May 12, 2008 at 7:09 am #1228907
I'm planning a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National park for the first week in June. The trip will be 3 days, 2 nights. Max 10 miles/day.
Does anyone have suggestions for route/camping sites? What are snow conditions like during that time of year? Is it melted by then? Would like to avoid snow, but can bring crampons if nessecary.
Also, what is the best map for the area and best guide book?
BobMay 12, 2008 at 7:10 am #1432864
One more thing … we'll be flying into Dever. Don't know if that makes a difference.
Thanks!May 12, 2008 at 8:25 am #1432873
Brian BarnesBPL Member
I suggest checking out Lisa Foster's guidebook.
Regarding where to go, you'll be limited by the availability of backcountry permits (opening day to request permits was on March 1st). The west side does not see as many visitors and it is beautiful! However, park wide they are fighting invasive pine beetles, which has killed more than 1/2 of the lodgepole pines (it's quite the site to see). I'm unsure what the snow/trail conditions will be like that time of year since I typically go in the early fall.
If the trails are reasonably clear, I'd suggest considering the east inlet trail. Hike to the Lake Verna campsite on day 1 (start before 7 am). Leave your camp setup at Lake Verna on day 2 and hike to either the Boulder-Grand Pass (involves some off trail steep inclines to the continental divide) or go 5th lake. Return to Lake Verna on night 2. Day 3 would be spent hiking out and exploring as you decend back to the Grand Lake area.
This link shows some photos from my east inlet 3 day hike in 9/07:
You can pay ($5) for a shower at Elk Creek Campground (located at 143 Golf Course Road, Grand Lake, CO, phone 970.628.8502)
In Grand Lake, breakfast was great at the Black Bear Bakery and Cafe. Sagebrush BBQ was a nice relaxed place for dinner. Grand Lake Chocolates has great ice cream. Spirit Lake Lodge was a clean, reasonably priced location to stay the night before the hike (during certain times the do not permit 1 night stays). Be sure to spend some time in Estes Park and drive through the park via Trail Ridge Road.
http://www.rmnpforums.com has some more focused/local area posters that are knowledgeable.
Have fun!May 12, 2008 at 8:37 am #1432874
Thanks for the reply and great information/pictures. What about other areas in Colorado? I'm not set on having to go to RMNP but I would like to stay on that side of Colorado…
MeirMay 12, 2008 at 10:41 am #1432892
Brian BarnesBPL Member
If you are looking elsewhere due to backcountry permit concerns be sure to call the RMNP backcountry office. I'm certain there are permits available, but the popular sites may already be taken.
Regarding elsewhere in Colorado… you have lots of options. I hear (haven't been) the San Juan Mountain Range is really nice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Juan_MountainsMay 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm #1432911
Joe KusterBPL Member
The San Jaun Mountains are a secret jewel of the frontrange… shh, we don't need tourists…
Actually it's beautiful out here with tons of options and without nearly the same crowds. One of my favorite spots is the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. You can knock out several 13'ers if you want, or you can have awesome summit views and stay under 11K if altitude adjustments are a concern.
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