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17551
Colorado

Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park for Women

Join instructors and a small group of women to hike the varied landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park, discovering alpine tundra, boulder fields, pristine mountain lakes and more!
Rating (5)
Program No. 17551RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,549
Colorado

Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park for Women

Join instructors and a small group of women to hike the varied landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park, discovering alpine tundra, boulder fields, pristine mountain lakes and more!
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,549
Program No. 17551 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Team up with other women for a one-of-a-kind experience as you hike the magnificent mountains, lakes and cascades of Rocky Mountain National Park — truly a hiker’s paradise. With instruction and guidance from experienced women leaders, learn trail etiquette and the techniques of navigating boulder fields, stream crossings and alpine tundra. The hikes will add difficulty and elevation each day, with the last day attempting one of the peaks of the park. Discover the hidden treasures of the National Park accessed only by trail, develop new outdoor skills and make new friends!
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • 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.

General Notes

For a version of this program for both men and women, see "Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park" (#4819).
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide
by Lisa Foster
The complete experience of hiking Rocky Mountain National Park has finally been captured in one comprehensive volume. All 400 named features in the Park are explored and two-thirds of this book covers off-trail hikes not commonly found in guidebooks. Extensively field-checked and accompanied by striking photography and USGS maps, this amazing collection draws upon Foster's over 7,000 hours of backcountry expertise. From casual strolls to class 4 climbing, no other book has tackled the entire park in such an in-depth and exciting way.
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains
by Isabella Bird
In 1872, Isabella Bird, daughter of a clergyman, set off alone to the Antipodes 'in search of health' and found she had embarked on a life of adventurous travel. In 1873, wearing Hawaiian riding dress, she rode her horse through the American Wild West, a terrain only newly opened to pioneer settlement. The letters that make up this volume were first published in 1879. They tell of magnificent, unspoiled landscapes and abundant wildlife, of encounters with rattlesnakes, wolves, pumas and grizzly bears, and her reactions to the volatile passions of the miners and pioneer settlers. A classic account of a truly astounding journey.
Geology Underfoot along Colorado's Front Range
by Lon Abbott and Terri Cook
The transition from the relatively flat Great Plains to the craggy peaks of Colorado s Front Range is one of North America s most abrupt topographical contrasts. The epic, 1,800-million-year geologic story behind this amazing landscape is even more awe inspiring. In Geology Underfoot along Colorado s Front Range, the most recent addition to the Geology Underfoot series, authors (and geoscientists) Lon Abbott and Terri Cook narrate the Front Range s tale, from its humble beginnings as a flat, nondescript seafloor through several ghostly incarnations as a towering mountain range. The book s 21 chapters, or vignettes, lead you to easily accessible stops along the Front Range s highways and byways, where you ll meet the apatosaur and other dinosaurs who roamed the floodplains and beaches that once covered the Front Range; look for diamonds in rare, out-of-the-way volcanic pipes; learn how America s mountain, Pikes Peak, developed from molten magma miles below the surface only to become an important visual landmark for early Great Plains travelers; and walk the Gangplank, a singularly important plateau for both nineteenth-century westward expansion and our understanding of the Front Range s most recent exhumation. A healthy dose of full-color illustrations and photos demystify the concepts put forth in the authors elegant, insightful prose. With Geology Underfoot along Colorado s Front Range in hand, you ll feel like you re traveling through time as you explore the Front Range s hidden geologic treasures.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Estes Park, CO
D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Motel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, confirm with the Motel Front Desk the time and location of the Orientation Meeting and Dinner. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. All of our hikes will be in Rocky Mountain National Park. Routes selected will depend upon group interest and fitness level, and will allow ample time for adjusting to altitude and difficulty as week progresses. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: After walking to a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
All-Day Hike to Loch Vale & Glacier Gorge
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Driving approximately 30 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour each way. Hiking between 5 and 10 miles roundtrip depending on group interest and ability; 5-6 hours; well maintained but rocky trail with steep inclines and descents. Bear Lake trailhead elevation is about 9,275 feet; elevation gain/loss of approximately 1,720 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 10,500 feet. Glacier Gorge to the Loch is about 3 miles one way with approximately 1,000-foot gain in elevation.

Breakfast: At a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We depart by van from the motel very early each morning. Our mornings start very early to allow an "alpine start" for safety and to allow mid-afternoon returns to avoid thunder showers. Loch Vale-Glacier Basin is one of the most beautiful and most popular hikes in the park. We’ll start at the Bear Lake trailhead and along the hike, we will first see Alberta Falls, the most photographed falls in the park. It was named after an Estes Park pioneer, Abner Sprague’s wife. Loch Vale is a crystal-clear alpine lake, which was named after a guest in Sprague’s lodge named Locke. It was changed to Loch, the Scottish name for lake. The broad cliff at the Loch is Cathedral Wall, a favorite for rock climbers.

Lunch: At a pleasant stopping point along the trail, we’ll have boxed lunches featuring a pre-selected sandwich, chips, fruit, and dessert.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our morning hike and return to the trailhead in the mid-afternoon. En route to Estes Park, we’ll then stop at the Visitor's Center for a rest stop and an opportunity to independently explore the exhibits. Will we return to the hotel before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
All Day Hike to Fern Lake
Estes Park, CO
B,L
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Driving distance for day 30 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour each way. Hiking approximately 7.5 miles roundtrip; about 6 hours; well maintained but rocky trail with steep inclines and descents. Trailhead elevation is about 8,165 feet; elevation gain/loss of approximately 1,400 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 9,565 feet.

Breakfast: Restaurant plated meal.

Morning: Upon arrival at the trailhead, we’ll hop out of the vans and follow the Fern Lake Trail along Big Thompson River to The Pool, the site of the now absent Forest Inn, which was founded in 1917. As we walk the trail, we’ll come across some picturesque views of Big Thompson Valley through the trees. A mix of various pine species as well as aspen, willows, and cottonwoods line the path. Arriving at the lake, there are great vistas of Notchtop Mountain (12,129 feet), Little Matterhorn (11,586 feet), Knobtop Mountain (12,331 feet), and The Gable (11,018 feet).

Lunch: At a pleasant stopping point along the trail, we’ll have boxed lunches featuring a pre-selected sandwich, chips, fruit, dessert.

Afternoon: Once we complete our hike, we will return to our motel for a short debrief and time to freshen up before heading to Estes Park. We will drive downtown by van as a group. Those who wish to can use the free town shuttle trolley that circulates every 20 minutes.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in downtown Estes Park. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll return to the motel independently using free town shuttle trolley.

DAY
4
Over the Top: Trail Ridge Road, Ute Trail
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Driving approximately 90 miles roundtrip; about 1 hour in morning, 1.5 hours in afternoon. Hiking approximately 3 miles on Ute Trail; about 1.5 hours; well maintained but rocky trail, easy to moderate inclines. Trailhead elevation is about 11,350 feet; elevation gain of approximately 800 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 12,150 feet. Afternoon hiking of approximately 1 mile total over several short interpretive hikes to viewpoints along highway.

Breakfast: Restaurant plated meal.

Morning: Today we will travel on Trail Ridge Road – the highest continuous highway in the United States – starting in the Montane ecosystem below 9,000 feet, through the subalpine between 9,000 and 11,400 feet, and up to the alpine ecosystem above 11,400 ft. Upon arrival at the Ute Trail starting point, we’ll get out and hike this out-and-back route for several hours, during which we’ll experience the beauty of the alpine tundra and spectacular views. It is important to stay on the trail because plants are very fragile in this harsh environment. After completing our hike, we’ll get back in the van and drive to the Alpine Visitor Center where we’ll enjoy the views and eat lunch outside.

Lunch: At the Visitor Center, we’ll have our boxed lunches.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll drive to cross the Continental Divide into the Kawuneeche Valley where we’ll stop for a walk to hopefully see herds of elk along the road, and perhaps even moose. On our way back to Estes Park, we’ll stop to take a short hike at high altitude on the Tundra Communities Trail. We’ll then return to the motel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Hike to the Top of Flattop Mountain
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Driving approximately 30 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour each way. Hiking approximately 8.5 miles roundtrip; about 7 hours; well maintained but rocky trail with steep inclines and descents; Bear Lake Trailhead elevation is approximately 9,745 feet; maximum elevation gain/loss of about 2,877 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 12,324 feet. Very early morning start for maximum climbing time and to get ahead of potential afternoon thunderstorms.

Breakfast: Restaurant plated meal.

Morning: Traveling by van, we’ll make our way to Bear Lake where the Flattop Mountain Trail heads northwest. Climbing upward soon after the start, we’ll make our way along the forested trail as it brings us up approximately 2,800 feet in 4 miles. Though it uses switchbacks to gain elevation with less strain, the path will clear periodically for overlooks and striking views of Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Glacier Gorge, and Longs Peak. After passing the treeline, keep an eye out for other summits like Hallett Peak to the southwest as we climb the rest of the way to the top.

Lunch: Along the trail, we’ll have our boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Continuing our morning hike, the last leg to the summit will be weather permitting. Upon completion and getting back to our vehicles, we’ll return to the motel in late afternoon.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Estes Park, we’ll enjoy a tasty plated farewell dinner plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We’ll settle in for our final debriefing and wrap-up session. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Estes Park, CO
B

Activity note: Motel check-out by 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Restaurant plated meal. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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