Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass will be reopened for the season by the time you read this, and with the opening comes some great hiking opportunities.
My favorite hikes there are to a trio of lakes just over the pass, on the west side of the Continental Divide. The Linkins, Independence and Lost Man lakes can be hiked as an out-and-back hike, or as a longer loop. If you go this early in the season, you'll likely find a fair amount of snow on the way to Independence and Lost Man lakes, and doing the loop might be difficult, due to snow pack. If you wait until late June, it will likely be much more passable, but Linkins Lake, about a half mile from trailhead, should be an easy hike now. For more information, check out my previous trip report.
Public land managers in the Pikes Peak region have joined together to remind users to recreate responsibly this summer. In joint statement from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, El Paso County Parks, Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services and Colorado Springs Utilities are asking users to "Know Before you Go" and plan ahead before setting out to recreate this summer. Specifically, they are asking users to keep a few recreational guidelines this summer:
- Enjoy and protect shared public lands.
- Be courteous and inclusive.
- Plan ahead and know your limits.
- Don’t park illegally at full trailheads and follow all rules and regulations.
- Stay on trail and walk through mud.
- Continue to follow all public health guidance and requirements.
In short, follow "Leave No Trace" principles; be courteous to other users; don't take unnecessary risks, be prepared and adequately equipped, tell someone where you're going and don't go alone; have an alternate destination in case the parking lot is full at your destination — don't park illegally and risk a ticket; if you encounter a muddy trail, go through the mud instead of around it, which causes more damage. If that bothers you, go home and come back when things are dry. And finally, if you feel ill, stay home and recreate when you feel better.
You can read the entire press release below:
Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.