17551
Estes Park
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
1,199
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Safety Orientation/Introductions
Estes Park, CO
D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: All of our 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.

Dinner: Dinner in local restaurant

Evening: Introductions, planning for the week

DAY
2
Day long hike in Loch Vale
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Trailhead elevation is 9,475 feet. Today's hike is 6.2 miles with an elevation gain/loss of 990 feet.

Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant

Morning: Loch Vale is one of the most beautiful and most popular hikes in the park. We’ll start at the Bear Lake trailhead, unless we find a place to park at Glacier Gorge. Bear Lake is 9475 ft. elevation. We will first see Alberta falls; the most photographed falls in the park. It was named after Abner Sprague’s wife. Sprague was an Estes Park pioneer. Loch was named after a guest in Sprague’s lodge named Locke. It was changed to Loch, the Scottish name for lake. Loch Vale is a crystal clear alpine lake. The broad cliff at the Loch is Cathedral Wall, a favorite for rock climbers. We’ll eat lunch at the lake and continue toward Andrew’s glacier if the group is up to 1.3 miles more. We also have the option of seeing Mills Lake on our return (.6 miles) The trail is good, but we gain 990 ft from Glacier Gorge to the Loch. (3.1 miles one way to Loch Vale)

Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail

Afternoon: Continue morning hike, stop at Beaver Meadow's Visitor's Center before returning to motel.

Dinner: Dinner in local restaurant

Evening: Short "debrief" on today's hike and planning for tomorrow then time for reflection, relaxation

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

Activity note: Trailhead elevation is 8,165 feet. Today's hike is from 7.6 miles RT with an elevation gain/loss of 1,400 feet.

Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant

Morning: The Fern Lake Trail follows the Big Thompson River all the way to The Pool, and alternates between forest and a few open areas that provide some pretty good views of the Big Thompson Valley. Along the way the good trail passes through a mixed forest of aspens, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, willows and cottonwoods, as well as a variety of wildflowers in the spring and summer. Arriving at the lake, there are great views of 12,129-foot Notchtop Mountain, 11,586-foot Little Matterhorn, 12,331-foot Knobtop Mountain and 11,018-foot The Gable.

Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail

Afternoon: Continue morning hike. We will return to our motel for a short day's debrief and to clean up and have dinner in Estes Park. Dinner will be on your own. We will visit the historic Stanley Hotel, as a group if there is interest.

Dinner: Dinner on own to explore the varied restaurants of the quaint town of Estes Park.

Evening: Free time for exploring and shopping in downtown Estes Park.

DAY
4
Over the top-Trail Ridge Road
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: We will travel by van over the highest Federal Highway in the U.S.: Trail Ridge Road. Morning hike, Ute Trail, 3 miles, elevation gain 800 feet, highest elevation, 12,150 feet. Afternoon several short interpretive hikes to viewpoints along highway

Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant

Morning: Today you will travel on Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the U.S. We will start in the Montane ecosystem, below 9,000 ft, travel to the Subalpine, 9,000-11,400 ft, and end up in the Alpine ecosystem above 11,400 ft. We’ll drive to the Ute Trail and hike for several hours. This is an out and back hike. You’ll experience the beauty of the alpine tundra and beautiful views. It’s important to stay on the trail because plants are very fragile in this harsh environment. We’ll get back in the van and drive to the Alpine Visitor center. It’s a great place to look at the views, shop in the gift shop and eat lunch outside.

Lunch: Picnic box lunch at Alpine Visitor Center or adjacent location depending upon weather.

Afternoon: On our way back we’ll take a short hike at high altitude on the tundra trailhead. Hopefully, we’ll see herds of elk along the road. If there is interest we’ll stop by the Alluvial Fan. In 1982 a dam broke and washed down rocky debris creating alluvial fan. Return to motel.

Dinner: Dinner in local restaurant

Evening: Short "debrief" on today's hike and planning for tomorrow then time for reflection, relaxation

DAY
5
Hike to the top of Estes Cone via Lily Lake Trailhead
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Trailhead elevation 8,930 feet. All day hike of 7.5 miles roundtrip, elevation gain/loss 2,275 feet. Early morning start.

Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant

Morning: During the early portions of the hike you'll be treated to sporadic views of Longs Peak, as well as your ultimate destination. The trail enters the cover of the pine forest, and more or less remains there until just below the summit of the Cone. Although the name might give the impression, Estes Cone is not the result of an ancient volcano. Rather, the cone-shaped mountain was formed by natural erosion, mainly due to its relative isolation from the surrounding mountains. From this summit rock outcropping there are outstanding panoramic views of Mt. Meeker, Longs Peak, Hallett Peak, the mountains along the Continental Divide and in the Mummy Range, as well as much of the Estes Park area.

Lunch: Picnic box lunch on trail

Afternoon: Continue morning hike, summit hike will be weather permitting. Return to motel in late afternoon.

Dinner: Closing Dinner at a local special restaurant

Evening: Final debrief and farewells, packing, relaxation

DAY
6
Departures after breakfast, motel check-out 10 am.
Estes Park, CO
B

Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant

Morning: Independent departures after breakfast