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Rip & Go: Bowen-Baker Loop – Never Summer Wilderness, CO

Get national park scenery without the crowds on an alpine overnight with lakeside camping.
may 09 may 09 may 09 rip bowen 445x260Fairview Mountain (Kim Phillips)

Trip Planner

The Way From Estes Park, take US 36 seven miles west to RMNP’s Beaver Meadows entrance. Veer left onto US 34/Trail Ridge Rd. and drive 30 miles to the Bowen-Baker trailhead.
Permit $20 for entry to Rocky Mountain National Park; (970) 586-1242,
Gear up Grab supplies or gear rentals (packs, bags, pads, and fishing gear) at Estes Park Mountain Shop, 2050 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park, CO; (866) 303-6548.
Conditions Trail Ridge Rd. is closed from November to April. Check conditions at (970) 586-1206.

Key Skill
Clean and cook a trout

The Never Summer’s cutthroats could convert a vegetarian. You’ll have to catch one to find out (Locals Know, below). But plan for success by packing a sharp knife, and following these tips.

1) Remove the hook, then rinse the fish to remove its natural layer of slime. Don’t worry about descaling or filleting–small trout (less than 12”) are best cooked whole.
2) Grasp the fish by the head and cut the flesh from the anus (vent) to the gills. (A)
3) Pull out the entrails from the head toward the tail. (B)
4) Cut out the bloodline along the backbone with your knife (or scrape out with a spoon).
5) Clean out the inside with water. (C)
6) Pan-fry with olive oil and seasonings or poach for 10-12 minutes, then remove the bones and skin.

Double-bag the entrails and bones to pack them out or bury them at least .5 mile from camp.

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