Photo: Russ Nordstrand

Premier Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Rocky Mountain Snowshoe Tour

Highlights

  • The magic of Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park in winter
  • Wide variety of stunning mountain scenery
  • Solitude and stillness of snowy forests & meadows
  • Cozy accommodations and wonderful meals
  • Chance to see moose, elk, fox, ptarmigan, & more
  • Amazing natural and cultural history

Description

Discover the Colorado Rockies in winter on our 4-Day Inn-Based Rocky Mountain National Park Snowshoe Adventure. We offer an in-depth experience - we’ll traverse beneath the high peaks near the Continental Divide, cross frozen mountain lakes, explore mountain meadows where Elk, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Lynx, and even the rare Wolverine may be seen. Absorb the magic of winter stillness and solitude by day, and enjoy cozy lodging and wonderful meals in the evenings!
Our daily itineraries are selected to highlight the diversity and beauty of the ecosystems within the Park - we take the same care in selecting quality mountain lodging and meals to ensure your experience is exceptional.

Whether you’ve never donned a pair of snowshoes, or are a seasoned winter traveler in search of new terrain, join us - You’ll experience the Rocky Mountains the way very few do!
Please don't hesitate to give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request more information or reserve a spot on a trip!
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

Shuttle to trailhead: 20 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 900 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)

The first day of this Rocky Mountain National Park snowshoe tour brings us into the valley of the Big Thompson River in Moraine Park, as we snowshoe through a landscape filled with the sights and sounds of past glacial activity here. Our route is great for our first day in Rocky, as it begins at a relatively low altitude, giving us the opportunity to adjust to the thin air before we head higher in coming days.

We’ll see waterfalls, large "glacial erratics" (boulders left behind as the ice receded), and mountain lakes carved into granite bowls. This large valley of Moraine Park is also well-known for abundant wildlife.

Our trek follows an open corridor into Fern Canyon. The way is gentle and perfect for getting the feel of our gear and making adjustments along the way.

We’ll continue along the Big Thompson River to The Pool, a roaring confluence of water deep in the scoured granite. Along this route we’ll also see Windy Gulch Cascades high above the canyon floor, and we’ll pass through Arch Rocks, massive boulders left along our path by ancient rivers and ice.

After lunch at the Pool we’ll circle south toward Cub Lake, up a large glacial moraine, a ridge of sand and stone created as a glacier swept through this valley. We first see Cub Lake from high above, framed by the mountains of Glacier Gorge, then we make our way to shoreline where we’re likely to see an array of wildlife, particularly elk and possibly moose as well. This area experienced a large fire in 2012 - even as the effects of this fire are still evident, new vegetation is returning and providing an important food supply for these large mammals. From there it’s a short trek back to our trailhead, and then to our lodge for a great dinner and relaxing evening.


Day 2

Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 940 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)


After breakfast we’ll saddle up and make our way into the high country near the Continental Divide: we’ll gear up at the Bear Lake trailhead and head east on the Bear Lake Trail. After circling around the lake’s eastern edge, we’ll gain the Flattop Ridge and begin our traverse through a truly beautiful subalpine forest.

Today’s trek marks a gentle traverse and descent through high subalpine forest, past alpine lakes, and into the rich high meadow of Hollowell Park a thousand feet below!

We’ll take our time here, as we’ll have spectacular views of the high peaks all around us en route to Bierstadt Lake, at 9,320ft. Views of Longs Peak from here are stunning. After a hearty lunch we’ll begin our descent from the ridge into Hollowell Park, where again we’re likely to see a range of wildlife along Mill Creek, which helped carve this beautiful valley.

After a full day at altitude, it’s back then to Estes and our evening.


Day 3

Shuttle to trailhead: 1 hour
Hiking Mileage: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 870 feet
Accommodations: Stanley Hotel (or similar equivalent in Estes Park)


Day three finds us in the quiet, lush environs of Wild Basin. After breakfast and our shuttle to this southern and less-traveled region of the Park, and with a stop for a look at the old Enos Mills homesite and the dramatic east face of Longs Peak, we’ll begin our trek along the North Saint Vrain creek into Wild Basin proper.

Our route takes us along the creekside access road (closed and snowy for us!) to the Wild Basin trailhead; we’ll follow the creek past Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades, which will be frozen into crystalline ice flows amongst the spruce/fir and drifts of snow.

Our trail then steepens as we approach Ouzel Falls. Distant mountains come into view as we walk. Ouzel Falls will likely be frozen solid as well - a natural sculpture before us as we enjoy lunch and views of the Continental Divide to the west.

Following lunch we’ll make our way back down trail the way we came, to our shuttle, through the Tahosa Valley and to our lodge as dusk descends and dinner awaits.


Day 4

Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 400 feet


Our last morning together we’ll enjoy a final trek into the canyon of Fall River, where we’ll stretch our legs with a beautiful snowshoe to Chasm Falls. We’ll have an early lunch at the Falls, which will be encased in ice as water rushes through a narrow granite slot in the gorge. The high massif of Trail Ridge looms overhead to the south as we make our way up the trail.

After some last quiet time in this special place we’ll return to our shuttle and to Estes for departures.


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

  • 3 nights of lodging in Estes Park at the historic Stanley Hotel or similar equivalent
  • Snowshoes and trekking poles
  • Top-of-the-line daypack
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Daily hot drinks "on the trail"
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Colorado snowshoeing 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
  • Snowshoes
  • 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, sunglasses and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, 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


Winter Weather in the Colorado Rockies

Being a high mountain environment, Rocky Mountain National Park is prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. Winter can be cold and snowy or mild, depending on the year. 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
 
December
40°
18°
 
January
39°
16°
 
February
41°
17°