Cameron Pass was on our list of places to visit since we bought snowshoes and skis. We planned our trip to this alluring destination in March, because March is supposed to be the snowiest month in Colorado, according to outdoor guides. However, this year the weather in March was pretty warm and dry. After a few days desperately staring at a 10-days weather forecast that showed nothing but rising temperatures, we decided to go to Cameron Pass anyways. We wanted to go there just to catch the last glimpse of winter, which was slipping away.
As we drove up into the mountains we saw no sign of snow. The Cache la Poudre River wound along the road, cheerfully glistening in the sun. The slopes of the mountains were completely green, without any single white spot in between fir trees. However, as we drove higher into Roosevelt National Park, we saw more and more snowy spots and stripes of snow lacing the green forested slopes. With more elevation gain and more snow, our hope got stronger. Winter was still alive! When we reached Cameron Pass we saw snow covered mountains and the ground was still covered with snow. In State Forest State Park at 10,276 feet, winter had not yet yielded her reign to spring.
Previously, on our way back from Steamboat Springs, we stopped at the Moose Visitor Center and talked to a ranger. She told us that Gould Loop trail would be good for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. However, the condition of the snow had changed since then and the surface of the trail was too hard for skiing and even snowshoeing. The ranger also told us that Colorado State Forest is very popular place for moose watching. Other wildlife, such as elk, deer, and fox would be possible to see. Bears however were still in hibernation.
When we started our hiking, we stopped frequently. We were staring in the direction of the woods, but the only wildlife we saw was a blue jay. The gusts of wind rushed with a thudding sound through tall and slender fir trees and made them sway. When we hiked further along the trail, a bubbling creek appeared behind the trees. Then we saw an arched wooden bridge across the creek and a minute later a wooden shack. The shack and the bridge were still covered with snow but the creek cut its way through the deep snow gurgling cheerfully about the upcoming spring.
The Gould Loop trail is 6.5 miles long and connects to Ranger Lakes. We did not see a moose this time, but there were two very cute moose inside the Moose Visitor Center, which looked almost alive. The Moose Visitor Center has lot of information about the history, the geology, and the wild life of Colorado State Forest.
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter, hiking, camping, fishing, and boating in spring, summer, and fall and wild life watching all year round make Cameron Pass and the surrounding area a great place for recreation no matter what the season is.