Longs Peak Loop
- Climb Colorado's most famous peak!
- Breathtaking mountain scenery
- 2 days of acclimatization
- Waterfalls, glaciers & alpine lakes
- Beautiful campsites
- Opportunities to see wildlife
With its summit topping out at an elevation of 14,259 feet, Long's Peak is among the tallest peaks in the Rocky Mountains and is the single tallest peak in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park. You can easily see it for miles in every direction towering above the rest of the Park! This trip acclimatized for 2 days, attempts an ascent of the peak from a high camp (above treeline), and then loops back to our starting point for a 5-day adventure!
We designed the Longs Peak Loop to allow for acclimatization during the first couple days of the hike, increasing the odds of a successful summit bid. The trip takes us through a series of camps, drawing us closer to striking distance of Longs Peak. On Day 4 we'll go for it and, weather permitting, make an attempt for the summit. This route is not for the faint of heart! The summit bid involves steep, exposed scrambling and hiking across boulder fields, snow banks, and steep side slopes. We'll enjoy the summit's 100-mile views for a half hour or so before turning around and returning to camp. The final day of hiking will drop us out of the alpine and take us on a loop hike through stunning meadows and forests back to our starting point.
Trip Dates & Booking
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- Shuttle to trailhead: 25 minutes
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 900 feet
This classic Rocky Mountain National Park backpacking trip starts at a stunning mountain lake. We'll do a final pack fitting before we begin hiking. Our hike takes us along a majestic mountain trail through forests and meadows to a camp at the edge of a meadow. Our first camp is nearly 10,000 feet, which is a great elevation to begin acclimatizing for the higher elevations.
- Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,300 feet
Day 2 is a layover day and features a day hike to the top of Estes Cone (11,006 feet), which will help acclimatize us for our ascent to over 14,000 feet on Long's Peak. We'll have a fairly relaxed morning and big breakfast before setting out for our preparatory summit. Upon our return, the afternoon will be set aside for relaxing, reading, sleeping, or doing some more mellow hiking.
- Hiking Mileage: 6.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 3,500 feet
Day 3 is comprised of nearly all alpine hiking. The mileage is moderate - at six and a half miles - but the elevation gain is considerable. Our camp is over 13,000 feet and is a true alpine camp from which you can see over a hundred miles to the east on a clear day. If time allows after camp is set up, we can make a quick jaunt over to the summit of Storm Peak (13,326 feet). That evening we'll enjoy a big dinner before getting a full night's sleep.
- Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
- Elevation Loss: 3,700 feet
Day 4 is our summit bid. We'll have a quick breakfast and get an early start
to beat the afternoon thunderstorms. Our route takes us above Chasm Lake to incredible vantage points from which to look down on its enchanted waters. We'll also have the opportunity to see a couple glaciers: Mills Glacier and The Dove. Agnes Vaille is another fascinating feature of our hike on Day 4. It's a beehive-shaped, stone structure the National Park Service built in 1927 as a place for hikers to take shelter during thunderstorms or during winter ascents. We'll reach the summit in the late morning, enjoy our achievement for a half hour or so, and then turn back and return to camp.
Please Note: this ascent of Long's Peak is all above an elevation of 13,000 feet and requires hand-and-feet scrambling on steep - and at times exposed - rock slopes. There are inherent objective hazards such as altitude illness, rock fall, items or rocks dropped by other hikers, thunderstorms, heavy winds...etc. There's also no guarantee of reaching the summit - if your guide feels the conditions are creating an unacceptable level of risk he or she will turn the group around.
Upon return to camp, we'll break down tents and pack up, then descend across vast alpine rockfields and slopes, along a beautiful creek, then through dense forests to our last night's camp. Tonight's camp is a quiet one nestled along a mountain creek, and makes for a wonderful last evening in the mountains.
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
- Elevation Loss: 750 feet
- Shuttle to Estes Park: 25 minutes
Our last hike is a relatively short and easy one after all we've done on this trip. Once at the vehicle we'll enjoy a last lunch together and return to Estes Park for much deserved showers and rest!
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
- Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
- Use of trekking poles
- All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
- A professional, knowledgeable, certified Rocky Mountain hiking guide
- Entrance fees and national park permits
- Transportation for the duration of the trip beginning and ending in Estes Park, CO
- Bear cannisters for food storage
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
- You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Clothes, raingear and footwear
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
- Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
- Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
- Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
- Cooking stoves and cookware
- Bear cannisters
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Satellite phone
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).
Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!
You will meet your guide and group in Estes Park, Colorado at the Estes Park Mountain Shop (2050 Big Thompson Ave) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins for an orientation meeting. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip to answer any questions you have, provide you with more details about your exact trip, and coordinate the rendezvous.
Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.
Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).
Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The standard group size on Rocky Mountain National Park backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a private tour maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.
Age restrictions are as follows:
- 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
- 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
- specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis
Being a high mountain environment, the Rocky Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Colorado's high country. On trips in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|
High / Low
Camping on Backpacking Trips
Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.
Fresh & Delicious
Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.
In the Action
Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.