Seasons: July, August & Sept
Departure: Boulder, Denver, Estes Park Co
Activity: Backpacking, hikinghiking, fly fishing
We guarantee departure, but there are different prices for less than 4. $875 per person for 4 or more people, $1,095 per person for 3 people and $1,315 per person for 2 people. Contact CWRAG office for prices for solo travelers. Additional trip options: fly fishing ($100 per person) plus fishing license ($9 - $27 pp)
Location of Trip:
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Length of Trip:
3 Days and 2 nights
scheduled dates released in March. Call for custom dates or to book your trip now
Early morning departure on Day 1 and early evening return on Day 3
Additional trip options:
fly fishing ($100 per person) plus fishing license ($9 - $27 pp)
Come explore Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park and get an opportunity to experience the spectacular southeastern section of the park. In the shadow of Mt. Alice, Thunder Lake is set in a majestic basin with wide-open views, abundant animal life, and the rugged unique beauty of the Southern Rockies. We will take two days to ascend to Thunder Lake, allowing time to acclimate to altitude and then retrace our route back down on day 3. This is an ideal trip for those interested in transitioning from hiking to backpacking trips, anyone wanting a great introductory easy moderate backpacking trip with family or friends, and for exploring this remarkable area into the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Day 0: Meet and go over gear, food, and itinerary. Plan on meeting for 1-1.5 hours the night before to make sure all gear is double-checked and your backpack is packed and ready to go for an early morning departure. Note: Some companies include this day as part of the total trip length, thus making it a four-day trip. However, we only include it as Day 0 to build rapport with your Colorado local guide and help with your acclimation.
Day 1: This day starts on the southeastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail begins at 8500′ under Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pines and follows a beautiful stream for 2.5 -4 miles to our campsite. We will spend the afternoon lazing or fishing around the river and enjoying the serene setting underneath the canopy of evergreen trees. Elevation gain: 750-1300′. Distance: 2.5-4 miles depending upon exact campsite and 3-4 hours.
Day 2: Today the route continues hiking west along the long gone glacial moraine and wonderful and evergreen forest to the sub-alpine Thunder Lake. After arriving and setting up camp, we spend the afternoon exploring the Thunder Lake Basin with amazing views of the Mighty Mt. Alice. For those interested in fly-fishing, the inlet and outlet streams of Thunder Lake offer great fishing opportunities for the native Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Elevation gain: 750-1300′. Elevation gain: 750-1300′. Distance: 2.5-4 miles depending upon exact starting campsite and 3-4 hours.
Day 3: We have the option to take an early morning hike around the lake for great photo opportunities or try wetting your fly rod in Thunder Lake when the lake is at its calmest conditions. From Thunder Lake, we retrace day 1 and 2 and descend east to our starting trailhead on the southeastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Drive back to Estes Park, Boulder, or Denver. Elevation loss: -2110′. Distance: 7 miles and 6 hours.
Moderate – On moderate trips, you will hike 3-6 miles with a 25-35 pound backpack on maintained trails. Elevation gain/loss may be as much as but not more than 2250 feet. For a moderate trip you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles in hilly or mountainous terrain with a light daypack. Altitudes range from 7,000 – 10,500’.
What to Bring: Sent with trip confirmation
Included: The services of a professional backpacking guide, Rocky Mountain National Park permit and back-country Colorado camping permits, transportation between Boulder and the wilderness trail heads, shuttle and extra shuttle staff for traverse, all food during the backpacking trip, a re-supply drop, if necessary, gear for water purification and cooking, bear canister, tent, medical kit, CB radio and contingency and emergency support.
Not included in our rates: Meals while in the front country (breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on the last day), laundry, alcoholic beverages, hotel overnight before your trip and at trip’s conclusion; personal equipment (sleeping bag, pad, backpack – these items are available to rent), and gratuities for your guide(s) – while this is at your discretion, the recommended amount is 20%. If you want to add fly-fishing, cost is $100 extra per person (rod, reel, and flies for the trip and backpacking – angling guide)
If you’re looking for the best backpacking in Colorado, we can make that happen through our custom guided backpacking trips, Colorado hiking trips, and uniquely tailored backpacking tours. For families and small groups, we have designed attractive Colorado backpacking and hiking vacations (camping near Denver). Let us show you the hidden spots of Rocky Mountain National Park in our Rocky Mountain backpacking tours. We offer backpacking for beginners to those wanting complex experiences on and off backpacking trails.
If you enjoy hiking trails around your home, take it to the next level and join us for Colorado hiking. Hiking in Colorado is truly an unforgettable experience. Use our single day Boulder hiking tours and Denver hiking trips to acclimate to Colorado’s thin air prior to beginning the backpacking Colorado tours and hiking trips. As a technical climbing, mountaineering, skiing and education concessionaire in Rocky Mountain National Park, we know the park like the back of our hand. Our permits with 14 other land managers, allow us to fashion acclimatization hikes to fit your needs and schedule. Come visit our Boulder hub, located only 45 minutes from Denver International Airport or let us meet you at your hotel.