From: August 18 to August 25, 2018

Destination: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

  • Hiking Colorado

    Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is arguably one of the most spectacular parks in the National Park system. Known for lush meadows, high mountain lakes, craggy peaks, diverse ecosystems, and abundant wildlife, it offers an outstanding variety of hiking trails. We'll pick some of the best, each showcasing a different part of the park, as we hike different trails every day. Starting with moderate hikes on the western side as we adjust to the altitude, midweek we move over to the eastern side for strenuous and spectacular hiking. During our week we will immerse ourselves in the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the Park. Maximum group size: 12
  • Saturday, August 18
    Arrive anytime today at the Denver airport. We'll be staying at a nearby hotel with an airport shuttle so you can arrive whenever it's convenient. Our first formal get together will be tomorrow although everyone who's arrived can get together for dinner.

    Sunday, August 19
    We'll leave Denver at 8AM for a three hour drive to Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge, located right on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. For many people, the biggest challenge to hiking in the Rockies is the altitude. Shadowcliff is at 8,370' so we'll be following the maxim of "sleep low, hike high" to aid our adjustment. We'll start adjusting with a hike on North Inlet Trail, part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, to Cascade Falls. Starting on a relatively flat old dirt road that skirts a montane meadow where wildlife sightings are frequent, the trail then starts climbing steadily to the Falls, a spectacular, multi-tiered cascade that drops roughly 50 feet through a narrow granite chute. We'll settle into our rooms in Shadowcliff where we'll eat dinner. Hiking: 6.8 - 7 miles, 4 - 5 hours, elevation gain/loss: 430'/430'

    Monday, August 20
    After a hearty breakfast today, we'll hike to Lone Pine Lake on the East Inlet Trail. This is an out and back trail Along the way we'll stop at spectacular Adams Falls, where a rocky outcrop looks down on the rushing falls that are surrounded by small rocky cliffs. We then continue through a beautiful aspen and lodgepole pine forest, classic Rocky Mountain flora and past beautiful outcroppings of grey-black rock.

    While at Shadowcliff, we'll eat our meals in the Compassionate Kitchen, the name of Shadowcliff's dining facility. The staff at the Compassionate Kitchen specialize in sourcing seasonal, local, and organic food and know how to refuel hungry hikers. Hiking: 10.8 miles, 6 - 8 hours, elevation gain/loss: 1500'/1500'

    Tuesday, August 21
    Today we will head to the alpine and then the eastern part of the Park. An hour's drive brings us to the Milner Pass Trailhead. We'll hike up the Ute Trail onto the tundra and then continue up to the Alpine Visitor Center, all the time keeping our eyes open for yellow-bellied marmots and pika. Not only are there spectacular 360 degree views across the Continental Divide from the Center, it has a wealth of information about the fragile alpine ecosystem. We then continue our drive across the spectacular Trail Ridge Road, to the eastern part of Rocky Mountain National Park. Our lodging is quite different! We'll spend tonight and the next three nights in a huge 8 bedroom reunion cabin at The YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. Not only is it in a spectacular setting with access to great hiking, we'll be able to enjoy meals home-cooked by the guides. Hiking: 4.5 miles, 3 - 3.5 hours, elevation gain: 950'

    Wednesday, August 22
    Now that we're fully acclimated, we're ready for the higher and more challenging hikes of the eastern side. We'll start with an ascent of Hallett Peak. The Arapaho Indians called Hallett Peak "banah ah netaieux", which means Thunder Peak, a reference to the storms that frequent the mountain. We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for storms and be ready to turn around if necessary.

    At 12,718 feet, and thus not a "fourteener", Hallett Peak is considered one of the most beautiful alpine hikes in the Park. Starting at Bear Lake it traverses the side of a valley that was carved out long ago by a glacier. Today the only remnant is the Tyndall Glacier, which we pass on the way to the summit. Needless to say, the views are stunning both on the way up and at the top. Famous Longs Peak is visible, as well as Otis and Taylor Peaks. You will even be able to say Grand Lake off in the distance. It's an out and back hike. Hiking: 10.4 miles, 7 - 9 hours, elevation gain/loss: 3240'/3240'

    Thursday, August 23
    Today's hike is to one of the most beautiful lakes in the park, Chasm Lake. And though we're not climbing a peak today, there is still plenty of climbing to get to it. We'll get another early start today and go for another beautiful hike, this time to Chasm Lake. Chasm Lake sits in a deep cirque at the base of Longs Peak and Mount Lady Washington. The famous east-facing wall of Longs Peak, known as the "Diamond", rises more than 2,400 feet above this stunning alpine lake, and Longs Peak climbers start from the same trailhead. Our trail starts in a thick forest of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, crosses the familiar subalpine landscape of krummholz and continues through a stretch of boulders with some easy scrambling and rewarding, spectacular mountain views. Hiking: 8 miles, 6 - 7 hours, elevation gain/loss: 2524'/2524'

    Friday, August 24
    While many of our hikes have been out and backs, today we hike the Twin Owls Loop. This loop circles and scales Lumpy Ridge, a massive granite rock complex sculpted by wind and erosion over the last 2 billion years and popular with technical rock climbers. We hike through ponderosa pine forest, along riparian corridors, past montane and lower-subalpine forests. This trail is one of the most ecologically diverse trails in the Park, with abundant wildlife, terrific views, and mature aspen groves. About 1.5 miles from the end, we reach Gem Lake. Most people hike to Gem Lake from the same trailhead going the opposite way and it is one of the more popular destinations in the park. The lake has the distinction of having neither an inlet or outlet stream. Instead, the lake is formed by trapped snowmelt and rainwater that collects in the basin at the base of the granite cliff walls that surround the lake. Hiking: 11 miles, 7 - 9 hours, elevation gain/loss: 2615'/2615'

    Saturday, August 25
    Today after breakfast we'll pack up, sadly bidding farewell to each other and this gorgeous Park. We'll be back at the Denver airport by 11am and you can plan flights out anytime after 1PM.
  • Price: $2295 (see this page for travel discounts). $300 deposit. Limited single rooms are available for 5 out of 7 nights for an additional $300. Please make sure you understand our cancellation policies.

    Trip Includes

    • Experienced AGC hiking guides
    • Seven nights double occupancy lodging in rooms with ensuite bathrooms
    • All meals from Sunday breakfast through breakfast the next Sunday with the exception of one dinner
    • Transportation during the trip including round trip transfer from the Denver airport
    Not included: transportation to Denver, alcoholic beverages, optional activities, AGC guide gratuities, and items of a personal nature
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking both the eastern and western sides of Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Exploring lush meadows, high mountain lakes, craggy peaks, and diverse ecosystems
  • Immersing ourselves in the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the Park
  • Challenging ourselves with some long days and ambitious trails

Register for this trip today

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