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Flat Tops Classic (Under Construction)


  • Convenience of meeting in Denver
  • First night/dinner at a historic hotel
  • 3 nights in 1 camp with amazing day hikes
  • Wonderful rejuvenating solitude
  • High plateaus, alpine tundra, glacier-carved lakes & more
  • Abundant wildlife: Elk, Moose, Deer & more!


Please Note: The itineraries for our Flat Tops trips are changing in 2018. We are working hard to complete the changes, and will update the website and add trip dates when the changes are complete. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

This four-day backpack is a fantastic choice for families and guests who want an authentic Colorado wilderness experience but only carrying the heavier "backpacking" loads on Days 2 and 5. We utilize one breathtaking campsite for three nights, allowing us to explore the stunning Flat Tops Wilderness on day hikes carrying light day packs on Days 3 and 4.
This hike follows a beautiful loop route, up Fowler Creek to a series of alpine lakes just below treeline. We traverse the two mountain creek drainages toward their headwaters far above on the Flat Tops Plateau. We'll establish our base camp near the shores of a pristine alpine lake where we’ll camp for three nights, and from which we explore the Flat Top Plateau and the extensive alpine lakes, creeks and peaks with two full days of day hiking. We'll keep our eyes peeled for wildlife, snap photos of fields of wild flowers, eat like kings and queens, and sleep under one of the clearest night skies you've ever seen!
Give us a call today at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request more information or book a spot on this 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 the Flat Tops

Thanks to Keith Darnell for Photos 2, 3, and 5-8

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Meeker, CO: 4 hours
Accommodations: The historic Meeker Hotel

We will meet at Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado at 1:00 PM (your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip to coordinate the rendezvous). Union Station is centrally located in downtown Denver, has light rail to and from the airport, provides nearby lodging and multiple dining options. From Denver we will shuttle across the Rocky Mountains to the small, historic town of Meeker, Colorado, which sits below the Flat Tops. We will check into our rooms (included) at the historic Meeker Hotel and Cafe. Staying at the Meeker Hotel is a wonderful pre-trip experience - it was originally established in the 1880's for miners and cattle ranchers, and has accumulated fascinating stories in the century-plus since, including a murder over a poker game in the 1890's.

We will enjoy a classic "Old West" meal in Meeker tonight, over which we'll discuss the specifics of our upcoming adventure. Eventually we'll turn in for a good night's sleep to energize us for our hike.

Day 2

Shuttle to the trailhead: 45 minutes
Hiking Mileage: 6.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2700 feet

From Meeker, Colorado, we make our way on an early shuttle to our trailhead with fresh breakfast in route. This first day we’ll climb just under 3,000 feet at the trail’s highest point, so we’ll want an early start and a measured pace for this long but beautiful day. After a steady climb up the Fowler Creek drainage, we’ll enjoy a hearty lunch near the high point of today’s hike, at the very edge of the Flat Tops plateau that now surrounds us.

We’ll then make our way along the plateau to Clam Lake, our home for the next three nights, and the base from which we’ll explore the surrounding wilderness.

We set up camp, enjoy dinner freshly prepared by your guide, and turn in with stars overhead and plans for tomorrow.

Day 3

Hiking Mileage: up to 10 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 100 feet

On day two we’ll rise to breakfast, prepare our day packs, and begin along the crest of the Flat Tops to White Springs and the Papoose Creek headwaters just beyond them. Depending on the interests of the group, we can even continue along the Oyster Creek trail a bit further if time allows.

We’ll have lunch overlooking the Stillwater Valley from which we began our hike two days earlier, and will enjoy a day entirely above 10,000 feet with mountain views in all directions.

From there it’s back to camp, dinner, and the quiet of wild country.

Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 420 feet

After breakfast we’ll head east on the Oyster Lake trail, where we’ll hike along a series of alpine lakes that dot the plateau, leading to Oyster Lake, the largest of the group and at 10,636 feet in a stunning alpine setting. We’ll enjoy lunch here, explore and/or rest a bit as our interests dictate, and then make our way along the plateau back to camp for dinner, conversation, and our last evening at the Lake.

Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Loss: 2693 feet
Shuttle to Denver: 4 hours

We’ll enjoy a last campsite breakfast this morning, break camp and begin our descent down the Hill Creek drainage (the very creek that drains Clam Lake!) five miles to the Hill Creek trailhead. We’ll enjoy views of the White River National Forest stretching out below us as walk, and we’ll have another excellent opportunity to see a range of wildlife in the forest, meadow, and creekside ecosystems we pass.

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

  • Pick up in Denver with a night of historic lodging and dinner "Old West" style in Meeker, Colorado
  • 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 Colorado hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from Denver, Colorado to the trailhead and back
  • Entrance fees and public lands 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

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.

Gear We Provide

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
  • 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, 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 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 at Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado on Day 1, where we will shuttle to the town of Meeker, Colorado. (Union Station is centrally located in downtown Denver, has light rail to and from the airport, and provides nearby lodging and multiple dining options.) The first night's lodging at a historic lodge and "Old West" style dinner are includedin Meeker. It is also possible to rendezvous in Meeker, if that is more convenient for you.

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

Start/End Times

Your trip officially starts at 1PM on Day 1 with pick up in Denver and shuttle to Meeker, Colorado. Your guide will inform you of the first hiking day's departure time at the orientation meeting on Day 1. 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 in Denver on the final day normally before 7 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.


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.

Guide Working Parameters

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 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.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Flat Tops backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum group size of 8 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)
  • 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

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)
High / Low