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Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Jul 24 - Jul 31, 2021 -- $1350 ★★★★

Everybody has heard of the incredible beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, but few have experienced the wonders of the magnificent mountains up close. On this trip, you will hike along the Tonahutu Loop consisting of backcountry trails that provide breathtaking vistas that car bound tourists just can't access.

The park is host to a wide variety of plants and animals including black bear, elk, coyote, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, marmot, white tailed ptarmigan, blue grouse, and beaver as well as Colorado Blue Spruce, Quaking Aspen, Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, and endless fields of redolent wildflowers.

Our trek begins at the Tonahutu Trailhead at about 8540'. You will want to be super hydrated to stave off the effects of altitude as this is about the lowest elevation of the trip. We'll hike clockwise and head up to the picturesque and largely treeless Continental Divide, summiting Flattop Mountain along the way. If time and thunderstorms permit, we may even summit 12713' Hallett Peak. Then we will loop back around via remote and beautiful Nanita Lake before returning to Grand Lake.

Summer is prime time in Colorado, so why not join us?


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Summer is the ideal time to hike in the rockies. Expect daytime hiking temperatures into the 70s and 80s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures into the high 80s and nights as low as freezing at elevation. There are also ubiquitous afternoon thunderstorms (often with hailstorms) at high elevations that are to be avoided for safety (and comfort) reasons. Here are the historical weather averages Be prepared with sun protection and water containers that add up to 4 liters of capacity.

Probable Trip Leaders

Julie Quibodeaux
Danielle Piscatelli


$1350 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Denver International Airport (DEN), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, park entrance fees (bring a park pass if you have one), 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation to/from the parks, National Park permits and awesome guides.


The trails through the Rockies often have good footing but elevation changes can be drastic. This implies more difficulty but also higher, unimpeded views. Furthermore, those arriving from lower elevations may have difficulty with the altitude. Our first day in Denver should help ... so will staying super hydrated, but it will still take a few days to fully acclimate. Distances will be kept below 11 miles per day.

Important Notes

There may be snow at higher elevations. Please be prepared for walking through an occasional snowfield or snow squall.

Rocky Mountain National Park requires us to carry Bear Canisters which can be cumbersome. However they are effective at protecting food plus you can sit on them.

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Fly into Denver International Airport (DEN) or drive into Denver. The best time to arrive is between Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving an hour or two later or earlier, then do so.

Take free airport shuttle to airport hotel (TBD)

Equipment shakedown

Make your own trail mix, Covid permitting

Your temperature is taken to check for possible Covid

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go to Denver Flagship REI Store, 1416 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 756-3100 for forgotten and last minute equipment purchase

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant, Covid permitting (not included in trip cost)

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Second set of "before" measurements taken

Your temperature is taken to check for possible Covid

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.

Free breakfast at hotel

Fitpacking shuttle takes us to Grand Lake. You have about 20 minutes of unstructured time while guides do permitting paperwork.

If you have a National Park Pass, please bring it

Begin hiking at Tonahutu Trailhead, elevation 8540'

Hike 4.2 miles to Green Mountain, elevation 9550'

Camp at Green Mountain Campsite, elevation 9550'.

Miles today: 4.2. Total miles: 4.2

Possible bailout: Tonahutu Trailhead

Monday, July 26, 2021

Hike 5.2 miles to Upper Onahu, elevation 9600'

Camp at Upper Onahu, elevation 9600'.

Miles today: 5.2. Total miles: 9.4

Possible bailout: Tonahutu Trailhead

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Hike 5.7 miles to Renegade, elevation 10500'

Set up camp

Day-Hike 3.4 miles to Haynatch Lakes, elevation 11,078'

Camp at Renegade campsite, elevation 10500'

Miles today: 9.1. Total miles: 18.5

Possible bailout: One day away

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Awaken and leave camp early in anticipation of the longest day of the trip

Hike 4.1 miles over Ptarmigan Pass to the Flattop Mountain Trail, elevation 12,200'

Drop packs and hike 0.3 miles to the summit of Flattop Mountain, elevation 12,324'

Optional: Hike 1.2 round trip miles to the summit of Hallett Peak, elevation 12,713'

Hike 0.3 miles back to the Continental Divide Trail, elevation 12,324'

Hike 5.0 downhill miles to the North Inlet Junction, elevation 9,600'

Camp at North Inlet Junction, Campsite, elevation 9600'

Miles today: 10.9. Total miles: 29.4

Possible bailout: Bear Lake Road

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Day-Hike 6.4 round trip miles to Nanita Lake, elevation 11064'

Camp at North Inlet Junction, Campsite, elevation 9600'

Miles today: 6.4. Total miles: 35.8

Possible bailout: One day away

Friday, July 30, 2021

Hike 6.8 downhill miles to Tonahuta Trailhead, elevation 8540'

End of Hike

Miles today: 6.8. Total miles: 42.6

Possible bailout: Grand Lake

Fitpacking shuttle takes us back to Denver hotel TBD

After measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Free Hotel Breakfast

Free airport shuttle

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