Weekend Hiking Getaway – Rocky Mountain II
Includes all lodging, meals, van shuttles, park entrance fees, leaders, trail maps and narratives.
Timberline van shuttle is included between Denver and Estes Park prior to and following tour.
Not included: Airline service to Denver International Airport; Guide Gratuity.
Hotel 8:00 am
“I like when a hike ends early and the group is treated to a bakery, ice cream or a walk around town” Tom C.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of America’s great scenic treasures. 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. For this gentle Weekend Getaway in the height of summer, the park will be at its warmest, and the wildlife will be active in the higher elevations. It is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the Colorado Rocky mountains!
On Day 1, after the DIA airport pick up, we’ll shuttle past Estes park to Morraine Park – a remnant of the last ice age. We’ll hike through the meadow, over a ridge to a beautiful lake, and around a loop that takes us into the Big Thompson valley. (5 miles)
We have a beloved loop planned on Day 2 starting from the Bear Lake trailhead. The route will take us on a gently meandering trail past some of the most photographed lakes in the park including Bear, Nymph, Dream, Emerald and Lake Haiyaha. Along the route we have stupendous views of the snow topped towering peaks above us. We continue over a rise and down into the Glacier Creek valley, then follow the creek to thundering Alberta Falls, and beyond that into Glacier Gorge and back to the trailhead. (6 miles) We should still have time after the hike to wander a bit around Estes Park which has a quaint, small-town ambiance, before heading up to the famous Stanley Hotel for our evening dinner.
Day 3 we’ll enjoy a drive up the famous Trailridge Road to above treeline. Here an old Indian route has been converted to a gentle trail across the tundra. The Ute trail provides expansive views and alpine tundra scenery while trekking entirely above tree line. This is a moderate trail that continues generally down for two miles next to Tombstone Ridge before reaching the edge of the Mesa high above the Big Thompson valley. Besides commanding views of Long Peak to the south and the Continental Divide to the west, you are likely to see pika, marmot, big horn sheep, mountain goats, elk and deer if you scan the surroundings. From Timberline Pass we return to the van and retrace our route back down to Estes Park and a return to Denver by late afternoon. (4 miles)
|Van shuttle from DIA to Estes, hike Cub Lake and The Pool Loop, Overnight in Estes Park
|Bear Lake Trailhead - Bear, Nymph, Dream, Emerald Lakes., Lake Haiyaha, Alberta Falls, Overnight in Estes Park
|Drive above treeline, hike Ute Trail to Timberline Pass