Dates: 9/11 - 16, 2017
6 days, 5 nights; (Mon. - Sat.)
Assembly Point: Denver, CO
(Timberline van shuttle is included between Denver and Estes Park prior to and following tour)
Not included: Airline, rail or bus service to Denver; Guide Gratuity
Meeting time: hotel 8:30 am Drop - off time: 5 pm
Tour Cost: $2,200
Includes all lodging, meals, van shuttles, park entrance fees, leaders, trail maps and narratives.
Additional Single Occupancy Lodging Cost: $375
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of America’s great scenic treasures and is the site of our Colorado hiking trip. Within its borders are some of the world’s most spectacular alpine features—towering above-timberline peaks that are snowclad year-round, countless lakes and beautiful mountain valleys. In so many ways, the park also is a celebration of Colorado, a state renowned for its high-mountain majesty, attributable in no small measure to the presence of 54 named summits exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation.
We’ve chosen a July date and a September date for our Rocky Mountain Park hiking tour for one primary reasons, the seasons. The hiking program is set for July for the sake of experiencing the amazing mountain wildflowers, waterfalls and blue sky, while September offers an abundance of fall colors.
On Day 1, after the DIA airport pick up, we'll shuttle to Brainard Lake, gateway to the Indian Peaks Wilderness. We'll hike moderately above Brainard, initially to Mitchell Lake. We'll skirt Mitchell's shore and climb more seriously through subalpine terrain to beautiful Blue Lake, nestled at timberline at the base of majestic Mt. Toll (8 miles). Be surprised if a moose does not consist of part of the day's scenery. Several moose were relocated to the Indian Peaks Wilderness area after the fires in 2012.
On Day 2 we'll head for the Wild Basin region of Rocky Mountain National Park. From the trailhead we'll follow the cascading course of the North St. Vrain Creek, so wild that it appears to be one continuous waterfall throughout its entire length. Little wonder it is considered one of Colorado's best waterfall opportunities. We'll initially hike to Calypso Cascade prior to our view of thundering Ouzel Falls. Our hike will continue to a high ridge with outstanding views of Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker before we reach our destination of Ouzel Lake (10 miles).
We'll hike on Day 3 from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, following Glacier Creek as it continues its course through the Gorge. Early in the hike, we'll encounter thundering Alberta Falls and then it's on to some of the park's most renowned lakes. In rapid succession, we'll climb to the Loch, rise beyond the tree line to Timberline Falls, scramble up a ledge along the falls to Lake of Glass and beyond, finally reaching our destination- incredibly beautiful Sky Pond, nestled in the shadow of Powell and Taylor Peaks. The views of all that we passed are breathtaking as they unfold in a panoramic fantasy in the course of our descent (9 miles).
Day 4, we'll head to the Longs Peak Trailhead. Our destination will be Chasm Lake. We will begin our hike at (9380 feet), on the East Longs Peak trail. This trail starts in a forest and rises to treeline and above. Marmots and often times elk will be a visual treat along the way, not to mention the beaming Longs Peak Mountain which we keep in our sight all day long ( 8.4 miles). We will then rest our weary legs as we van shuttle to Grand Lake for our first of two nights.
On Day 5, we'll challenge the East Inlet Trail that rises above Grand Lake. Early into the hike, we'll visit popular Adams Falls and then continue on to Lone Pine Lake. A final climb to a rocky ridge is rewarded with a magnificent view of the fiord-like Lake Verna, our turnaround point for this day (14 miles).
Day 6, our final day, we'll shuttle back into the park to the Olde Ute Trailhead at Poudre Lake and one final visit to the park's vast alpine world above treeline. We'll hike from Poudre's lakeshore through the fascinating rock spires and hanging gardens above the lake, emerge from the trees at timberline and continue on to Fall River Pass (5 miles). Following lunch in Estes Park, we'll return to Denver.
|Day 1||Van shuttle from DIA to Brainard Lake- Blue Lake- Overnight in Estes Park||8 miles|
|Day 2||Calypso ascade - Ouzel Lake - Overnight in Estes Park||10 miles|
|Day 3||Glacier Gorge Trailhead- Alberta Falls- Sky Pond- Overnight in Estes Park||9 miles|
|Day 4||Chasm Lake - Long's Peak Trailhead- Overnight in Grand Lake||8.4 miles|
|Day 5||East Inlet Trail||14 miles|
|Day 6||Old Ute Trailhead- Poudre's Lakeshort- Fall River Pass- Lunch back in Estes Park and return to DIA||5 miles|
Total hiking mileage: 54.5
Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.