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Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

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Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby stlouishiker » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:34 pm

Hey, I am in the process of planning a trip to Colorado in June with some Scouts. We were going to spend 3 days exploring Rocky Mountain National Park and I would like some ideas on the best dayhikes in the eastern part of the park. Perferably less than 7 miles and 2500 ft of elevation gain. Ideas for a one night backpacking trip in the park would also be helpful. Thanks.

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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby Gary Brady » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:46 pm

All of the hikes from the Bear Lake trail head are worth considering. Also the Cub Lake trail head has several hikes worth while with easy to moderate elevation gain. I have backpacked several times in the park and the sites from cub lake TH have been the best. Keep in mind, It is good idea to try get acclimated before you try to sleep too high. You might consider sleeping in the campground the first 2 nights.
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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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby George James » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:56 pm

Hey Saint Louis!

Twin Sisters Peaks could be a good dayhike for you to check out, I liked it a lot...Scout's Honor! :D

Also take a look at this page, it's jam packed with good information and links. The "Trailheads and Peaks" section about 2/3 of the way down offers easy access to lots of other ideas.

I hope that helps you get started, and you have a great trip! Good luck with the planning! :mrgreen:
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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby thetoddman » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:15 pm

I'd highly recommend Mt. Ida (12,900). From the Milner pass trailhead, it pretty much meets the upper limits of your distance and elevation gain criteria and has great views of Longs Peak, the Never Summer Range, Grand lake/Lake Granby, and the upper Gorge Lakes.

EDIT - Actually just re-read your post. This hike is on the western side of Trial Ridge Road so may not be what your after location wise. Milner Pass is just a few miles west of the alpine visitor center at the top of the road.

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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby jreid06 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:21 pm

Check out the Wild Basin area. There are a bunch of very good hikes in that area. One of my favorites is Thunder Lake. It is a modest 6-7 mile hike to get there with plenty of areas to explore around it. There are monster fish in the lake and it has good campsites.

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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby Gary Brady » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:26 pm

Totally agree with the Thunder Lake suggestion below. Favorite Lake Hikes: Fern Lake and Sky Pond. Easy mountains: Flattop Mountain and Deer Mountain.
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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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby bohlsen » Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:20 pm

Pretty much any of the lakes in Glacier Basin going up from Bear Lake are incredible and within your limits. Also the Flattop Mtn trail starts there which is a great hike (a little longer than what you were looking for) and I've heard its great for backpacking.

Also Gem Lake, Fern Falls/Fern Lake and Ouzel Falls/Ouzel Lake (wild basin) are great, easy day hikes.

If you wanted a challenge you might try doing Longs Peak. It's very long (15 miles RT and almost 5000 ft of gain) and somewhat challenging at points technically, but you could turn it into two days if you hiked up and camped at the boulder field.
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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby JimR » Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:28 pm

Chasm Lake is a reasonable day hike, with an awesome view of Longs. Flattop would also be a good day hike, and the ambitious can go up Hallet from there. The Glacier Gorge hikes are also nice. For the backpack, I'd go with Thunder Lake; that would also give you a taste of Wild Basin. Have fun.
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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby Floyd » Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:55 pm

Depending on the number of cars you have to your disposal, a backpack from Bear Lake to Grand Lake is my #1 choice but requires a vehicle shuttle.

For day Hikes stick with the Bear Lake area - Mills Lake (can continue to Black Lake) or the trail to Loch Vale are my favorites.

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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby Tory Wells » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:19 pm

+1 for Glacier Gorge, which has already been mentioned as Mills Lake and Black Lake. IMO it is the best hike in the park. Chasm Lake on the Longs Peak trail is a close second.
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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby Greenhouseguy » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:43 pm

ezsuperkev wrote:Hey, Sorry to hijack but.....

How is RMNP in the 1st week of December. Will you typically need snowshoes ??


My first day of snowshoeing last year was December 9th (at Brainard Lake, just south of RMNP); you can't really predict what kind of snow we might get. Most of the popular trails at RMNP get packed down so hard that you usually don't need snowshoes for the first few miles, unless there's fresh snow.
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Re: Best Dayhike in Rocky Mt. National Park

Postby bblack99 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:58 pm

What's up, East Side?!? Good to see fellow Missourians digging into the fun in Colorado!

I used to hit RMNP pretty hard before I caught 14er fever and fell in love with the Dillon/Silverthorne/Frisco area. Try this site... http://www.rmnpforums.com and its link to Trail Guide (http://veiks.com/trails/). I have to say it's my favorite set of RMNP resources, although the SummitPost site mentioned earlier is great as well.

Some suggestions (tried to scale it based on your criteria):
Easy, super-short: Bear Lake TH -> Nymph/Dream/Emerald - might be the best bang for your buck, but go early before the 80000000 tourists show up around 10am

Easy-Moderate: Longs Peak TH -> Estes Cone (class 2+ scramble at the top, about 30-50ft) AWESOME views of Longs Peak, but shifty weather

Moderate: Glacier Gorge TH -> Alberta Falls/Mills Lake (continuing to Black Lake is totally worth it, but takes you up to 10mi, and you can't just stop there, you'll want to continue...it's addictive!)

Moderate-High: Chapin Creek TH -> CCY (Chapin + Chiquita would meet your criteria nicely, going on to Ypsilon might make it a bit much) ... the awesome part here is taking Old Fall River Road up, but it's only open July-September

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