Last summer while visiting Keystone Colorado with family, we took a very impressive hike up to Continental Falls. Continental Falls is one of the first waterfall hikes I ever went on. I was wildly out of shape and had never been on such a hike before. Even in my poor hiking condition, I still made it to the falls with a bit of coaxing from my now husband, Neal.
This last time that we visited the falls, I took off ahead of the rest of the group, with my step-daughter and husband’s cousin. The rest of our group was being shuttled up the rough, rocky road, by our Jeep. We assumed that the group would catch up with us, but we did not anticipate a turn of events.
When I say turn of events, I literally mean a turn, the wrong turn. As we were hiking up the trail we stopped to check out the old cabin that has stood there for many years. It’s definitely a great point to stop and rest, and sign the guest book. When we left the cabin, we turned to the left and continued on. We should have turned to the right. We had no idea that we were going the wrong way.
As we continued to hike we saw parts of the waterfall, but not as I previously had recalled. We decided to trudge on. It was early July and while it was nice and hot outside, there were still some huge snowdrifts left on the mountainside. The girls decided to stop and check out a snowdrift that appeared to be covering the entrance to a mine.
After a bunch of digging they gave up finding the entrance to the mine, and we continued on our way. We saw several old buildings that were part of the previous mining camp. The views were amazing. We saw a bunch of different wildflowers and we continued to see various small parts of the waterfall, but nothing as big as what I previously recalled.
After what seemed like quite a bit of time we made it to a beautiful lake. The lake was supposed to be after the falls, so at this point I was feeling a bit disappointed. Had I remembered the wrong waterfall? We sat and waited for a bit but the rest of our group did not show up. We decided to continue on because we still hadn’t seen an impressive waterfall.
After climbing and making our own trail at times through the snow, and then climbing upward some more, we finally hit a point of stopping. The view was amazing and none of us really felt like climbing any further. We had no cell service, so we could not locate the rest of our group. We decided to rest and take a few pictures.
Once we were feeling re-energized, we began our decent. The trip down the mountainside was fast. We moved at a very steady clip and it took about half of the time it had taken to get up to the top. Once we reached the ground we still had not seen the rest of our hiking party. Realizing no one was there we began walking down the long rocky road that we had been shuttled up by Jeep.
Halfway down the road, my husband appeared. He was a little frazzled, not knowing what had happened to us. Apparently there had been some miss-communications in regard to where we were going to meet. It turned out that the girls and I had hiked far beyond what was intended and as I was explaining to him what we saw, we both realized at about the same moment that we had taken two very different hikes.
He laughed at me, because I had been on this hike before, and I missed out on the best part of it. The view of Continental Falls is one of the best sights near Breckenridge, and it is impressive. I felt so silly realizing that we had taken one small wrong turn. I can laugh at it now, but at the time, I was definitely bummed out.
Despite the error in our direction, we had a great time. I would highly recommend this hike for the views as well as the impressiveness of the falls. The lake views are also very much worth the trek.
For more information on Continental Falls, please visit: http://www.protrails.com/trail/368/summit-county-eagle-county-clear-creek-county-mohawk-lake-and-lower-mohawk-lake