|Dinosaur exhibit in Woodland Park, CO|
This camping trip was planned months ago with the intention of landing during the peak of Fall color in the Colorado Rockies. It is the time of year when the crisp, fresh, Fall air heightens your senses, and the scenery is almost magical. I was looking forward to hiking through the forest with golden aspen shimmering against a brilliant blue sky above, creating dappled shadows that dance on a thick carpet of bright yellow leaves along the trail. Anyway, that's what it looked like in my head and what I experienced close to the same time last year. Unfortunately, I missed the peak color by at least a week, if not more, and trees were only just beginning to change.
Don't get me wrong. It was a beautiful, beautiful trip. I had a wonderful time and got plenty of hiking and biking in. The weather was great, and the campground outstanding. I was just hoping to see a lot more color.
|Beautiful trails, but not a lot of Fall color just yet.|
I camped at Mueller State Park, about 30 miles west of Colorado Springs, CO. This is an awesome campground, one of the best in Colorado in my opinion. The campground is long and narrow and sits on a ridge. The sites are well-spaced, and those that aren't nestled in thick pine forest or aspen groves often have outstanding mountain views of the backside of Pikes Peak.
|Campsite at Mueller State Park|
Mueller State Park is located very near Woodland Park, CO, which offers many restaurants, supermarkets, and camping supplies. On this trip I took an opportunity to visit the Dinosaur Resource Center. The brochure sums it up best: "It is home to an awe-inspiring display of dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs and fish of North America's late Cretaceous period." Many life-size fossil skeletons are on display, and the museum makes a worthwhile side-trip.
|One of many giant fossilized dinosaur reproductions|
Really though, I could spend all my time just hiking and biking the many trails in Mueller State Park. They advertise over 5000 acres and 55 miles trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It is a beautiful place any day of the year, but it is especially magical if you have better timing than I do and arrive there during the peak of the Fall color.
|Trails at Mueller State Park wind through forest and open prairie with views of the west side of Pike's Peak.|
|Farm views from the biking/hiking trail.|
|Pike's Peak is just a stone's throw away. Seen here from Woodland Park, CO.|
|Still my favorite way to tour the park|