With over 355 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is known as a must-explore for hikers. So lace up your boots and get ready to learn a lot — this one is not to be missed!
Rating (5)
Program No. 4819RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
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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, join us at the Road Scholar table in the meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. 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. On some days, after hiking the minimum distance together, the group will split into smaller subgroups with each led by a Group Leader offering a choice of hiking distance. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. 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
Hike to Cub Lake in Moraine Park, Hike in Bear Lake
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off van; driving approximately 30 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour each way. Hiking approximately 5 miles roundtrip; about 5 hours hiking with lunch stop; well maintained but rocky trail with steep inclines and descents. Trailhead elevation is about 8,250 feet; elevation gain/loss of approximately 540 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 8,800 feet.

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 each morning. The trail to Cub Lake begins at the west end of Moraine Park and has a reputation for being a good trail for viewing wildlife, including elk, ducks, and songbirds. Cub Lake is covered with pond lilies in the summer and affords a nice view to Stones Peak. This is a great first day-warm up hike in Rocky Mountain National Park!

Lunch: At a pleasant stopping point along the trail, we’ll have boxed lunches. 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 Loch Vale & Glacier Gorge
Estes Park, CO
B,L
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: Restaurant plated meal.

Morning: 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. Pre-selected sandwich, chips, fruit, dessert.

Afternoon: After lunch at the lake, we’ll continue toward Andrews Glacier, with an elective opportunity to see it if the group is up for 1.3 miles more. We also have the opportunity for an elective extension to see Mills Lake on our return (additional 1/2 mile). Carrying on, we’ll take a rest stop and a self-led stop at Beaver Meadow's Visitor's Center before returning to the motel.

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.

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
All-Day Hike in Wild Basin
Estes Park, CO
B,L,D
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Activity note: Driving approximately 40 miles total; about 1.5 hours roundtrip. Hiking between 5.5 and 10 miles roundtrip depending on group interest and ability; between 4 and 5 hours hike time. Trailhead elevation is about 8,006 feet; elevation gain/loss of approximately 1,500 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 10,000 feet.

Breakfast: Restaurant plated meal.

Morning: Our hike today will start in Wild Basin at a trailhead of 8,566 feet. A day to enjoy beautiful waterfalls, we will first come to Copeland Falls then climb to Calypso Cascades, which were named after the calypso orchid, also known as fairy slipper. As we walk along the trail, we will see remains of a 1978 forest fire, which opened up the area resulting in a great view of Mt. Meeker to the right and Long’s Peak on the left. Soon after comes Ouzel Falls at 9,516 feet. It is named after a little grey bird about the size of a robin that dips its head in the stream and dives for insects; it is also called a dipper. Those who wish to go on a longer hike can join a Group Leader for a continuation to Ouzel Lake about 5 miles from the trailhead with an elevation gain of roughly 1,510 feet.

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

Afternoon: After completing our hike, we’ll return to motel for a late afternoon arrival.

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: 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. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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