Flat Tops Guides
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Flat Tops Explorer

Highlights

  • Convenience of meeting in Denver
  • First night/dinner at a historic hotel
  • Wonderful rejuvenating solitude
  • Ascent two Flat Tops peaks
  • Unique creeks tumbling from the high country
  • High plateaus, alpine tundra, glacier-carved lakes & more
  • Abundant wildlife habitat

Description

This four-day backpack is a fantastic choice for families and guests who want an authentic Colorado wilderness experience. Our hike follows a beautiful loop route, from beautiful Trappers Lake through an alpine valley above tree line. Establishing camp in a stunning spot surrounded by pristine alpine lakes, we will spend a day exploring the peaks and lakes on the Flat Tops Plateau. Then we'll move camp on day four with a hike to Wall Lake, enabling us to explore more terrain and take advantage of the opportunity to summit Trappers Peak (12,002 ft./ 3,658 m.). Returning to civilization will come far too soon after experiencing this such beauty, adventure and solitude!
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Trip Dates

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

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: 90 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
After a filling breakfast we’ll make our way to Trappers Outlet trailhead at 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters. Leaving roads, cell service, and people behind we begin hiking South along the lakeshore. Endless views of mountain meadows and sheer cliffs surround us immediately. After our first mile, the trail departs from the lake and gradually gains elevation along Fraser Creek. As we hike up the valley keep a watchful eye for moose, elk, deer, and the Colorado Cutthroat trout that fill the streams. After a fulfilling day of hiking we will rise out of the valley onto the plateau. As we will now be near the tree line at 11,000 feet/ 3,353 meters, one can understand how this region earned the name Flat Tops. After your guide locates a campsite to stage the next day’s adventures, we will wrap up the evening with dinner. As the sun sets, expect to see the clearest night skies you may ever witness.
Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 6-8 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1000 feet
With our camp staged in a prime location, we are in day hiking distances from pristine alpine lakes and the regions tallest mountain peaks. Starting our day early to avoid afternoon storms we will set out for our adventure. Depending on weather and groups desirability, we may choose to hike to the summit of Shingle Peek (11,996 ft./ 3656 m). The regions peaks are amongst the highest in the Flat Tops and offer views up to one hundred miles away. Equally as stunning in beauty, yet an easier hiking day can be spent at one of the many alpine lakes secluded beneath a stunning cirque of cliffs offering great fishing and relaxation. There is no wrong choice in how the day is spent.
Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 feet
Today we will pack camp and hike Northwest along the Wall Lake Trail. After four miles of easy terrain through the meadows, we will drop our packs near Wall Lake. After breaking we will grab our day packs and hike another mile to Trappers Peak (12,002 ft./ 3,658 m). The summit offers a superb vantage point of the terrain we covered the previous days and a view of one hundred alpine lakes. After making our way back, we will set up camp and bring our last evening to a close with a hearty dinner.
Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1300 feet
  • Shuttle to Denver: 6 hours
We’ll enjoy our last campsite breakfast, break camp, and continue North along our trail. As we walk we’ll have another excellent opportunity to see wildlife in the forest, meadow, and creeks we pass. Making our way off the Plateau, we will return to Trappers Lake and trailhead in time for lunch. After sorting gear and taking in the last moments of wilderness, we will start our shuttle back to Denver. Anticipate returning to Denver generally before 7pm.



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? 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!


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.


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.


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/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.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Flat Tops backpacking trips is 6 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 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


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°