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Day Trip: Echo Lake

Sometimes I just feel like I can't function a moment longer in the city. My soul is screaming for the mountains and I need to get away. I see the mountains everyday, but being in them is quite another story. And knowing I can be up and away in less than an hour has a "so near and yet so far" ring to it.

Every mom can relate to the problem: schedules are difficult to coordinate! Babies takes naps and need to be nursed frequently. Husbands have appointments and, darn that 9 to 5 job, but somebody has to work. Older children have school daily, not to mention their extracurricular activities. Yes, sometimes a day trip seems like a pipe dream. But we managed to make it happen... Thanks in part to a few days off from school last week and clever scheduling on the part of my hubby.

It wasn't too long ago that we took the kids up to Idaho Springs to stay at the Indian Springs Hotel and ventured to the peak of Mount Evans. That was a spectacular trip and one that you can only do a few months out of the year (the Mount Evans drive part anyway - that precarious road closes at the first snow). During that trip we drove past Echo Lake but for the sake of  time decided not to stop. Echo Lake is a gorgeous alpine lake that is situated at the base of the road that will take you up to Mount Evans. This recreation area touts groomed hiking trails, and a rustic but well-maintained rest area.

This is a great place to bring kids because the trails are easy, the lake is beautiful, and you are not far from town. Seasonally, you can fish in the lake or just find a bench and enjoy being enveloped by the surrounding mountains. During our trip we also decided this is a great place for bird watching (although I'm sure you could say this about many places). Bring a pair of binoculars and a bird book and see what you can find!

What made this a particularly lovely day trip for our family was the drive. Without-a-doubt the fastest route to Echo Lake is up I70 and through Idaho Springs. We decided to forego "fast" for "forested" and ventured up the mountain from Morrison, through Evergreen, and on to Echo Lake. At this time of the year we caught the end of the golden aspens (late September would have been spectacular), and a touch of snow! Barring any major storm, I think this drive would be lovely through early November. There are plenty of pull-outs along this route if you want to take extra time and do some exploring. A few of these pull-offs appeared to be un-marked trailheads.

Sadly, in my rush to get out of town and into the mountains, I forgot my camera. C'est la vie. You'll just have to go see it for yourself and I hope you do.

Would you share your favorite Colorado day trip with kids?

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