Directions: This amazing hike leaves from Bear Lake, at the end of Bear Lake Road. Enter Rocky Mountain National Park ($20 fee) at the Beaver Meadows entrance. Make a left onto Bear Lake Road and take it all the way to the end. The parking lot at Bear Lake get filled rather quickly, you can park at Glacier Gorge and walk .5 mi to Bear Lake, or better yet, take the free shuttle instead of driving down Bear Lake Road.
For this hike, you want to follow the signs towards Odessa Lake. You'll start by switchbacking up to a ridge where the Flattop Mountain trail will go off to the left, you want to stay straight to Lake Helene. Going up the ridge, you get wonderful views of Longs Peak, the Keyboard of the Winds, and Hallett Peak, in all their glory. From the ridge, you'll level off and gain elevation gradually while skirtting the north face of the valley all the way to Two Rivers Lake, which is just before Lake Helene. By the time you've reached Two Rivers Lake, you'll no doubt have spotted Notch Mountain rising above the trees. Once you get to the lakes, Notch is front and center, it is a spectacular and iconic mountain and one that most people never get to see up close. Add the winter's majesty and you get a view that you can be truly proud of. Once you get cold enough, from standing and drooling at Notch Mt., return the way you came.
Go get a beer and a burger at The Rock Inn (Estes Park), you've earned it!
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Rocky Mountain National Park
Date Hiked: April 28, 2013
Distance: 6.8 miles (RT)