Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Rocky Mountain National Park "Grand Loop"

It's hard to believe but spring is only two days away! Many people have already made, or are in the process of making their hiking and backpacking plans for the upcoming summer. If you're planning a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, here's a very challenging route to consider.

Backpacker Magazine has put together a video highlighting the so called "Grand Loop" in Rocky Mountain National Park. This historically inspired route includes a summit of Longs Peak from the Keplinger Couloir.

The route begins from Bear Lake and takes hikers up to Flattop Mountain. From the summit you'll descend down the west side of the Continental Divide via the Tonahutu Creek Trail as it makes its way to Big Meadows. From Big Meadows the loop makes a brief visit at Grand Lake before venturing back into the wilderness at the East Inlet Trailhead. After passing Lake Verna and Spirit Lake, the route goes off-trail and climbs over Boulder-Grand Pass, and then travels back down to Thunder Lake. From the lake the route ascends Thunder Ridge and the Keplinger Couloir to reach the summit of Longs Peak, the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the top of the peak the trail descends back down the mountain via the Keyhole Route and the North Longs Peak Trail to return back to Bear Lake.

The Backpacker video provides a visual look at what you'll see and experience along this epic route:


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