What our readers say...
A guidebook without equal
In my life, I have literally read hundreds of hiking and climbing guidebooks from around the world. There are two things most of them have in common and are readily apparent. First, the author does not have intimate, first-hand knowledge of every location, every route; relying instead on other's trip reports and descriptions. Second, details important to the reader are brief, missing or just downright incorrect. This makes for a potentially deadly combination when a climber or hiker is facing darkness, dangerous weather conditions and fatigue.
Within Rocky Mountain National Park, an area I have explored and enjoyed over the past 25 years, I have carried and relied heavily upon guidebooks by 'renowned' local authors and on more than several occasions, have faced incredibly frustrating and sometimes harrowing circumstances, quickly coming to the realization the guidebook was worth less than the paper it was printed on.
Then, Lisa Foster entered the picture. Lisa established her credibility, professionalism and attention to detail long before writing this book, as a backcountry adventure columnist for the Estes Park Trail Gazette and as a host/guide in many local television and video productions; aimed at promoting safe and responsible adventure travel in Rocky Mountain National Park. This, coupled with her years of experience as a National Park Service Biological Field Technician, a top-notch alpinist and backcountry explorer, made her the perfect candidate to take on such a formidable challenge-to write a comprehensive guide to every named point in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as several areas on its borders.
Lisa was successful in accomplishing this totally unique objective, I feel, not by her wealth of knowledge nor years of experience as a writer-adventurer, but by her uncontrollable zeal for life and unconditional love of the outdoors; a passion for which I have never seen equaled.
The fruit of Lisa's tireless labor is in an extraordinarily beautiful book, both in appearance and in content. The guide is constructed so that both Park aficionado and newcomer will embrace it and find it an invaluable resource. Its layout is concise, easy to navigate and despite its 400 pages, easy to carry. Lisa's color photos are alluring, inspiring and illustrate the Park's beauty in all four seasons. The historical passages afford the reader a greater appreciation and better understanding of the area than any other reference I have studied.
I've written this not to be flattering nor to help the author sell a million books. My review is directed to you, the person with adventure in your heart, who is intelligent enough to read these reviews, diligent enough to do some research and wise enough to make an informed purchase. In the mountains, there is no room for error...you need to have the very best guidebook available, and this is it.
I live two miles from "Rocky", and thought I knew almost everything about it. Boy, was I wrong. Thanks to Lisa Foster and "Rocky Mountain National Park - The Complete Hiking Guide", I have been given the opportunity to experience this gem of the National Park System in an entirely different light - through Lisa's eyes. I can tell you with all sincerity, the journey so far has been nothing less than magical.
MoonHermit - Estes Park, Colorado
This book provides route information for every named destination in Rocky Mountain National Park, and for a number of destinations around the park as well as many unoffically named destinations within it. These destinations include waterfalls, lakes, passes, and mountains, 440 destinations in all. As the title suggests, it's an exhaustive guide, and probably has more information than the casual visitor can use.
The author, Lisa Foster, has been to each one of these destinations - - and I haven't. So my review begins with a lack of information, as there's no way that I can vouch for her route information. I have been to some of these destinations, either on the beaten track or just off it, and her information so far is good.
Three things make this book stand out, in addition to the sheer number of features covered. First, there are an extraordinary number of great photographs, an average of about one per page. This makes a big difference in selecting destinations.
Second, this is at last a book with enough maps. Each section (i.e., "Mummy Range") begins with a map covering that region, and every 5-10 pages is a detail map showing the routes for individual hikes or climbs. The overwhelming majority of these routes are off-trail, so the maps are essential for helping to show you where to go.
Third, and related to the maps, is the coverage of so many routes (686 for the 440 destinations). The section on Longs Peak is, not surprisingly, the most thorough, covering every route and feature that you might find from any direction. The book is not exhaustive - - for example, it lists two routes up Mount Lady Washington, and I know of a third - - but it provides more than enough for most people.
At the end of the book is a list of all the routes, with length and elevation information. My only complaint is that this information isn't put on the route page as well. This oversight mystifies me, why not add a line of text saying that the east route up Lady Washington is 4.2 miles with 3,881 feet of elevation gain from the Longs Peak trailhead?
That aside, this is an impressive book, both useful and beautiful.
Arthur Digbee - Indianapolis, IN,
The most thorough Natl. Park book I've ever read
I have been to almost all of the more-well-known National Parks in the continental US and always buy serveral books to research them before I go so I can learn as much as possible before the trip. Lisa Foster's "Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide" is the most detailed and well-laid-out book I've read about National Parks. The book is divided into areas so you're not hop-scotching over the whole park and the areas are sub-divided into hikes, trails, lakes, points of interest, etc. The photographs (and there's a lot of them) almost make you feel like you're there. I'd give this book a ten star if I could.
As we've gotten older, we have transitioned from longer hiking treks to avid photography trips with shorter hikes and the book still served the purpose. The very concise destinations chart in the back of the book with the trailhead, length of the trails and altitude change really makes it easy.
I live about an hour from Estes Park and hike in Rocky Mountain National Park several times a year. I'm familiar with many of the destinations, so I know that the information is accurate.
Lisa KNOWS what she's talking about! She has been to EVERY one of the 440 destinations in this book! That said, there is obviously a lot of information in this book - probably more than the average day hiker really needs. Most RMNP hiking guides cover a few of the popular destinations, this book covers EVERYTHING in the park and is written by someone who has been there.
I can't say enough about it! It's absolutely great! The route descriptions are clear, the photography is excellent - everything is there. I especially like the section towards the back of the book that has a list of every hike, along with the mileage, difficulty rating, etc. It makes it easy for me to plan a hike when I can look at a list of every hike and rule out the hikes that are too long, for example, when I only have a few hours to spare.
I've become very busy and haven't been on a hike for a while. The moment I opened this book, I was inspired get back on the trail.
EXCELLENT JOB, LISA!!!!
Mountain Man "Freddo" - Frederick, Colorado
One of the best if not the best hiking guides to the park. I have led and/or followed hikes to 30 or more locales in the park and find this book to have the most complete and accurate write-ups.
Mikey53 "WordButcher" - Colorado