Hike: Secluded Southern Traverse (3 day)


This trip traverses the Southern Section of Rocky Mountain National Park, Americas’ 10th National Park with challenging off-trail hiking.

SKU: hike-straverse Categories: , ,


This trip traverses the Southern Section of Rocky Mountain National Park, Americas’ 10th National Park with challenging off-trail hiking. Along the way we’ll explore beautiful alpine lakes and vast fields of wildflowers. During this trip, we will get to experience the least visited area of Rocky Mountain National Park with many spectacular peaks, forests, and open basins to explore. We’ll also get the chance to see Colorado’s largest natural forming body of water, Grand Lake.  This is the perfect trip for those wanting a true wilderness adventure, challenging terrain, and an amazing secluded backcountry vacation.  Consider making this trip 4 days and add fly-fishing in remote mountain lakes and streams or climb an isolated backcountry 13,000’ peak.

Additional information

Group Size

2, 3, 4

Trip Dates


  • Saturday, August 3rd – Sunday, August 4th (Hike out Monday, August 5th)
  • Sunday, August 4th – Monday, August 5th (Hike out Tuesday, August 6th)
  • Saturday, August 10th – Sunday, August 11th (Hike out Monday, August 12th)
  • Sunday, August 11th – Monday, August 12th (Hike out Tuesday, August 13th)

Please note that we can create a trip for you outside of these permit dates. Call us at (720) 242-9828 for more details!

Trip Details


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 up to a sub-alpine lake situated below the Continental Divide and the Mighty Mt. Alice. Elevation gain: 2110′. Distance: 7 miles and 6-7 hours.

Day 2 : This day will start with a 3.5 mile lung-burning ascent to the Continental Divide, and possibly ascending a 13,000 foot high secluded peak in Southern Rocky Mountain National Park. We generally start early to get to the Divide by 10 am and be descending before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. The hiking begins on faint trails and then as we get closer  to the Divide,   we do some class 2 -3 scrambling to complete our ascent to the Continental Divide. Once arriving at our high point for the day, we will be rewarded with tremendous views to the East and West. The remainder of our day will be spent descending west for 3 miles over faint and unmarked trails past two secluded alpine lakes to our campsite. Elevation gain: 2700′. Hiking mileage and time: 6.7 miles and 8 hours.

Day 3 : This last day starts at the campsite and follow a good trail beside  rivers over 6.9 miles back down to the Trailhead on the southwestern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We normally take a refreshing dip in Colorado’s largest natural forming lake to celebrate our east – west traverse of Rocky Mountain National Park. Drive back to Estes Park, Boulder, or Denver (3 -5 hours, depending upon starting location). Elevation loss: -2310′. Distance: 6.9 miles and 5-6 hours.

Difficulty Description: 

Extremely Difficult – Extremely difficult trips involve hiking on very rugged trails or off-trail with backpacks of 35-45 pounds. These trips demand prolonged hiking with very strenuous, difficult sections. Terrain can be steep, loose, rocky and/or exposed (3rd class terrain). If you are considering an extremely difficult trip, you must be able to exercise vigorously for long periods (5-10 hours) and have previous experience exercising and sleeping at elevations of 10,000‘ – 14,000’. Trips take place at altitudes of up to 14,500’.

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)


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