Hiking Colorado

Destination: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

| Activities: Hiking

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is arguably one of the most spectacular parks in the National Park system. Known for lush meadows, high mountain lakes, craggy peaks, diverse ecosystems, and abundant wildlife, it offers an outstanding variety of hiking trails. We'll pick some of the best, each showcasing a different part of the park, as we hike different trails every day. Starting with moderate hikes on the western side as we adjust to the altitude, midweek we move over to the interior for more strenuous higher altitude hikes. Max Group Size: 10

Highlights

  • Hiking the most scenic trail in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Exploring lush meadows, high mountain lakes, craggy peaks, and diverse ecosystems
  • Immersing ourselves in the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the Park
  • Challenging ourselves with longer miles and ambitious trails

Departures and Prices

July 09 to July 16, 2022
$2725.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size.
  • 7 nights shared rooming at the mountain house with shared bathrooms, unless you opted for a single supplement, in which case you'll have a private room with a king bed.
  • All meals as listed on the itinerary.
  • Transportation during the trip including round trip transfer from the Denver Airport
Not included: transportation to/from your place of origin to/from the Denver Airport, alcoholic beverages, 1 dinner out, AGC guide gratuities, and travel insurance

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

This trip is for women with previous hiking experience who are looking for challenging hiking in the mountains, with significant elevation gains. The trip is rated as 5 and requires a very high degree of fitness. Most women who exercise regularly will need to add some specific conditioning such as strength training, endurance training, longer aerobic workouts, and pre-trip hiking. The length of the hikes and the need to be able to complete them before potential afternoon thunderstorms means that you must be able to maintain a steady and moderate pace. Rating: 1 2 3 4 [5].

This is a very challenging hiking trip that gives an intimate tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to the elevation gain on some of our hikes, we'll frequently be hiking at altitudes of 10,000 feet or higher. Trails vary from well maintained to rocky with patches of scree (or loose boulders).

We will stay at the Stewart Highlands of the Windcliff Estates during the entire trip. It is a 6 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom spacious and modern mountain home, with incredible mountain views and ample space to spread out and enjoy each other's company. There are two single supplements available for a king bed in a private room. All bathrooms are shared. The rest of the bedrooms consist of 2-4 beds in a room (with a mix of queen, twin, and rollaway beds) and will be assigned randomly. Pack your swimsuit for the hot tub that is perfect for easing sore muscles after long hikes!

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Arrive at the Denver airport by 2PM today. We’ll meet as a group before driving west to our lodging for the week in Estes Park. Located on the scenic eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife alike. In fact, elk are so plentiful that they sometimes wander the downtown streets! (D)
DAY 2
There are over 300 miles of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park and we’ll get to see a variety of ecosystems during our active week. The park is one of the nation’s highest, with elevations ranging from 7,860 feet to 14,259 feet, you’ll feel like you are on ‘top of the world’!

We start the trip with an out and back hike to Gem Lake and Balanced Rock. These paths highlight the best of the Lumpy Ridge area, with rugged rock outcroppings and sweeping views of Estes Park. (B, L, D)

Hiking: 7.5 miles round trip, 5 - 6 hours, elevation gain/loss 1,563’/1,563’
DAY 3
Today we embark on an early morning to summit Deer Mountain, a beautiful loop off of Trail Ridge Road. The trail passes through what is known as a Montane ecosystem. This zone has the richest diversity of plant and animal life in Rocky Mountain National Park. Meandering rivers and open meadows are surrounded by hilly slopes, dotted with large Ponderosa Pines whose bark changes from grey-brown to a cinnamon-red and releases a pleasant scent in full sun. Colorful wildflowers blanket the meadows throughout the summer growing season. (B, L, D)

Hiking: 10.5 miles, 7 - 9 hours, elevation gain/loss: 1,698’/1,698’
DAY 4
Today we will drive into the heart of the Park on Trail Ridge Road - the highest continuous paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet. Bundle up today - temperatures on top of Trail Ridge are typically 20-30 degrees colder than in Estes Park! On a clear day we can see Wyoming to the north, the Great Plains to the east and the Rockies on the south and west sides.

Our hike today begins at Milner Pass Trailhead. We'll hike up the Ute Trail into the tundra and then continue up to the Alpine Visitor Center, all the time keeping our eyes open for yellow-bellied marmots and pika. Not only are there spectacular 360 degree views across the Continental Divide from the Center, it also has a wealth of information about the fragile alpine ecosystem. Tonight dinner is on your own in Estes Park, a great chance to explore, shop and then dine at one of the many delicious restaurants in the charming downtown area. (B, L)

Hiking: 4.5 miles, 3 - 3.5 hours, elevation gain: 950'
DAY 5
Now that we're fully acclimated, we're ready for the higher and more challenging hikes. We'll start with an ascent of Hallett Peak. The Arapaho Indians called Hallett Peak "banah ah netaieux", which means Thunder Peak, a reference to the storms that frequent the mountain. We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for storms and be ready to turn around if necessary.

At 12,718 feet Hallett Peak is considered one of the most beautiful alpine hikes in the Park. Starting at Bear Lake it traverses the side of a valley that was carved out long ago by a glacier. Today the only remnant is the Tyndall Glacier, which we pass on the way to the summit. Needless to say, the views are stunning both on the way up and at the top. Famous 14,259’ Longs Peak is visible, as well as Otis and Taylor Peaks. You will even be able to see Grand Lake off in the distance. It's an out and back hike. (B, L, D)

Hiking: 10.4 miles, 8 - 9 hours, elevation gain/loss: 3240'/3240'
DAY 6
Today's hike is to one of the most beautiful lakes in the park, Chasm Lake. And though we're not climbing a peak today, there is still plenty of climbing to get to it. We'll get another early start today and go for another beautiful hike, this time to Chasm Lake. Chasm Lake sits in a deep cirque at the base of Longs Peak and Mount Lady Washington. The famous east-facing wall of Longs Peak, known as the "Diamond", rises more than 2,400 feet above this stunning alpine lake, and Longs Peak climbers start from the same trailhead. Our trail starts in a thick forest of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, crosses the familiar subalpine landscape of krummholz and continues through a stretch of boulders with some easy scrambling and rewarding, spectacular mountain views. (B, L, D)

Hiking: 8 miles, 6 - 7 hours, elevation gain/loss: 2524'/2524'
DAY 7
Today we have an option for a shorter or longer hike, depending on how your legs are feeling after a week of altitude and adventure! We’ll start early to beat the crowds to Ouzel Falls on the Wild Basin Trail (hikers who stop here and turn around will hike 5.3 miles out and back, elevation gain/loss: 921’). We’ll hike alongside a roaring mountain creek the entire way up to a series of three beautiful rushing waterfalls. Those that want to keep going can continue on toward Bluebird Lake. (Hikers going all the way to Bluebird Lake will hike a total of 11 miles, elevation loss/gain: 2443’) Tonight we'll celebrate our fantastic week together with a celebratory dinner out on the town. (B, L, D)

Hiking: 5.3-11 miles, 3 - 8 hours depending on distance, elevation gain & loss: 921 - 2443
DAY 8
Today after breakfast we'll pack up, sadly bidding farewell to each other and this gorgeous park. We'll be back at the Denver airport by 11AM and you can plan flights out anytime after 1PM. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

4.7

(29 reviews)
4.6 Food
4.2 Lodging
4.8 Safety
5
(20)
4
(8)
3
(1)
2
(0)
1
(0)
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Jennifer M.
2 months ago

Hikes were beautiful, guides were great, all the women very interesting

Sara S.
2 months ago

The level 5 rating and location were both key in my decision to sign up for this trip,

Cathleen M.
2 months ago

We had 2 great leaders who were flexible. The hiking was challenging with beautiful wildflowers.

Janet L.
2 months ago

I've been wanting to hike in Colorado. And, while we didn't hike a 14er, we hiked some challenging trails. It was good to see how I handle altitude and was good preparation for my next trip- climbing Mt. Whitney.

Linda J.
2 months ago

The six hikes each had their own unique beauty, from waterfalls and wildflowers to rock and snow fields.

Kathryn K.
2 months ago

Linda U.
1 year ago

Mary U.
2 years ago

Mary U.
2 years ago

Loved the group of women on the trip, and the hikes were fantastic. A surprise were the accommodations--much better than expected!

Brenda D.
2 years ago

I really enjoyed the challenge and variety each of the hikes offered. The scenery was absolutely stunning and we saw a variety of wildlife, wild flowers, and terrain. The guides went above and beyond to make sure everyone was well taken care of.

Michelle C.
2 years ago

This trip exceeded my expectations. We had a great group of women, terrific guides, and perfect weather for challenging day hikes in different ecosystems within RMNP. The itinerary was switched around a little in an attempt to catch optimal weather conditions for the Hallett Peak summit. I thought it worked out very well -- not only were we able to summit in clear weather, we had a challenging highlight hike for the last day of our trip. It was one of my favorite days.

Linda U.
2 years ago

I was pleased with the level of difficulty, I expected a lower level (3) of difficulty, but 5 is what I needed and received.

Pam F.
2 years ago

Climbing Hallett's Peak and hiking to Chasm Lake, aided by my guides Karen and Alicia Hiking and relaxing afterwards with the other women in my group

Rita A.
3 years ago

Thank goodness for Chasm Lake hike....that was the highlight. Weather and scenery gorgeous, yet an ambitious hike. Suggest rearranging the sequence of hikes to allow for a slower day in the middle of the week. Unfortunate weather kept most of us off Flattop and Hallett.

Anne L.
3 years ago

I wanted a physically challenging hiking trip with other participants fit enough to meet the challenge.

Debbie S.
3 years ago

This trip exceeded my expectations in every way. The accommodations were lovely, the hikes spectacular, and the leaders capable and terrific people. Seeing a bear on the trail was icing on the cake! I especially appreciated all the trip information prior to the trip from Brenda, which allowed me to train appropriately and be ready for the hikes. All the other women were capable and interesting people as well. Just an all round fantastic experience!

Linda V.
3 years ago

Absolutely loved the transition from treeline to alpine and back again. Couldn't wait to go around each new corner to see something new!

Maya L.
3 years ago

The guides, the participants, one of the lodges and the food were all outstanding. I have to say that the scenery was not as spectacular as I was hoping for, but I can't blame AGC for that...

Wendy W.
3 years ago

I wanted a challenging trip -- and this was definitely challenging! I loved the Colorado scenery and the variety of the hikes. Also -- I liked the places we stayed.

Suzanne R.
3 years ago

I thought the trip was fun, but nothing spectacular. The trails were good and I had hard hikes, but I felt that these hikes were something I could easily have done on my own, with minimal planning. The women on the trip were great people and it was nice to meet them all.

Syd H.
3 years ago

Excellent hikes, fabulous leaders, splendid food (Thanks for vegan choices). Lovely group of women.

Pandora R.
3 years ago

Community, guide skills , accommodations, level of difficulty

Lisa C.
4 years ago

The hikes and the food were all great

Gretchen O.
4 years ago

The highlight was the hike to Crested Butte - was an awesome hike as it had so much variety and beauty - Maroon Bells, snow crossings, a river crossing, amazing wildflowers and outstanding views, along with being a challenging hike. Another highlight was meeting amazing women with the same interest in hiking.

Megan N.
4 years ago

Great guides (both AGC

Lisa D.
4 years ago

Crested Butte Hike. It would be even more fun if you could figure out a way to spend two nights in CB and then hike back to avoid the drive. Also, if you made 'Aspen night' on Wednesday and just drop people off on the way through town it works better logistically (unless you want to go to the rodeo)

Ellen C.
4 years ago

Overall a fantastic trip!! Especially fantastic when the you consider it was the first year this trip was offered. There are definitely a few bumps that need to be ironed out but overall a great experience. The Hike to Crested Butte was a highlight. Super fun and the perfect distance!

Patty B.
4 years ago

I appreciate everyone at AGC - Marian, Anne, and Karen - approving the alternate hike on Friday. I'm glad the group that made it to the top were successful, but from the beginning, that hike wasn't very appealing to me. I've been above 14,000 feet on three different occasions on AGC trips (!), and it just wasn't a big deal. Cathedral Lake was my very definition of a perfect hike. Challenging, beautiful scenery, and a fun group of fellow hikers.

Wendy W.
4 years ago

  1. Where do we eat?

    Most of the meals will be prepared by your AGC guides and eaten buffet and family style at the mountain house lodging. One dinner is on your own, a great chance to explore downtown Estes Park (transportation provided by your AGC guides), and one group farewell dinner where you can order off of the menu in Estes Park.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I live near sea level, how can I prepare for the elevations on this trip?
    Altitude affects everybody differently, and can affect the same person differently over time, so there's no real way of knowing ahead of time how the elevations on this trip may affect you.The trip has been designed to help participants acclimate. The first night is spent near the Denver airport, at 5430', so that will give you one night at a higher elevation. The next day you'll be driving to 8370', and the first hike only has an elevation gain/loss of 430'/430'. This will all help you acclimate gradually, with hikes that have more significant elevation gains and losses coming later in the week.
    . Here is a link to a blog post that specifically addresses elevation: http://blog.adventuresingoodcompany.com/blog/high-altitude-hiking-what-you-need-to-know
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