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Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:21 am

Background: Our family spends a ~week in RMNP every September. this year we'll be in the park the afternoon of the 17th through the 20th. we're staying about 2 miles from the Fall River Entrance Station on US-34.

The players:
Me - 34, very good shape (run 30ish miles a week), recent hikes include Barr Trail (should be Barf Trail... that sucked), Twin Sisters, Timberline Falls, Chasm Lake. Mostly immune to altitude issues outside requisite early fatigue.
Mrs Helmet - 34 good shape (runs 10 miles a week), some arthritis issues, stubborn as a mule, not overly adventurous, but amenable to some excitement. Only "peak" to her credit is Lily Mountain, deals with altitude "ok"
Linus - 8, kinda short, kinda skinny, good athlete. good hiker, likes some adventure. Lily Mountain ('12), Chasm Lake ('12), Timberline Falls ('11). Carries ALL his own gear.
Sally - 6, runner, not sure what to make of her as a hiker yet, Liily Mountain ('12), Lily Lake ('12), Dream Lake ('11). Carries most of her own gear
Viloet - 4, built like a tank. she's the unknown... strong, stubborn, and quite certain that anything Sally can do, Violet can do too! I carried her last year up Lily Mountain (OOOF!) her total hiking experience is walking around Lily Lake last year...
Molly - 1, 17lbs? I (obviously) have to carry her... (Kelty Journey 2.0)


the morning of the 18th, I'm doing Chaquita/Ypsilon

the 20th, Linus and I are doing MLW (his first 13er!)


I'd love to do another "easy" peak with the kids the afternoon of the 18th, and then a lake hike on the 19th... Cub Lake is the easiest one we haven't done yet... so that's our default unless we get any better ideas for the Lake Hike... I think the round-trip limit for Violet is going to be about 5miles. someone can carry her for 5-10mins every hour or so, but she'll need to do 90% of her own walking.

Cub Lake's big knock is that its a busy trail... I'd prefer something a little less-busy.

Ideas for an easy peak on the east side?

Ideas for a different Lake hike (will consider Bear Lake area, but I don't know if the road will be done by the time we get there)?


PS I love this site... I ask more stupid questions and get good honest answers 95% of the time.... love it.

and because I think my kids are cute... the "bigs" after their race last week.
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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:27 am

the big kids could do that... no chance Violet could do it, especially on the rocks near the top. (funny story, when I did that last year solo, in the dark, in the rain/snow, I heard a moose very clearly on my way back down. did not expect that).

I wasn't impressed with the views either... mostly because I could barely see 50ft at the summit!

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby hskrhiker » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:59 am

Take a look at Loch Vale.

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby rickinco123 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:06 pm

Since the topic has a similar question to mine..... I'm going to do a little thread hijack.

I'm going to be in Grand Lake in late August. I need a top rope cliff with minimal approach and a low effort high reward hike for my 4 and 6 year old. They have hiked stuff like Mount Bailey and Squaw. Any other recommendations for little ones will be appreciated.

Oh yeah, none of this needs to be in the Park. If it is, great.

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:29 pm

hskrhiker wrote:Take a look at Loch Vale.



that's a thought, although in '11 I was not pleased with the trail from Glacier gorge... very rocky for the first mile+... would be murder on small ankles.

it's also way down BLR... which may/maynot be easily accessible.

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby mathguy » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:48 pm

Dark Helmet wrote:Ideas for an easy peak on the east side?


How's about good ol' Deer Mountain? A bit over 3 miles one way with around 1000 ft gain.
Admittedly the last 2 tenths of a mile are a little rocky and steep, but not anything worse
than Lily Mountain.

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby Dark Helmet » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:07 pm

mathguy wrote:
Dark Helmet wrote:Ideas for an easy peak on the east side?


How's about good ol' Deer Mountain? A bit over 3 miles one way with around 1000 ft gain.
Admittedly the last 2 tenths of a mile are a little rocky and steep, but not anything worse
than Lily Mountain.




I stumbled on that on another list... that's a distinct thought... thanks!

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby cougar » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:04 pm

Tombstone Ridge is a nice easy tundra walk if you start at Ute Crossing up on Trail Ridge Rd with good views. Most of the elevation gain is from driving up the road. It's over 11,000 ft - not really a 'peak' but a ridge with 3 highpoints just above the Ute Trail. It can also be a longer hike from the bottom (Beaver Meadows) but the upper part of the trail at the pass is rough. Sundance Mtn is across the road and a short 12er from there.

Mt Ida is also a good choice but is sort of on the west side (trail starts at Milner Pass) and a bit more work, but similar to Flattop as far as distance and difficulty (8 mi RT, good trail most of the way but a tundra walk near the top where the trail fades out), just less crowded and you get above treeline quicker.

Bear Lake Rd is fine as they are paving this week. The shuttles run through Sept and it's quite passable even now.

lake hike recs: Mills (easy), Fern + Odessa (moderate). Fern/Odessa should have really good foliage around that time, some of the best in the park (on the way to the Pool). Joe Mills Mtn is a nice little mountain off this trail with great views but requires a bit of off-trail travel (about 1/2 mile - there's supposedly an unofficial trail there but I've only done it with snow). Bit of a scramble near the top.

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby Dark Helmet » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:12 am

^^^^ great stuff, thanks! I'll dig around and see what I can find on those this weekend!

West side is tough just because it takes so long to get there... I'm hopeful that Bear Lake Road will be DONE when we get there... that'll make things a LOT simpler!

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby cougar » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:15 pm

one thing to note is the Fern Lake fire burned a lot of the Cub Lake/Fern/Odessa area - all the trails are open but lots of burnt forest. Not sure how the lower part was affected as far as the foliage but I think it burned through there also. Around the lakes shouldn't be bad.

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Re: Flatlander Family Hikes in/near RMNP... mid Sept.

Postby HikingPaleontologist » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:54 pm

I'm new to the site but have been hiking for years in RMNP. I would second the idea for Deer Mountain. I did it a couple of years ago and saw a lot of younger kids on it. It's busy but the view is really great from the top and definitely a do-able trail for kids.

Also a note on the Fern Lake area with the Fern Lake fire. I was backpacking up there a couple of weeks ago and it was actually really gorgeous. The burned area is noticable in places but takes absolutely nothing away from the area! Most of the trail is in an area where there is no burn (at least from Fern lake, not sure on Cub Lake as I didn't go there.). I would highly reccomend Fern/Odessa lake. It's a great hike. I also saw two moose when I was up there near the creek.

Mt.Ida is also another great one (my avatar is from my hike up to Mt.Ida!) I don't know how your four year old one would do on that one. It has just over 2,000 ft of elevation gain while Deer Mountain has just over 1,000. It is a great hike though! It's definitely more difficult from Timber Lake so if you do this one, do it from the Milner Pass Trailhead. I know you said you where doing Chaquita/Ypsilon. Just throwing this idea out there, but you could hike Mt.Chapin (the mountain before you reach Chaquita) with the kids. It has approx. 1,800 ft of elevation gain and has a cool view from the top. Though I don't know how that would work out with how you've scheduled things.

I would also highly suggest Mills Lake ( 5 miles RT, 700 ft. of elevation gain) with a possible extention to Jewell Lake ( 6 miles RT, 710 elevation gain) and if you're all feeling motivated going to Black lake (9.4 miles RT, 1,390ft of elevation gain). The trail continues up to Green, Frozen, and Italy Lake but that would make for an extremely long (and likely for them) an unenjoyable hike for your kids. This is my favorite area of RMNP but Mills Lake is definitely busy!

I know it's not RMNP, but maybe next time visit the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. The hike to Mt.Audubon is only 7.5 miles with 2,700 ft of elevation gain. The Blue Lake hike is also good. I would suggest this area next time you're in Colorado!
Hope you have another great time in RMNP!
Last edited by HikingPaleontologist on Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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