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Guided Backpacking Trip to Thunder Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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“Thunder Lake sits at the top of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin, one of the more scenic and isolated cirques. You can expect stunning days in the high country thanks to waterfalls, high-alpine lakes and sweeping views of the Continental Divide. This 17-mile hike is truly a remote adventure.”

Thunder Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

What better way to spend your time off work than to be outside! For those who are luckily enough to live in Colorado, the mountains are only a short drive away, allowing you to fill your weekend to the brim with excitement and adventure. That is the whole mission of the outdoor adventure company 57hours. For 57hours, the most important part of owning your weekends is packing your car, traveling to the outdoors and packing in as many activities as you possibly can. The outdoors are close and easy to enjoy, but why not get a little help from the experts?

Rocky Mountain National Park

57hours hosts tons of guided outdoor adventures all across the world. For those who live in Colorado, they have an excellent extended weekend guided trip. They offer a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park to Thunder Lake. This trip is perfect for hikers of intermediate to advanced skill level. This backpacking trip takes you to two different high-alpine lakes, offering you some stunning hidden gems away from the crowds. On this hike, you’ll visit multiple waterfalls, hidden cirques and even have the option for some off trail adventures in the remote parts of Rocky Mountain National Park. You will hike in some of the most beautiful spots in the remote wilderness at 12,000 feet! Rocky Mountain National Park is truly something special, but because of that, it is often crowded. If you have a guide, you’ll be able to use their expertise to find some of the most remote and beautiful areas that the park has to offer.

About the trip

For this adventure, you have the option to choose a three day backpacking trip, or a four day backpacking trip. These are both amazing options and only differ slightly. On the three day trip, you will complete 17 miles of hiking while with the three day trip, you will complete 22 miles. With both trips, you will get to experience the beauty and awe that Rocky Mountain National Park offers.

This trip is designed to take you hiking 5-7 miles each day and while this may not seem like a lot, you will be around 12,000 feet in elevation gain, so you should be confident in your hiking abilities. While this is not a trip for beginner hikers, you do not have to be an expert or in the best shape of your life. Going with a guide will keep you at a comfortable pace to ensure that you can do each day of hiking successfully. This adventure is best between June and fall, when there is no snow and backpacking is comfortable!

What is included 

This adventure costs $975.00 or $1,170.00 per person, depending on the trip length you choose. Included in the cost is of course your experienced and personable guide with extensive knowledge of the area, all meals including trail snacks, a tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, a technical backpack, trekking poles, National Park entrance fees and all necessary permits, bear canisters, cooking stoves and cookware, transportation to and from Estes Park to the national park, and a first aid kit and a satellite phone. This is an all inclusive list that will give you everything you need to succeed on a backpacking trip!

Sample trip itinerary 

This guided trip is going to be full of beauty and observation as your guide will show you the best and fullest experience of Rocky Mountain National Park. The first day of the hike, you will start in Estes Park and drive to the trailhead where you will get all your gear and prepare for the trip. The first day’s hike will take you up to Thunder Lake where you will set up your tent with a view of snow-capped peaks.

On the second day, you will have a hearty breakfast before taking on six miles of hiking where you will see stunning wildflowers and another high-alpine lake. If the conditions are good, you can summit Tanima Peak, sitting at 12,420 feet high.

If you are partaking in the four-day trip, your third day will give you the opportunity to hike off-trail up the South Fork of North St. Vrain Creek where you’ll cross the valley to see Mertensia falls and continue on to two more high-alpine lakes. After this adventure, you will hike back to Thunder Lake where your tent is waiting for you.

The fourth day if you are doing the four day trip or the third day if you are doing the three day trip, will consist of your last breakfast at Thunder Lake before breaking down camp and heading down a different trail for descent to the Wild Basin Trailhead. After this, you will head back to Estes Park, marking the end of your adventure.

Colorado has so much to offer, it is definitely traveling to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to see a really beautiful place and experience something incredible. If you are unfamiliar with the area or are looking to experience something off the beaten path, then you definitely should consider doing a 57hours guided tour. 57hours has the best guides both on their team and affiliated with their company. There is no better way to get the fullest experience than to take on an outdoor adventure with an expert guide.


Thunder Lake is the ultimate classic RMNP backpacking trip

This challenging and rewarding Rocky Mountain National Park guided tour takes you to two high-alpine lakes, including base camp at the breathtaking Thunder Lake. Wild Basin offers hidden gems away from the crowds. You’ll visit multiple waterfalls, hidden cirques and optional off-trail adventures in the RMNP high country. Thunder Lake hiking also offers forest camping and remote wilderness thanks to a 12,000-foot elevation gain. You haven’t seen the park like this!