail Ridge Road in mid April from both east and west sides to meet up near the middle at the Alpine Visitor Center (11,796 feet above sea level).


The annual target for opening the road is Memorial Day Weekend. However, where plow operators normally encounter drifts from 18 to 22 feet, this spring, they have also dealt with fairly consistent freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet, lots of wet and stormy weather with many days of low to no visibility, high wind, drifting snow, and icy road conditions.


Park snowplow operators will continue to plow the road, and it will open as soon as it is safe to do so.  Due to the extended forecast for winter conditions at higher elevations, it is too soon to predict when Trail Ridge Road will be open for the season.  Remember, too, that melting and refreezing snow creates icy road conditions after sundown at higher elevations. Please plan your trip accordingly.


Park staff expect a busy Memorial Day Weekend throughout Rocky Mountain National Park.   Visitors planning to recreate in the park’s backcountry, depending on their destination, should be prepared for a variety of conditions including snow, ice, slush and mud.


For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park Information Office at (970) 586-1206, the Trail Ridge Road status recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222 or check the park’s website at

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Spring into Awareness – Elk and Calving Season

It’s spring! Everything is blooming.  Elk Cows are either heavily pregnant or are recovering from giving birth.  At this tender time, they are hyper-vigilant — irritable, jumpy, and highly protective of their young.


For the first several weeks of their lives, the calves remain hidden while the cows browse and recover much-needed nourishment and strength after birthing.  It is very important to observe from a very safe distance, never get between a cow and her calf, and be respectful of their sensitive condition.


Here are some guidelines for safe wildlife viewing:


Be aware of your surroundings. Remember, Elk see you long before you see them. Awesome Elk Fact: Elk have evolved the ability to detect even the slightest motions.  They can rotate each eye independently and have extreme wide-angle vision so they are able to see to both sides and straight ahead simultaneously. They will detect your presence long before you detect theirs.


Observe trail and detour signs. If a trail or path is closed, choose an alternate.  The bird sanctuary along Lake Estes Trail is a popular “nursery” but Elk can be anywhere.


You are way too close if: an animal is carefully watching you, if her ears are up and her head is down, if she paws the ground or reacts in any way when you move or if she appears “jumpy.”  Never make eye contact with a wild animal. It is received as aggressive, dangerous, or threatening and can trigger aggression. For everyone’s safety, look away and back away.


Keep dogs leashed and quiet. Do not allow them to bark, lunge at or chase wildlife.  Elk frequently cross the roads in and around Lake Estes. Never allow your dog to bark at wildlife from open windows of your vehicle.


Do not block traffic or stop in the middle of the road. “Elk Jams” are dangerous for both  animals and other drivers. Pull safely to the shoulder or park in designated areas.


Elk know no boundaries, but people do. Remember to respect private property as well as the herd and one another when viewing wildlife.

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May 2nd is Duck Race Day!

No longer do we send only plain yellow racing rubber duckies into the river and follow them to the finish line; now, we send them with Zombie Ducks, who could possibly try to eat the regular ducks for fortification as they race the river in this happy day of entertainment, family fun and general silliness.


The fun begins  Downtown at 10a at Bond Park where you can adopt your Ducks. Then head over to Nicky’s (1350 Fall River Road – walkable from Boulder Brook) for Quackers and Riverside Ramblers (Retail/charitable shopping and live entertainment).  The Estes Park Singers, Ballerina Duckies, and Lucky (the Race Mascot) will be in the spotlight from 12n-1p for the big Duck Drop!


Ducks swim 2.5 miles, not all of which can be seen by the naked eye!  While waiting for your Ducks to finish, gather at Riverside Park for cheering, race updates, live music and activities. Just Us performs at Noon, followed by Ballerina Duckies and Ron Ball. Enjoy Venture Crew 10 and face painting from 1p-4p:  From 2p-4p enjoy Brass Quintet and Steve Smersh. From 1p-2:30p Meet Bruiser – The Big Dog and representatives from our very own Rocky Mountain Conservancy.  From 1p-4p enjoy Balloon and Caricature Art; check out “Lucky’s Adventure” (a new children’s book by Marilyn Maher); chow on delish homemade treats by Estes Park Band Boosters; shop Quacker Gifts, and meet at the finish line -where Lucky and Park Rangers will be cheering all the winners!


Will Yellow Ducks prevail or will the Zombies take this year’s prize?


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Come Visit Boulder Brook

Nestled next to the rambling waters of Fall River, Boulder Brook is ideally located to take advantage of the unique shopping of downtown Estes Park or the rugged splendor of the Rocky Mountain National more