Hiking Allenspark & Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trails in Winter
Allenspark Trail is a a trail that starts at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Allenspark, CO. There are several options for destinations from the trail, and that day we were aiming for Ouzel Falls. We were interesed in seeing the falls, but our CMC Snowshoe Routes of Colorado’s Front Range book said that snowshoeing/hiking there in winter would necessitate a 7.4-mile trek from a different parking lot. We thought we’d be clever and map it out from the parking lot at the base of Allenspark Trail, making the trek about 2 miles shorter. It didn’t work out, but I’ll get to that story later!
The parking lot we chose was small and only had space for a total of maybe 3 cars, although there was a spot bit further along the road that looked like it could park another 2 cars. That extra parking space looked like it might be connected with a private property, so we played it safe and parked near the trailhead.
Allenspark Trail starts out through a lovely pine and cedar forest.
The tall trees were impressive and the hints of cedar and pine in the air were refreshing to breathe.
Along the trail we got peeks of mountains through the trees.
The first viewpoint is just after the junction with the Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trail, 1.8 miles from the parking lot.
If you don’t want to go on a long hike, this viewpoint may be sufficient. The views are wonderful. The only downside is that the view is slightly hindered by trees. There is an even better viewpoint down the Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trail.
A snowshoer came by while we were snapping photos here and kindly informed us of the names of the peaks – I’ll describe them below with the better pictures from the second viewpoint. This snowshoer was the only other person that we saw on the trail that day.
Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trail
The Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trail offered more views of the Rockies, which was great, but the trail itself is not the most comfortable to walk on when covered in snow.
Snowshoes might have helped in places, but the trail was so narrow at times, with slanting snow, that it may not have been that helpful. There were some sections in particular that were narrow with steep drops to one side. I remember thinking “I’d never take kids here in the wintertime” – it’s too precarious.
Viewpoint on Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trail
Despite the narrowness of the trail, it does offer an amazing view about 2.3 miles from the trailhead.
From right to left –
Mt Meeker (13,911′), Long’s Peak just behind with the top shaped like a table (14,259′), Pagoda Mountain (13,497′), and Chief’s Head Peak (13,579′).
And to the left of these mountains was Tanima Peak (12,420′) –
There were a few more mountains that we couldn’t identify the names of (and were not told to us by the kind snowshoer) –
Just a bit beyond the second viewpoint we had to turn around because we were having difficulty seeing where the trail was, and it looked like it was continuing on a steep incline (see left hand side of the picture below). We were not convinced of the safety of it, and thought it would be better to go back.
Still, there was a great panoramic view from the end point of our trek –
And of course, it was a nice spot for a selfie –
Recommended as a Moderate Hike
Although the trail we took had some stunning views which are worth the challenging hike to see, I’m not sure I’d want to go on this trail again in winter. The steep ledges, especially on the Finch Lake-Pear Lake Trail, in combination with the slanting snow, made me a bit nervous. The fact that there were barely any people out there and fewer trail tracks than we’ve seen on other trails suggests others might feel the same way. I think it would be better to go after the snow has melted a bit, perhaps later in spring or summer.
Still, you cannot deny the amazing views this trail has to offer.