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Colorado llama Trek
Rocky Mountain National Park Outfitter
Hikers with Llamas
Backpacking with Llamas
Llama Trekking
Guided Llama Tour
Colorado Llamas
Rocky Mountain National Park llamas

Thunder Lake Llama Adventure

Highlights

  •   Camp near a stunning alpine lake
  •   Hike and bond with llamas
  •   Amazing day hikes into the high country
  •   Reach the Continental Divide
  •   Stunning views and scenery


Description

This llama-supported backcountry trip takes us to the shores of Thunder Lake in the amazing Wild Basin region of Rocky Mountain National Park. Llamas transport our supplies to our campsite where we will settle in for the trip, allowing us to hike with day packs while enjoying a thoroughly authentic backcountry experience. On the final day, the llamas will pack out all the heavy camping gear for us, completing the trip. Our camp is in a Spruce-Fir forest looking down on the clear mountain waters of Thunder Lake, which sits at the bottom of a cirque framed by giant peaks like Tanima Peak (12,420 ft), Chief's Head (13,579 ft) and Mount Alice (13,310 ft). On day hikes from camp we'll ascend into the high country above Thunder Lake, which features stunning waterfalls as well as iconic hiking on classic Rocky Mountain ridges and peaks. On the third day we'll head off trail, making our way up North St. Vrain Creek, past an amazing waterfall, to Eagle Lake and the Moomaw Glacier. The mix of waterfalls, alpine creeks and lakes, and towering mountains make this one of our most popular Colorado trips!

This trip is operated by Wildland Llamas, an authorized guide company and llama outfitter in Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildland Llamas is a separate, partner company of Wildland Trekking with partially shared ownership, guide teams, and infrastructure.

We're Here to Help!
 
Multi-day Llama Trek
Difficulty:
Solitude:
Origin: Estes Park, CO*
4 days
22mi / 35km
$1855 Per Person

* Travel to Estes Park

  See Trip Dates


Trip Dates

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2250 feet
We begin this trip with a beautiful drive from Estes Park to our Wild Basin trailhead where we will pack up and complete a llama orientation. Then we'll hit the trail! After less than an hour of hiking we come to Copeland Falls, a mesmerizing cascade along North St. Vrain Creek. The rest of today's hike continues up North St. Vrain Creek, eventually bringing us to the shores of Thunder Lake. Our camp is a short distance from the lake, with breathtaking views into the mountain cirque above the lake and the high country’s snow-capped peaks. After a wonderful first night's dinner and a Rocky Mountain sunset, we’ll settle in for a peaceful night's rest.
Day 2
  • Hiking Distance: 6+ miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1500 feet
Today we'll enjoy a leisurely morning and feast of a breakfast before setting off on our day hike. Leaving our llama friends in camp, we'll head out for a day of hiking and exploring in the higher mountains. We'll start by heading west from camp through wildflower-laden meadows and pristine subalpine forests to the spine of the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide. A few hundred feet below the Divide, with permanent snow surrounding its shores, Lake of Many Winds offers us a perfect spot for a break, with breathtaking views of Longs Peak, the entire Wild Basin drainage, and of the plains of the Front Range extending east from the foothills. We'll traverse around the lake and up to the Divide for a picnic lunch in front of one of the most dramatic panoramas you've ever seen. Eventually we'll return to camp for a relaxing evening and another delicious backcountry dinner.
Day 3
  • Hiking Distance: 5+ miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1250 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1250 feet
Today after breakfast we again leave our llama friends in camp and hike off trail up a pristine mountain creek. We'll take a break at Martensia Falls, a very tall, sheer waterfall that plunges through a narrow chasm in the towering cliffs above us. Today's destinations are Box Lake and Eagle Lake, two remote, beautiful alpine lakes below the Continental Divide. Surrounded by boulder fields, scree and meadows, this place is one you won't want to leave! We'll sit down for a picnic lunch near one of the lakes and take plenty of time to soak up the magic of where we are. Eventually we'll head back to camp for a celebratory final dinner and our last night in the backcountry.
Day 4
  • Hiking Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 2250 feet
  • Shuttle to Estes Park: 30 minutes
No rush today! We'll take our time breaking down camp, then load up the llamas, shoulder our light packs, and begin our descent back to the trailhead. We’ll enjoy an alternative route back that takes us along Ouzel Creek to two different waterfalls we didn't see on our way in. At our trailhead we'll pack up the gear, say goodbye to the llamas and shuttle you back to Estes Park for much deserved showers and relaxation. What a week it's been!



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

  • Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food
  • One or more professional, knowledgeable, certified Colorado hiking guides
  • 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
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Estes Park, Colorado to the trailhead and back
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your 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 (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
See the Packing List 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 or Mountain Hardware tents
  • Sierra Designs sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
  • Mountain Safety Research cookware
  • Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • 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 waterbottles per person, either a headlamp or flashlight per person, and a lightweight waterproof stuff sac for your clothes and belongings. 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, 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

Where Do We Meet?

You will meet your guide and group in Estes Park, Colorado at the Estes Park Mountain Shop (2050 Big Thompson Ave) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins for an orientation meeting. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip to answer any questions you have, provide you with more details about your exact trip, and coordinate the rendezvous.

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

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional Wyoming 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, training in llama-handling, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size

The standard ratio of guests to guides on llama trips is 1 guide for 1-4 guests; 2 guides for 5-8 guests; and 3 guides for 9-10 guests. This trip currently has a max group size of 5 guests do to a campsite that is temporarily closed. 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.


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°

Camping on Llama Hiking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on llama treks is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your trekking guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your llama trekking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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