Photo: Russ Nordstrand

Premier Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Best of Rocky Mountain Tour

Highlights

  • Guides Choice inn-based trip in Rocky Mountain
  • The best hikes and scenery Rocky has to offer
  • High peaks, alpine tundra, headwaters, waterfalls & more
  • Abundant wildlife habitat
  • Wonderful mountain lodging & meals
  • Amazing natural and cultural history

Description

Our 5-Day Best of Rocky Mountain National Park is an inn-based immersion in the ecology, human, and natural history of Rocky Mountain National Park. From our base in comfortable and historic lodging in Estes Park, Colorado, we’ll experience all of the diversity the Park has to offer: from pristine mountain lakes to high peaks and alpine glaciers, to the iconic Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep - our hikes are chosen to highlight the most remarkable features of this National Park.
We begin our tour from our lodging base in Estes Park, Colorado, gateway to Rocky. We’ll stay at a lovely lakeside lodge minutes from the National Park boundary, with each day of adventure designed to create a unique experience and window into the Park’s variety and beauty.
Join us for an exploration of the very best of Rocky Mountain National Park – give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more and make your reservation today!
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Land Above the Trees

Shuttle to trailhead: 2 hours
Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 600 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)

This Rocky Mountain National Park hiking tour begins with a day of high country exploration and acclimatization, as we spend much of our first day above treeline, touring the highest continuous paved road in the United States. We’ll walk the Ute Trail, an important travel and trade route over the Continental Divide for native peoples, we’ll see evidence of volcanoes and glaciers, and if our luck holds we’ll see elk, bighorn sheep, and perhaps even the very rare and elusive wolverine, which is slowly returning to remote areas within Colorado. We’ll then hit the trail, beginning at the headwaters of the Colorado River, and ascending above treeline to a remarkable vista of Mt. Ida, the Medicine Bow, Stormy Peaks, and Never Summer mountain ranges that surround us.

We’ll then retrace our route down Trail Ridge Road, where we’ll stop in at Fall River Pass and from there back into Estes Park for dinner, conversation, and preparation for tomorrow. This return trip holds a strong possibility for sightings of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. At Rock Cut, we’ll view Longs Peak and Glacier Gorge in the distant splendor of late afternoon.

Please Note: We’ll always have good alternatives if weather or other factors require an itinerary change. Also, it’s important to dress in layers and prepare for cold and windy conditions above treeline.


Day 2: Alpine Rivers, Waterfalls and Lakes

Shuttle to trailhead: 1 hour
Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1520 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)


Today we’ll find the pleasures and power of mountain water: from rushing rivers and waterfalls, to high mountain lakes. Our hike will take us through the reaches of Wild Basin, a wildlife- and flower-strewn region of the Park. Moose have recently been seen in this river valley as well!

We’ll hike along the North Saint Vrain River, past Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls to Ouzel Lake and the mountain cirque that envelopes it. From there, time and interest permitting, we’ll continue along to the higher reaches of Bluebird Lake and take in another view of the Continental Divide beyond. From there it’s back down trail to our lodging, where evening dinner awaits.


Day 3: Mountain Cirques and High Peaks

Shuttle to trailhead: 20 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1440 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)


Day 3 will find us headed into the land of glaciers, past and present. We’ll make an "alpine start", with an early breakfast and early departure to Glacier Gorge, the trailhead from which we’ll begin our ascent.

Our route will take us past Alberta Falls, into the sub-alpine forest, and from to a emerald string of mountain lakes, from Mills to Jewel, and at last to Black Lake, which sits in a silent and imposing mountain cirque, testament to the power of glacial ice. We’ll enjoy a hearty lunch, scope out the granite crags above us, including Spearhead and Keyboard of the Winds, before making our way home to Estes for the evening. On our return we’ll get great views of Andrews Glacier, the pyramidal Storm Peak, and the stark vastness of Longs Peak, Pagoda, and Chiefs Head mountains.


Day 4: Chasm Lake and Longs Peak

Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 9+ miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2380 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)


The time we’ve spent on the trail and at altitude this week have prepared us by Day 4 for this hike above treeline to the vastness of the Chasm Cirque and the 1,800 vertical "Diamond" above it. A world-famous climb, we’ll likely see technical climbers high above us on this granite wall, as we enjoy views of the Mills Glacier, The Ships Prow, Mt. Meeker, and the Longs Peak summit from our vantage on the shores of Chasm Lake. After lunch we’ll make our way down, past Jim’s Grove, Alpine Brook, and on the route taken by Isabella Bird in 1873 after her ascent of the Peak.


Day 5: Lumpy Ridge and Gem Lake

Shuttle to trailhead: 10 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1000 feet


Our final day together we’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast then make our way to the Gem Lake trailhead and from there to Gem Lake, nestled within the ancient granite cliffs and boulders of Lumpy Ridge. As we walk, we’ll take in panoramic views of the Longs Peak, the Continental Divide, Trail Ridge… much of the country we’ve walked through these past days. The route provides excellent opportunities for photography. After lunch at the lake, we’ll return to our hotel and trip’s end.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • 4 nights of lodging in Estes Park at the historic Stanley Hotel or similar equivalent
  • Top-of-the-line daypack and trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Colorado hiking guide
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour (beginning and ending in Estes Park)
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • 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!

What's Not Included

  • 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)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

We provide all your meals from breakfast the first day through lunch the last day. Your guide will prepare breakfasts and lunches with a variety of hot and cold meals that are appropriate for the day's activities. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

For dinners, we've hand-picked local restaurants you're sure to enjoy! We made our decisions based on the quality of their food, their charm, and how much local color and character they have.

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.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

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.


What Clothes to Bring

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.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form 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 48 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!


Where Do We Meet?

You will meet your guide and group in Estes Park, Colorado at 8:30 AM the first day of the trip (if staying in Denver, Estes Park Shuttle offers a 5:00-8:00 am shuttle). Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip and will specify the exact location of the orientation meeting at that point.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

You will meet your guide and group in Estes Park at 8:30 am the first day of the trip. 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).


Safety Considerations

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.


Guides

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.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this hiking tour is a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 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)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Colorado Rockies

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)
     
 
Month
High / Low
 
June
71°
48°
 
July
79°
55°
 
August
78°
53°
 
September
69°
45°