Great Outdoor Adventure: Silver Dollar Lake Trail

When we choose to be in nature, we find ourselves more connected to the earth. It is in this space that we remember what it means to be human. It is in this space that we remember what it means to be alive.

Adventures are much easier to come by than I previously thought. Everything changes for me back in 2018 when I decided to take a 6 month road trip across the US. You know what I learned? There are adventures around every corner, and, what is more amazing, is that adventuring is much more affordable than you might think.

Take my adventure I went on this Monday during Labor Day weekend. Me and my friend Geoff drove an hour out of Denver to the Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake Trail head (you can find out more about this hike here.)

The cost: somewhere around $10 which covered gas and a few snacks for both of us.

We woke up early, grabbed some light hiking gear, and hit the road. I had coffee in my hand (which I made at home earlier that morning, a dog in the back ready to jump into water, and an hour of good conversation about life and our pursuits while we put pavement behind us.

The drive to an adventure is not to be discounted; driving is a big part of the adventure. We got to watch as the sun dawned in our back mirror and the mountains were lit alive, the aspens playing yellow mockery to the green pines that scattered the mountain sides.

We even saw a couple of goats along the road. I have noticed that wildlife tends to be around much more often when there are less people around, and, in my experience, it is much more enjoyable to run into animals in the morning than it is to run into them when it’s dark and you only have a headlamp to shine your way. Trust me on this.

An overview of two of the three lakes we saw that day.

We met a few fellow hikers along the trail, and everyone said something along the lines of “Good Morning”. The overall energy was kind and excited to be out in nature, an energy I was very enthusiastic to join in with. When we got to the second lake (see the lake on the right in the above picture) we threw the ball for OJ, Geoff’s dog. That guy can really swim, and, if he had his way, he wouldn’t ever stop playing fetch.

We threw the ball for OJ for a while, and then we gathered up the wet dog, and hiked the last of the elevation to the third lake which happens to be at 12,000 feet in elevation.

At this point my coffee had kicked in and I felt fresh and truly alive. We threw the ball even more for the lovable golden and he even made another golden friend named Penny.

The overall hike was about 4.1 miles and we gained a little over a 1000 feet of elevation, and before you knew it, we were back in Denver sometime around 1 PM. As I get more and more into the outdoor life here in Colorado, I am beginning to learn about the ways to enjoy life more without spending money.

Yes, I could go out and drink with friends all night, but that would easily cost over a hundred dollars in addition to a headache as well as a slow morning the next day. Yes, from time to time I still want to have going-out-and-drinking adventures, but I think I’m going to make those less frequent.

If you want to adventure and experience more of the beauty in life, I encourage you to put on some hiking shoes and explore this beautiful earth we get to call home. Here’s a checklist from REI on what to bring on a day hike. It’s a bit extensive, but it’s always better to be prepared than to be underprepared. In addition, invite a friend and enjoy the trip together! Make memories!

And, once you seen how beautiful the world is, consider investing back into conserving this planet for you and for your children. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a great guide on sustainable and responsible investing! Happy hiking!

Austin Hunt

Meet the Author:
Austin Hunt

Austin Hunt is the lead founder & SEO consultant at Mumarkt Co. as well as the "digital face" of White Raven Financial. He is also an avid advocate for human connection as well as being a steward of the land. Austin enjoys writing for his blog, dancing west coast swing, and, as always, spending way too much money on a good cup of coffee.