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Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby saragiguere » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:50 am

I am planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in the middle of September and I am wondering what things I absolutely must see or do while I'm there. I live in Vail but have never visited the park. I don't think I will hike Long's - I haven't attempted any class 3 climbs yet, although I may give Wetterhorn a try next week. So, I guess other than Long's, I would greatly appreciate any recommendations anyone may have. And if anyone wants to make a case for Long's, I would love to be talked into it :)

Thank you in advance for your advice!
-Sara

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby SpringsHiker » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:00 am

Besides a hike up Long's, other "must do's" on my list:

The easy hikes right inside the park (near Estes). The first being Alberta Falls; very short and very scenic. The longer, but still very easy hike at just over 2+ miles is the trail that starts at Bear Lake and goes to Nymph, Emerald and Diamond lakes. (I think the last one is Diamond).

The drive up Fall River road, and also the other main pass road (forgetting the name). Both provide amazing views.

Enjoy!
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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby 1moremile » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:03 am

Hi Sara,

You could have a terrific class one and two hike up to the Boulderfield below the Longs Keyhole. Maybe include Chasm Lake. The views are gorgeous and the hike easy-peasy.

Elsewhere in the park, I'd suggest you drive Trail Ridge Road and take a tundra walk either on one of the little spurs near the top or maybe along the Ute trail. You'll almost certainly see scores of elk. I'd recommend Lumpy Ridge for an inspiring trek amongst some unusual --for the park-- rock outcrops. Lumpy is home to Gem Lake, which is another easy-peasy and well worth-it hike. (Every time we're there I ask Wonderhubby to build me one of those in the back yard. :) )

The Flattop, Hallett, Otis hike is a good one and offers nice views.

Oh! And Fall River Road! Yes! Fall River Road! If you are not much for unmaintained dirt roads, though, maybe skip this one.

Well that'll get you started. :D

Edit: cleaned up a couple speeding fingers typos :oops:
Last edited by 1moremile on Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. -Jerry Garcia

Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby lordhelmut » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:14 am

Sara,

definately check out the Glacier Gorge region, accessed from the Estes side of the park, about 15 minutes from downtown Estes actually, down the Bear Lake road, towards the end. The peaks back there (Chief's Head, Spearhead, Arrowhead and McHenry's) are somewhat on the high end of difficulty. A fun, easy outing would be to climb the Spearhead and its dramatic summit. The climb isn't too difficult, it never exceeds class 2+/3, the initial climb to reach the ridge is just a scree slog, then the ridge itself takes a bit of careful route finding but the summit is worth all the effort, probably my favorite summit to date (behind Lone Eagle). The Gorge is definately one of my favorite regions of RMNP and the views of Longs from down there are incredible.

For some easier peaks, anything in the Mummy Range in the Northern regions of the park are all easily accessible, seldom climbed. Ypsilon via Donner Ridge or Fairchild, Mummy, Hagues might be decent options.

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby Gopherboy » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:25 am

My favorite hike is to the Loch from Glacier Gorge trailhead. This takes you past Alberta Falls and you can continue on to Sky Pond or Andrews Glacier. But another must is the Wild Basin area - this is a much less used part of the park and the scenery is spectacular! It also gives you different views of Longs and Meeker.

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby thebeave7 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:47 am

Good suggestions above..
The Loch and Glacier Gorge(both)
Chasm lake/chasm junction
Drive trail ridge rd, watch sunrise from Forest Canyon overlook if you are an early riser
Hike Mt Chapin from Chapin Pass(Old Fall River Rd), great views of Northern park and the divide

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby 12ersRule » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:23 pm

I'd start with Glacier Gorge! The further you hike, the more impressive it gets. I'd recommend going to Mills Lake, Black Lake. Then, checking out Blue Lake, Frozen Lake, Green Lake(?). A lot of peaks back in there too.
In addition to Arrowhead, McHenrys, Spearhead. You can hit Chiefs Head from Stone Man Pass, that's class 2. Pagoda is mostly class 2, with some class 3.

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby 1moremile » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:25 pm

Gopherboy wrote:But another must is the Wild Basin area - this is a much less used part of the park and the scenery is spectacular! It also gives you different views of Longs and Meeker.



:^o

(That place is TERRIBLE, I tell ya! TERRIBLE! Ahem. :-$)
Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. -Jerry Garcia

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby vip-valet1 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:02 pm

As far as day hkes go I recommend the following:

1) Hke from Bear lake to Dream lake and Emeral Lake-only about a 2 mile hike with awsome views of Hallet peak from both lakes

2)Hiking from Glacier Gorge to all sorts of different lakes with all kinds of cool peaks as back drop

If you want a more intimate, quieter hike in forest solitude try west side of the Park in Kawanuchee? Valley along the Colorado river like Bowen and Baker Gulch trails with sections of lush old growth Forests. Or the East or North Inlet Trail(I can't remember which) out of Grand Lake area that also has some nice forest hikes.

And of course don't miss going over Trail Ridge Road- awesome scenery and a chance to take a tundra hike.

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby saragiguere » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:58 pm

Wow - thank you all so much! I really appreciate the recommendations, and the enthusiasm with which they were made - it makes me very glad that I will finally be visiting the park :)

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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby Papillon » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:04 pm

Has anyone on this site ever visited The Jade Pool that Foster mentions in her guide? It is a 1500 foot talus hop up from Emerald Lake. Description and photos make it look and sound pretty slick. It's been on my list for a while but something always supplants it.

I'll echo the others in regards to Glacier Gorge. You pretty much can't lose with any destination although the crowd can be quite thick at Alberta Falls.

Regarding the Flattop-Hallett-Otis ramble, I highly recommend to anyone (if the weather looks good) exploring the Divide further. One can go all the way to Powell Peak before things get frisky with McHenrys Notch. There are great views from Taylor and Powell and if a descent via Andrews Glacier can be made you can cut down the distance and have yourself a fine Tour de Rocky.
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Re: Must See/Must Do in RMNP?

Postby Gary Brady » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:16 pm

Here is my top ten other than Longs in order:

1. Sky pond.
2. Fern Lake.
3. Hallet Peak.
4. Estes Cone.
5. Thunder Lake.
6. Specticle Lakes.
7. Lawn Lake.
8. Black Lake.
9. Twin Sisters
10. Thunder pass.
You guys have fun climbing this weekend. I can't go. Lumbergh's gonna have me come in on Saturday, I just know it.

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