The Travel Dog Blog

Pausing at Cirque LakeCirque Meadows & Emmaline Lake, Colorado
Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith

Something I am missing living in Texas is backpacking into the mountains. Bayous and gaters are great fun, but I enjoy the ruggedness of the true wilderness, when you can get away from all noise and activity. One such trip you should consider is Cirque Meadows and Emmaline Lake in Colorado. The views will take your breath away! It is located about ninety miles west of Cheyenne, Wyoming and south from the Poudre River Canyon in the Comanche Peak Wilderness.

Cirque LakeMy family and I loaded up our backpacks and took I-25 to exit 278 at Wellington. We followed Colorado 1 west and south, turning right (north) on US 287. We then turned left (west) on Colorado 14 heading up the Cache la Poudre canyon. After 25.7 miles (I took a nap because I knew I would need the rest!) we turned left toward Pingree Park on Larimer County 63E. We continued 15.1 miles on this well graded gravel road to Tom Bennett campground. Here, we turned right (FS 145), going 3/10 of a mile, past the campground, to the Mummy Pass – Emmaline Lake trailhead. I woke up just in time for us to park. Woof! I was ready for a great adventure!

Kuma King of the Mountains The campsites are primitive, meaning we carried everything, including water, which we needed in our packs. Okay, my humans took the brunt of that, but I provided the high energy factor! Humans don’t have any restrooms either, so they have to mark trees and bushes just like us. Cool! Anyway, before you make the trek, but sure you are prepared for any type of weather. The trailhead is around 8,930 feet, but Cirque Meadows is at 9,790, and Emmaline Lake (totally worth the extra jaunt) is at 10,988. The trail to Cirque Meadows, which is where we set up camp, is 3.5 miles.

Fish CreekOff we went on a beautiful, sunny Colorado day, following the old logging road that passes the Pingree Park campus of CSU (Colorado State University). We happen to hit wildflower season, and the colors were spectacular, even for a dog. Aspen and Ponderosa pine trees abound, and the scents I smelled were tantalizing. Oh how I love the outdoors! We crossed Fish Creek on a log bridge and got to Mummy Pass, which is the northern reaches of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We don’t go there because they don’t welcome my kind. Boo on them! We reached Cirque Meadows and the granite rocks that create the lake. This is where we set up camp. I must the evening got down right cold. My mom and I had to cuddle close to stay warm! She even gave me her down jacket. Note to my kind: bring a coat! We slept good and awoke to another glorious morning with the birds singing and the sun shining.

Emmaline LakeThe trail to Emmaline Lake is near the camp and is another 2.4 miles. No problem since we lightened our load and left everything at camp. Wooowho! We were on our way. This time, we crossed a ton of log bridges. I’m not good at counting, but my humans said something like 15. The trail got steep, and we had to do some scrambling on rocks. I was in rare form and climbing up like a pro. We were rewarded with a beautiful water fall, and I took a dip! Then, we just relaxed and soaked up the quietness of this peaceful place. We were the only ones, so if you truly want to get away, this is a great option. And if you like to fish, the trout are plentiful. Bring your poles!

 We enjoyed a second night of camping. Boy the stars were bright. We then hiked out the next morning, and I slept the entire drive home. Nature is calling. Get out there!

Sleepy KumaKumaito (Kuma for short) is a multi-tan Shiba Inu, an ancient breed from Japan, who moved from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Friendswood, Texas. He enjoys running almost every day with his mom, chasing squirrels out of his yard, playing with toys, pestering his brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, Kuma loves about everything and everyone! His mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help him tell his story. She is the author of seven published books, writes for magazines on assignment, has been seen on national television, and inspires people to live healthy, balanced lives through personal training, life coaching, and workshops. You can reach Kuma through Lorraine’s website: Be sure to visit Kuma Dog’s Facebook page at

You never know what he’ll be up to next!