Nomad by Trade

A travel blog for the kid at heart.

Tag: Mountains

View of lake Tahoe from Van Sickle Bi-State Park

Hiking Your Way to a Spectacular View of Lake Tahoe

If you’re looking for a great view of Lake Tahoe, hiking in Van Sickle Bi-State Park might just be for you. What’s a bi-state park, you ask? It’s a park that crosses state borders – between California and Nevada, though Nevada’s park service does most of the management. It’s an easy hike in South Lake Tahoe that takes you partway up the mountain for a perfect view of the lake.

I hit the business trip jackpot when I landed a customer along the shores of Lake Tahoe, and I was determined to see as much of the surrounding scenery as possible. Because of the fact that I have to work during the day, I’m limited to evenings which makes day-long excursions off-limits. (Someday I’ll write about the exquisite torture that business trips like this bring to a travel junkie like me.) The hike in Van Sickle was perfect for me because it was both beautiful and relatively quick.

The best view of Lake Tahoe at Van Sickle Bi-State Park

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Hiking the Dream Lake Trail

The Dream Lake trail was my absolute favorite hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. It branches off from the Bear Lake area and takes you up to a series three more alpine lakes: Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake. We stopped at Dream Lake thanks to non-ideal hiking conditions, but online photos make me think it’s the prettiest of the three anyway.

Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Bear Lake Trail

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Tips for and photos of driving Pikes Peak

Driving to the Top of Pikes Peak

Driving Pikes Peak is one of those classic American experiences that everyone should try at least once. My dad went as a kid, and it’s always been on my list of things to do. I finally got a chance to make the drive this year and it was amazing!

Pikes Peak (known as a fourteener because it tops 14,000 feet high) is located in Colorado Springs and the peak can be accessed by driving, taking a cog railway ride, or hiking. We chose to drive the 19-mile road to the top. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The drive up Pikes Peak

Switchbacks on the drive to the top of Pikes Peak

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Hiking the Gem Lake Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park is full of gorgeous scenery and offers all kinds of hiking trails, from an easy stroll around Sprague Lake to a climb to the summit of Longs Peak. As Midwesterners (aka from low elevation) of average fitness level, we stuck to the easy/moderate rated trails. Mostly. Our last hike of the weekend challenged us a lot more than we expected, and left us so exhausted that we barely made it out for dinner that night.

Hiking the Gem Lake trail in Rocky Mountain National Park taught us a very important lesson: always be very clear about your level of fitness when inquiring about hiking trails in the mountains. We were pointed toward Gem Lake by a NPS volunteer at one of the visitor centers and eagerly headed off to check out the views he talked about. The problem: when we told the first park volunteer that we were looking for a moderately easy trail to fill up the rest of the afternoon, she called over this other guy and didn’t relay the message that we weren’t looking for something strenuous. Based on his enthusiastic recommendation, we set off to hike to Gem Lake, with stomachs full of elk and bison burgers, fries, and pop.

Gem Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

There will be a lot of stairs along the way.

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