Denver to Rocky Mt Nat Park in august

May 5th, 2016, 09:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 91
Denver to Rocky Mt Nat Park in august

Hi all - need some help from all you colorado people I am going for a 4 day hiking weekend in RMNP in august with a friend. We are going to fly into Denver sun night or mon morning and then drive to somewhere near RMNP and spend 2-3 days doing day hikes and then drive back to Denver and fly home. Need some advice on what town to use as a base/what area of the park to concentrate on.

Our time is short so would be better if our base area is no more than 2 hrs outside Denver. I don't know the area but I realize the park is quite large and there are several different ways to get there and many many trailheads. This will be relaxed...just looking to enjoy some challenging hiking and beautiful scenery and then come back to a hotel/town in the evening and grab a dinner and chill. Hiking wise we are runners and in good shape but come from sea level so I get that altitude will slow us down signif. Any suggestions on where to stay/how to get there from denver and good trails to follow would be greatly appreciated Thanks!!
kellymp is offline  
May 5th, 2016, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Estes Park is less than 2 hours from the airport and right on the road into RMNP. Plenty of places to stay.

Drink about ten times as much water as you think you need and take it slow at the start to help with the altitude sickness.
emalloy is offline  
May 5th, 2016, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,999
Yes, stay in Estes. It will be very crowded in August, but there is a good reason for that. The east side of RMNP is spectacular. I'd book a hotel soon / now. On the trails you can avoid crowds and parking lot issues to some degree by hiking early, like a 7:00 AM start. Or, if the weather is cooperating then start later in the afternoon.

Here are nearby hiking trail suggestions, these are the popular trails but all really fantastic scenery:

Glacier Gorge area: Black Lake or Sky Pond. At Black Lake, there is an unmarked trail that continues to the bench above by following the path to the south (left) of the lake.
Bear Lake area: Flattop Mountain and then up to Hallett Peak.
Longs Peak trail: Chasm Lake and/or The Keyhole. This is a very small parking lot, it fills before dawn in August. Parking is allowed on the road, but not everywhere. Make sure you are legal, I've seem them tow cars away there.

Also, drive up and over Trail Ridge Road and check out some of the hikes there. The Colorado River Trail and the hike up towards Mount Ida from Milner Pass are excellent.

Look here for plenty of other options:

Basic trail maps can be found at the bottom of this page:

Note all the talk about lightning. This is a real danger, don't underestimate it. Go down if a storm is approaching.
Ditto what emalloy said about staying hydrated to help ward off altitude issues. Limit alcohol too.

I went up Flattop Mountain yesterday with two friends. At about 10,500 we met a guy from New Jersey having a smoke (tobacco). We invited him to join our group and we all made it to Flattop's 12,300' summit. The route is not obvious in snow, so he was glad we arrived. He had another smoke. Then he joined us at The Stanley for beers. A perfect Colorado day!

So people can come from sea level and have a great time here. He had spent one night in Denver before the hike.

Have a great trip.
Nelson is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 04:51 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16,750
Hope he didn't leave his butts behind.
sylvia3 is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 05:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 91
Hi guys- thank you for the replies...huge help!! I am going to try and find a place in Estes ASAP if anyone has any hotel suggestions or other Estes tips please feel free to chime in . Thanks again.
kellymp is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,999
> Hope he didn't leave his butts behind.

Good point and he did not, they went into a ziplock bag he was carrying for the purpose.

We were impressed he made the top, all things considered.
Nelson is offline  
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