Best of Rocky Mountain Tour
- Guides Choice inn-based trip
- The best hikes and scenery in Rocky
- High peaks, alpine tundra & waterfalls
- Abundant wildlife habitat
- Wonderful mountain lodging & meals
- Amazing natural and cultural history
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.
Trip Dates & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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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. Starting at 11,400 Feet, we'll begin our hiking tour on the famous Ute Trail. This trail provides superb views of summits, ancient volcanoes, glaciers, and often wildlife. From our vantage point we will have an amazing view of tomorrow's adventures.
After our starter hike, we will continue down the road for another brief hike at The Alpine Ridge visitor center. This viewpoint resides above the headwaters of the Colorado River and offers breath taking views of the Never Summer Range.
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.
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 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.
Our time spent hiking at altitude has prepared us for an ambitious hike to the Chasm Cirque. Our trail begins with a steep start and gradually eases as we crest above tree line and are welcomed with a view of Long's Peak. Arriving to Chasm Lake, one can not help being enthralled by the 1,800 foot vertical cliff known as "The Diamond." A world-famous climb, we’ll likely see rock climbers high above us on this granite wall while we enjoy lunch. We will take our time returning the way we came, while enjoying the countless wildflowers that seemingly bring the mountain meadows to life.
- 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 Gem Lake Trailhead, nestled within the ancient granite cliffs and boulders of Lumpy Ridge. We will hike in a labyrinth of rock formations, while taking in amazing views of the country we’ve walked through the previous days. The route provides excellent opportunities for photography, relaxation, and serves as a great last hike. After lunch at the lake, we’ll make our way back to Estes Park to conclude our tour.
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.
- 4 nights of premier lodging in Estes Park (Lodging Details)
- 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!
- 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)
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.
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
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 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.
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).
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 this hiking tour is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a 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)
- 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
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
Inn on Fall River
This extremely cozy, scenic lodge is located on the shores of a majestic mountain creek and offers a natural but modern lodging experience perfect for our Rocky Mountain adventure.