Hike: Big Meadows to North Inlet (4 day)
For those looking to climb a classic Colorado peak within Rocky Mountain National Park over a long weekend Mt. Alice is a great adventure!
For those looking to climb a classic Colorado peak within Rocky Mountain National Park over a long weekend Mt. Alice is a great adventure! With rugged architecture, 3rd class off-trail climbing, and remoteness, Mt. Alice is the perfect peak for those who are training for bigger objectives such as Kilimanjaro, Kenya’s Meru Peak, Mt. Elbrus, or Pico de Orizaba. Mt. Alice is a challenging, secluded and seldom climbed peak in a spectacular wilderness setting. At over 13,000 feet tall, it boasts spectacular views over Rocky Mountain National Park , the eastern plains and on a good day as far off as Wyoming.
We add an extra day to this classic trek on the Southeast side of Rocky Mountain National Park and get more opportunities to explore this spectacular area. 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. After a day hike to the Lion Lakes Basin, we’ll have the opportunity to fly-fish for the native greenback trout or have the option to climb several peaks such as Mt. Alice, Isolation Peak, Pilot Mountain, or Tanima Peak, where we’ll take in a mesmerizing view looking over the park. The extra day can decrease difficulty of trip by making ascent to Thunder Lake over 2 days or we can have an extra day around Thunder Lake day hiking.
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RMNP 2023 PERMIT DATES
- Tuesday, August 15th to Sunday, August 20th
Check out our blog post for 2023 Rocky Mountain National Park permit dates: RMNP 2023 Permit Dates
Please note that we are able to create a trip for you outside of these permit dates. Call us at (720)242-9828 for more details!
Day 0: Meet and go over gear, food, and itinerary in afternoon. Plan on meeting for 1-1.5 hours the night before to make sure all gear is double-checked and 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 due to building rapport with your Colorado local guide and helping with 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 meandering river for 2.5 -4 miles to our campsite. We will spend the afternoon around the river 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 we continue west to our Thunder Lake campsite. The route continues hiking west through evergreen forests 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: This is a great opportunity to climb one of the seldom climbed peaks, Mt Alice at 13,331′, in the Southern end of the park. We generally start early in order to get to the summit by 10-11 and be heading back down before the afternoon thunderstorms possible roll in. We generally start early in order to get to the summit by 10am or 11am and we head back down before the afternoon thunderstorms possibly roll in. Late Afternoon: fly fishing day the streams around Thunder Lake. Elevation gain: 2700′. Distance: 5.2 miles.
Day 4: We spend a leisurely am getting up and packing camp after the ascent attempt of Mt Alice the day before. Our route retraces day 1 in reverse and follows rivers downhill for 7 miles back to the Trailhead, on the south-eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Drive back to Estes Park, Boulder, or Denver. Elevation loss: -2110′. Distance: 7 miles.
Moderate – On moderate trips, you will hike 3-6 miles with a 25-35 pound backpack remaining 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’. With 2 day ascent to Thunder Lake
Difficult – On difficult trips, you will hike up to 8 miles a day with a 25-35 pound backpack. Elevation gain/loss may be as much as 3000 feet on maintained trails, or up to 2000 feet on more rugged trails. For a difficult trip you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles in a day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack at altitudes of 7000’ – 10,750’. This trip can be considered very difficult for summit day based on altitude , travel on un-maintained trails and class 3 terrain, but we feel 4-day trip can decease difficulty from very difficult to difficult rating.
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, 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).