We will leave camp soon after breakfast to head north towards the park. To get to Estes Park (where we will be staying), we will head west from Denver and head for the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park at Grand Lake. From there, we will follow Trail Ridge Road up to the Alpine Visitors Center on the Continental Divide and then head down into Estes Park. There will be chances to sightsee and maybe do a sort hike or two as we take this scenic trek to our motel.
We will head up to Bear Lake for the classic hike to Sky Pond. We will have two groups: One which will head out to Sky Pond and back. Another will head up to Emerald Lake and loop around to the trail to Sky Pond and head up it. Then both groups will return straight back to the parking area.
Today we will do Estes Cone. The Estes Cone hike is only 7 miles long, but with a 2000’ vertical. For those of you who are heading back after only two nights, doing the town is the advised option. The van back to Denver will leave by noon. Please plan to depart no earlier than 4:00 pm.
Long’s Peak is the premier hike in the park. It is a 15-mile hike with a 5000’ vertical ascent, and includes places where you are scrambling up through a boulder field and along ledges including one near the top of a 2000’ tall cliff. It is for those who are in good shape but not for the faint-of-heart. For those who still want a good climb but not Long’s Peak, nearby Mt. Lady Washington may be more your thing. This is an 11-mile, 4000’ vertical climb, and the trail to it coincides with the Long’s Peak climb for the first 4 miles. In either case, we will start out at 4:00 am from the hotel so that we can be on our way by 5:00 am at the trailhead. The early start is required to ensure that we do not get caught at the top of a mountain in a thunderstorm. Weather will dictate which day this is done. The later in the week the better for acclimation reasons, but if Thursday looks good and Friday is even questionable, we will go on Thursday. It is possible that bad weather on both days will prevent the climb from being attempted.
We will head over to the Moraine Park area and do a 5-mile out-and-back hike to Cub Lake.
We will head back to the Bear Lake area and explore the Glacial Valley. This will be an up to 8-mile hike.
We head back to Denver to catch our flights, leaving at 10:00 am