Share This Post

Activities / Colorado Livin' / Family Travel / Humor

How the blind led the blonde on the Braille Trail (and a guide to Denver’s Mountain Parks)

Snow in May?!!

Let’s face it: very few people welcomed our winter blast last week with the exception of a few hearty souls like me. I am admittedly dysfunctional in that when it snows, all I want to do is ski, hike or run in it.

Either that or I’m just Canadian.

After I bundled up my kids and sent them to school, I headed to the hills on Wednesday. Destination: The Braille Trail. Located in Genesse, this hike is a small cut of paradise in Denver’s largest mountain park. My kids and I have hiked most of the trails along Denver’s front range with the exception of this one. I figured the 1-mile loop through a wooded grove would be perfect for a snowy day.

The Braille Trail’s access is off the Chief Hosa Exit 153 on I-70. My directions then told me to turn right on Stapleton Drive and follow it 1 mile until I found the trailhead for the Braille Trail and Beaver Brook.

I exited, I followed and I found nothing. The road dead-ended at a gate so I looped back around on the slick road and retraced my route several times. Still nothing. After several minutes, I concluded the trailhead just wasn’t there because I’m pretty darn good at reading signs.

Map interpretation? An entirely different matter.

Not to be dissuaded from getting a workout, I parked my car by a log outhouse and hiked down a steep ravine.

When you live my life, you’re all about improvisation.

I tromped through the snow for a few minutes until I ran into a road and saw a sign in the distance.

THE sign.

I raced over to it and sure enough, the Braille Trail’s access was located further down the road behind the gate that was still closed for the season.

I trekked around the loop, following the waist-high guide wire that was designed for blind hikers. There many interpretive signs were buried in snow so I made up my own such as “Pine Tree Ensconced by Snow” and “Irascible black bird whining about the weather.”

I just know I have a future as a naturalist.

The wooded trail was a perfect romp for young children and I vowed to bring mine back when the weather cleared and the gate opened for the season.

And yes, the irony of my inability to find the “Braille Trail” was not lost on me.


Guide to Denver Mountain Parks

Winter Park Resort
Opened for the 1939-40 ski season, Winter Park offers year-round activities on its three interconnected mountain peaks, including
skiing, snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking.
52 miles from downtown Denver / I-70 exit 232

Summit Lake Park
The highest city park in the U.S., Summit Lake provides pristine natural beauty at 13,000 feet, near the peak of Mt. Evans. Arctic
and alpine tundra make up the park’s 160 acres, including a natural lake. Park visitors pay a fee to the U.S. Forest Service at the base of the scenic road, which supports maintenance and improvements at Summit Lake.
52 miles from downtown Denver / I-70 exit 240

Echo Lake Park
Echo Lake Park is nestled in a glacially-formed hanging valley at 10,600 feet in elevation. A shelter house and picnic facilities are near
the lake. The Echo Lake Lodge, open seasonally May – September, was built from native rock and timber. Views of the lake, lodge, and Mt. Evans are truly majestic.
46 miles from downtown Denver / I-70 exit 240

Dedisse Park
Dedisse Park is a beautiful 420-acre park nestled just outside Evergreen. The 35-foot high Evergreen Dam, completed in 1928,
creates the 55-acre Evergreen Lake. In 1925, part of the park became Colorado’s first mountain golf course, Evergreen Golf Course. Eat at historic Keys on the Green.
29 miles from downtown Denver / I-70 exit 252

Newton Park
A craggy peak looms over this special events park near Conifer, available only by reservation. Groups can be accommodated at
three shelters.
37 miles from downtown Denver

Genesse Park
The first and biggest park in the DMP system, Genesee features recreation opportunities like a ropes course, hiking, camping,
volleyball, and bison viewing. Summer public camping is offered at Chief Hosa Campground, and the Chief Hosa Lodge and historic CCC shelter are available for events. Challenging hikers since 1917, the Beaver Brook Trail’s west trailhead is also in north Genesee Park.
20 miles from downtown Denver / I-70 exits 253 (chief hosa camp and lodge) & 254 (park & bison)

Buffalo Bill Grave & Museum
This site hosts the grave of the legendary showman William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. By his request, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain in 1917, overlooking the Great Plains and the Rockies. Feel the breezes from the high peaks of the Continental Divide, smell the Ponderosa pines, and see the incredible Cody Collection at the museum.

Red Rocks Park & Ampitheatre
Red Rocks Park, along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, is named for the towering 300-foot sandstone formations within its 804 acres. The park also boasts a 200-mile panoramic view of Denver and the plains. Extensive hiking trails and natural areas surround the geologic formations. The Visitor Center has a restaurant, gift shop, and park interpretation.
15 miles from downtown Denver / I-70 exit 259

Daniels Park
Most of Daniels Park is a bison preserve and natural area where visitors can view the animals in a high-plains habitat. The shelter
house and picnic areas offer a 100-mile panoramic view of the mountains. The historic Martin ranch buildings are a Denver Landmark Historic District.
20 miles from downtown denver / i-25 exit 188

For additional information, go to

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

Share This Post

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. This just made me laugh because

    1) I wouldn’t have been out there in the snow to begin with
    2) Even if I had, if I couldn’t find the trailhead, I would have turned around and gone home
    3)You really are the crazy in canuck!

  2. As you know, the Colorado Mountain Mamas do that trail a lot with the kiddos! and yes, it’s closed for the season but I have not been able to get a date for the re-open.

  3. Hopefully it will be opening soon. I’d love to take my kids in a couple of weeks when school lets out!

Leave a Reply