I couldn't keep the tune to John Denver's classic ode to the Colorado Rockies, Rocky Mountain High", from running through my head as we embarked on this hike. I'd seen in the Dumont Lake Campground listing that there was a trail called "Rabbit Ears" accessible from the campground, but I had no idea it was a well-known peak, so named because of its rabbit-eared appearance.
In fact, we approached the hike pretty casually, starting out on more of an after-breakfast exploratory walk than a hike. We didn't take our trekking poles, not realizing until later that it was actually going to be a summit hike, involving 1030' of climbing.
Here's a write-up of the trail on Alltrails. I still can't get over the rating of "easy". Yes, about 75% of it is fairly easy, but the last 25% is certainly at least moderate by most people's standards. I know this is no Colorado "fourteener". But if you aren't used to the elevation, be aware that this hike will take you to over 10,000 feet in elevation and gets steep at the end. I wished for my trekking poles in the last half mile, especially descending. But it was a gorgeous hike, and I'm so glad we did it.
The hike started out easy enough, along a wide forest service road. Most of the climbing was in the last mile, so this part was a breeze. We could see Rabbit Ears peak off in the distance, way up high. I was still thinking at this point that we'd probably turn around long before getting there, as this was just supposed to be a morning walk, right?
As we continued, it became apparent that yes, we really were going to hike to the summit. Fortunately, the hike is not a long one (about 2.7 miles one way).
As we climbed a bit and turned to look behind us, the views to the distant mountains and valleys were breathtaking. Clusters of brilliant yellow aspens stood out among the evergreens. Just gorgeous!
The last quarter mile is particularly steep, though it's very hard to tell in photos. This is where the trekking poles would have been very useful, as the loose dirt was slippery going up and coming down.
As we approached the summit, we could hear voices. There were several folks up here having a bite to eat. We'd passed a few hikers heading up and had met a few on their way down. Even on a Friday morning, this is a popular hike.
Above, I took a picture of Barry taking a picture of this:
While I hung around and caught my breath from the climb, Barry continued exploring the rocky summit, where he found that the path continued. He was able to get a couple more photos, including one of the "ears".
Descending the trail was much easier than climbing at this altitude. This steep part near the top was the only tough part of it -- had to side-step to avoid slipping.
After completing the hike, we learned from signs posted in the area that there would be a lot of runners coming through the next day. The event is called the Run Rabbit Run and is an annual endurance race out of Steamboat Springs with courses of 50 and 100 miles. In the mountains. Woah! Not only is running (or even walking) that distance unimaginable to me, but the fact that the runners do it at elevation, and the sheer amount of climbing on the route is amazing. Our little hike would just be their a warm-up!
Just for grins I checked out the elevation profile of the 50 and 100-mile routes.
Amazing. I am in awe of anyone who competes in this event. Better you than me!
We did get to see some of the runners the next day as part of the route came right through the campground, on Trail 1101. We would end up mountain biking part of the same trail before leaving the park, and we'll have that post for you up next.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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