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Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park

Program Number: 4819RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/9/2014 - 3/14/2014; 8/31/2014 - 9/5/2014; 3/15/2015 - 3/20/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Estes Park, Colorado
Price starting at: $995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Experience a hiking adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park, home to emerald-tinted lakes and thick forests of the Continental Divide. Led by naturalist guides, hike the area's unique ecosystems and the heart of the National Park as you observe wildlife and majestic scenery. Travel past glistening streams and waterfalls and above the forests to a landscape opening to the barren moonscape of Mills Lake and the fragile treeless tundra of the Longs Peak massif. A special treat is a drive over Trail Ridge Road, America's highest continuous road at 12,100 feet, where herds of elk graze along the roadside.




Highlights

• Discover Rocky Mountain National Park’s pristine and less-traveled southern portion known as Wild Basin.
• Hike the headwaters of the Big Thompson River to Cub Lake and the amazing alpine glacial valleys Glacier Gorge and Loch Val.
• Explore areas where Elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares, and many other mammals inhabit year round.



Activity Particulars

Hiking 8-12 miles a day. Elevations of 8,000-11,000 feet.




Date Specific Information

3-9-2014

This week explore Rocky Mountain National Park by snowshoe and see the beauty of nature during the national park’s quietest season. Rentals are included but you are encouraged to bring your own snowshoes. Participants will be split into groups by ability. Reflected sunlight sparkles in the snow. Tracks of tiny mice and great elk cross your trail. Daily snowshoe hikes reveal the beauty that is unique to winter. Here are ice filled cascades and waterfalls, and massive peaks with glimmering snow against dark rock. Elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares, and many other mammals remain active in the park through the winter, covered in dense winter coats. Learn how plants and animals survive wintertime using their unique adaptations and keen survival skills. Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park is a beautiful time full of crisp adventures. As Trail Ridge Road is not fully open in March, we will explore those roads that remain open. Activity Notes: Moderately Challenging snowshoe hikes of approximately 4-7 miles per day with elevation gains of less than 1,000 feet Elevation for this course will be approximately 10,000 feet. Significant time will be spent outdoors in winter conditions. Dress in layers and be prepared for winter weather conditions that may vary greatly and change abruptly.



3-15-2015

This week explore Rocky Mountain National Park by snowshoe and see the beauty of nature during the national park’s quietest season. Rentals are included but you are encouraged to bring your own snowshoes. Participants will be split into groups by ability. Reflected sunlight sparkles in the snow. Tracks of tiny mice and great elk cross your trail. Daily snowshoe hikes reveal the beauty that is unique to winter. Here are ice filled cascades and waterfalls, and massive peaks with glimmering snow against dark rock. Elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares, and many other mammals remain active in the park through the winter, covered in dense winter coats. Learn how plants and animals survive wintertime using their unique adaptations and keen survival skills. Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park is a beautiful time full of crisp adventures. As Trail Ridge Road is not fully open in March, we will explore those roads that remain open. Activity Notes: Moderately Challenging snowshoe hikes of approximately 4-7 miles per day with elevation gains of less than 1,000 feet Elevation for this course will be approximately 10,000 feet. Significant time will be spent outdoors in winter conditions. Dress in layers and be prepared for winter weather conditions that may vary greatly and change abruptly.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Estes Park

In a high mountain valley 7,522 feet above sea level is Estes Park, a village once home to members of the Clovis culture that first crossed the Bering Strait land bridge into North America. Named for adventurer Joel Estes, the town is a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, a spectacular wilderness protected for millions to enjoy every year.



Accommodations
Comfortable motel close to National Park; restaurant meals.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Ryan Kirkpatrick

Ryan Kirkpatrick is the director of operations for Mountains & Plains Institute for Lifelong Learning and Service, and has led hundreds of Road Scholar programs since 2003. A native of Colorado, Ryan has a master’s in sports science, is a Wilderness First Responder, and a “Master Naturalist” for the city of Fort Collins. In addition, he is an ASEP certified instructor and received his Level 1 USATF Coaching Certification from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He is also a volunteer nordic ski ranger for the Colorado State Forest, and as a photographer is a member of Canon Professional Services.
 
Peter McCarville

Peter McCarville is a consulting geologist, geological instructor and educator who has lived in Colorado on the western slope since 1995. He also works as an instructor and program designer for Mountains and Plains Institute (MPILLS), leading hiking and skiing excursions, while making cameo appearances as a geology expert on other programs. He has a wonderful ability to convey complex natural history in layman's terms.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   YMCA of the Rockies
  Estes Park, CO 5 nights
 YMCA of the Rockies
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Graced by the awe-inspiring mountains, elk, deer and other wildlife and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, YMCA of the Rockies’ Estes Park Center offers a wholesome, spiritual environment where families, friends and groups will be inspired by Nature and grow closer together. Surrounded on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park, which was recently recognized as the #1 Outdoor & Adventure Destination in the United States, Estes Park Center is a unique mountain community offering more recreational and programming activities than any other area property. In addition to wildlife viewing, activities include individual and guided hiking tours into the park, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, hayrides, a zip line, two performing arts centers, a variety of educational programs and of the finest craft shops in America.
  Contact info: 2515 Tunnel Road
Estes Park, CO 80511 USA
phone: 800-777-9622
web: http://www.ymcarockies.org/estes-park-center-colorado.html
  Facility amenities: Free wireless Internet access Swimming pool on site
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrive and lodge check-in 3-5:00 pm. Required orientation at 5:00 pm. You will be staying at YMCA of the Rockies that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Room check-out is 10:00 am. You will be staying at YMCA of the Rockies the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk-Liability Waiver Form to be mailed back to Mountains and Plains Institute office.
  Parking availability:
No charge
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Estes Park, CO
  Nearest city or town:  Loveland
  Nearest highway: US 34/36
  Nearest airport:  Denver International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Estes Park, CO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Estes Park

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
See below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

2.5 

 

Distance:

 

100 miles

   

Denver International Airport (DEN) is closest airport. Commercial shuttle is Estes Park Shuttle, reservations required, 970-586-5151

 
Driving Directions
  YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park from Denver Driving Directions to Estes Park Center from Denver International Airport: Exit airport via Pena Blvd. #6B/E-470 TOLLWAY NORTH onto E-470 NORTH toward Fort Collins Take exit #47 onto I-25 NORTH toward Fort Collins Exit at #243 toward Lyons/Longmont Turn left on CO-66 Follow signs for 36 West (go through the towns of Longmont and Lyons) Turn left on Elkhorn Ave. Turn left on Moraine Ave. Continue in the right hand lane around curve (by Big Slide and Doughnut Haus) Drive straight through Mary's Lake Rd. Intersection and stay in the left lane. US-36 becomes CO-66 Look for signs. Estes Park Center entrance will be on your right-hand side.
Elevation Note: Estes Park is at 7,522 ft, hikes will be 8,000-11,000 ft.

Equipment Requirements: Snowshoes are required. There are several local companies that rent snowshoes, or you may bring your own. Significant time will be spent outdoors in winter conditions. Dress in layers and be prepared for winter weather conditions that may vary greatly and change abruptly. Recommended list will be mailed.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive and lodge check-in 3-5:00 pm. Required orientation at 5:00 pm.
(Sunday, March 9)

Note: All of our snowshoe hikes this week will be in Rocky Mountain National Park, routes selected will depend upon fitness of the group, and will allow for adjusting to altitude and difficulty as week progresses.



   
 Arrive To: Arrive and lodge check-in 3-5:00 pm. Required orientation at 5:00 pm. Welcome to the program! Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park by snowshoe is a wondrous experience and allows you to see the beauty of nature during the national park’s quietest season.
 Dinner: Our dinner tonight will be in the cafeteria
 Evening: Introductions, planning for the week
   
Accommodations: YMCA of the Rockies
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Snowshoe to Cub Lake in Moraine Park
(Monday, March 10)

Note: Trailhead elevation is 8,250 feet. Today's hike is 6 miles round trip with a maximum elevation gain/loss of 540 feet. Highest elevation gained is 8,800 feet.



   
 Breakfast: Full Breakfast in the cafeteria
 Morning: Reflected sunlight sparkles in the snow. Tracks of tiny mice and great elk cross your trail. Daily snowshoe hikes reveal the beauty that is unique to winter. Our first hike is on The Cub Lake winter trail that begins in the willows along the Big Thompson River and continues upward through stands of pine and aspen. We will pass through a varied landscape of moraines, cliffs, streams, and frozen ponds. This hike may be combined with The Pool hike for a six-mile loop. The Pool is a turbulent water pocket formed below the confluences of Spruce and Fern Creeks with the Big Thompson River. While hiking this trail along the Big Thompson River, look for beaver-cut aspen, frozen waterfalls on the cliffs, and the Arch Rocks.
 Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail
 Afternoon: After the completion of our snowshoe hike, we'll make a stop at the Beaver Meadows visitor center, then return to our lodging.
 Dinner: Our dinner tonight will be in the cafeteria
 Evening: Free for reflection, relaxation
   
Accommodations: YMCA of the Rockies
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Hike to Emerald Lake
(Tuesday, March 11)

Note: Trailhead elevation is 9,275 feet. Today's hike is 4 miles round trip depending upon options with a maximum elevation gain/loss of 600 feet. Highest elevation gained is 10,500 feet. There will also be an optional afternoon additional snowshoe hike.



   
 Breakfast: Full Breakfast in the cafeteria
 Morning: Today we will snowshoe to Emerald Lake. This has everything a winter aficionado needs; wind swept trees, frozen lakes, and towering peaks. Here are ice filled cascades and waterfalls, and massive peaks with glimmering snow against dark rock. Elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares, and many other mammals remain active in the park through the winter, covered in dense winter coats. Learn how plants and animals survive wintertime using their unique adaptations and keen survival skills.
 Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail
 Afternoon: Return to our lodging after the completion of the daily snowshoe hike. Expert presentation on Ice Climbing. Have you ever experienced the extreme sport of ice climbing? This presentation might be as close to the real thing as you ever get! See a slideshow of ice climbing pictures, pass around the tools necessary to climb, hear stories from our expert ice climber, and ask plenty of questions!
 Dinner: Dinner on own to allow participants to enjoy downtown Estes Park and local restaurants on own
 Evening: Free for reflection, relaxation
   
Accommodations: YMCA of the Rockies
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Calypso Cascades of the Wild Basin Area.
(Wednesday, March 12)

Note: Activity Notes Today's trailhead is 8500 feet. We will hike 4 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 700 feet. Opportunities available to extend the hike depending on weather and group ability.



   
 Breakfast: Full Breakfast in the cafeteria
 Morning: Our hike today will start in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The elevation at the trailhead is 8,566 feet. This will be a day to enjoy beautiful frozen waterfalls. We will first come to Copeland Falls (.3miles), then climb 1.8 miles to Calypso Cascades. Calypso Cascades was named after the calypso orchid that is prevalent there during the summer months, also known as fairy slipper. On the trail you will see remains of a 1978 forest fire. This opened up the area to get a great view of Mt Meeker and Long’s Peak.
 Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail
 Afternoon: Return to our lodging after the completion of the daily snowshoe hike.
 Dinner: Our dinner tonight will be in the cafeteria
 Evening: Free for reflection, relaxation
   
Accommodations: YMCA of the Rockies
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: All day hike in Wild Basin
(Thursday, March 13)

Note: Trailhead elevation is 8,006 feet. Today's hike is from 5.4 miles to 9.8 miles with a maximum elevation gain/loss of 1,500 feet. Highest elevation gained is 10,000 feet.



   
 Breakfast: Full Breakfast in the cafeteria
 Morning: Today we hike to Mills Lake, named after Enos Mills - the main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. This is an excellent winter snowshoe trail to a spectacular peak-rimmed lake. Magnificent views abound. Depending on group ability and weather, it is possible that we will also snowshoe to The Loch for more breathtaking views.
 Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail
 Afternoon: Return to our lodging after the completion of the daily snowshoe hike.
 Dinner: Our dinner tonight will be in the cafeteria
 Evening: Free for farewells, packing, relaxation
   
Accommodations: YMCA of the Rockies
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departures after breakfast, motel check-out 10 am.
(Friday, March 14)
   
 Breakfast: Full Breakfast in the cafeteria
 Morning: Independent departures after breakfast, end of program. Room check-out is 10:00 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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