Across the Divide

Estes Park, CO
5.0 (4 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Cross the Continental Divide
  • Tremendous Mountain Views
  • Glacial-carved Valleys
  • Alpine Tundra
  • Snow-fed Waterfalls
  • Abundant Wildlife Babitat
  • Pristine Streams & Lakes

Description

Our 5-Day Across the Divide backpack takes us from the rivers that flow east into the Atlantic, to the very headwaters of those that make their way west to the Pacific – and we do it all under our own power! We’ll begin along the waters of the pristine Big Thompson River, follow the drainage up past roaring waterfalls, alpine lakes, and glacial-carved granite cliffs. Then we’ll ascend above the clouds, over the Divide, and down into the river valleys flowing west out of the mountains!

Days one and two we’ll ascend through a long and lake-strewn canyon with views of high peaks above – on day three we’ll make our way up and over the continental divide. This is the crux and highlight of our trip – we’ll likely see elk, quite possibly bighorn sheep, and if we’re alert we’ll glimpse the white-tailed ptarmigan above tree line as we pass. Days 4 and 5 we’ll continue through the wildlife – rich forests of the western slope as we descend to our final destination and the return trip by shuttle through the alpine tundra to Estes Park. Don’t miss this epic Colorado backpacking adventure!

Read more …
5 days
$1535 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-6 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 25+MI / 40+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
34-45 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
4-8 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
1700 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
2370 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
This trip goes up to approximately 12,000 feet in elevation. It’s best to arrive in Estes Park a day or two early to acclimatize.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. exercise several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Rocky Mountain National Park backpacking trip a solitude 3. You can expect hours of solitude at a time.

Travel to Estes Park

All Rocky Mountain National Park trips begin and end from Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park does not have an airport. The most convenient airport is Denver International Airport (DIA), which is served by most major airlines and is an inexpensive airport to fly into. From DIA one can take a shuttle or rent a car to reach Estes Park. It is a 1.5-hour drive from DIA to Estes Park on good roads.

Denver to Estes Park Shuttles

Estes Park Shuttle: 970-586-5151

SuperShuttle: 970-482-0505

Private Trips

Traveling in perfect company is a wonderful thing! With our private trip offerings you can book a trip exclusively for your group. Whether it’s with family, friends or colleagues, private trips are a fun and enriching way to explore the outdoors.

Private trip pricing is based on a sliding scale, depending on the number of people in your party. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax and national park fees (where applicable) or guide gratuity. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE to get the ball rolling!

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.3
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.1
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person

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TRIP ITINERARY

TRIP ITINERARY

DAY 1

  • Shuttle to trailhead: 20 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,380 feet

This Rocky Mountain National Park backpacking trip starts with a brief shuttle to our trailhead – we’ll hike along the Big Thompson River, with stops at “Arch Rocks” (granite boulders of a reddish -orange and in fantastic shapes) and “The Pool” (a massive whirlpool of churning water) along the way.

After a hearty lunch we’ll continue to the serenade of rushing water as we ascend through the canyon to Fern Lake, our home for the night.

DAY 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 2.2 miles plus optional day hike
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet

Today we’ll continue in the presence of mountain water: from rushing rivers and waterfalls, to high mountain lakes. Our hike will take us through the reaches of Odessa Gorge, a land of towering cliffs, wildlife, and wildflowers.

This is our shortest day with full gear on our backs, and provides multiple options for side hikes together to more remote mountain lakes and waterfalls off the beaten path.

We’ll camp within earshot of the creek, near an alpine lake nearing tree line, at 10, 600 feet, where a hearty dinner awaits as we settle in and prepare for our divide traverse and our longest day the next morning.

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,370 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1,570 feet

Day 3 is the most difficult and in some ways the most stunning of our trip. We’ll rise before the sun, eat a hearty breakfast, and make our way out of Odessa Gorge to the heights of Flattop Mountain at 12, 324 feet. This route will take us into the higher reaches of the National Park – we’ll see glaciers, likely Rocky Mountain Bighorn, and we’ll spend much of the day in the alpine zone, where we can see to both sides of the Continent for unending miles.

From Flattop Mountain we’ll traverse south through the tundra into the Park’s western forests and the North Inlet creek. Our camp is just below tree line in the high spruce/fir forests that abound on the western slope of the Park.

As evening descends we’ll enjoy a well-earned dinner and listen to the creek as it murmurs past us near camp.

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.2 miles plus optional morning hike
  • Elevation Loss: 1,700 feet

After breakfast, we’ll break camp and head down into the valley of North Inlet creek. Today’s walk provides a great time to take a closer look at the flowers and wildlife of the subalpine forest, as we move through an area rich in Elk, Moose, and Rocky Mountain wildflowers of infinite variety.

Our final evening we’ll camp once more to the sound of rushing water, with limitless stars above, as we reflect on the journey of days past and those to come.

DAY 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 700 feet
  • Shuttle to Estes Park: 1.5 hours

Our final day together we’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast and pack up for our final 4-mile stretch to the North Inlet Trailhead. We’ll then enjoy a shuttle up and over the Divide along Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous road in the Lower 48! We’ll stop for a picnic lunch and officially end our trip in Estes Park, where we began, having come full circle across the Divide and back on Trail Ridge Road.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Rocky Mountain hiking guide
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Transportation for the duration of the trip beginning and ending in Estes Park, CO
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Clothes, raingear and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

MEALS: WHAT TO EXPECT

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

GEAR WE PROVIDE

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

WHAT GEAR TO BRING

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

WHERE DO WE MEET?

You will meet your guide and group in Estes Park, Colorado at the Estes Park Mountain Shop (2050 Big Thompson Ave) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins for an orientation meeting. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip to answer any questions you have, provide you with more details about your exact trip, and coordinate the rendezvous.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

START/END TIMES

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 888-804-3267 for more information.

GUIDES

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

GUIDE WORKING PARAMETERS

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

GROUP SIZE AND AGE RESTRICTIONS

The standard group size on Rocky Mountain National Park backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 888-804-3267 and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

WEATHER IN THE COLORADO ROCKIES

Being a high mountain environment, the Rocky Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in Colorado’s high country. On trips in June, snow is a slight possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month
High / Low
June
71°
48°
July
79°
55°
August
78°
53°
September
69°
45°

Accommodations

Accommodations

BACKCOUNTRY SLEEPING

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

BACKCOUNTRY CUISINE

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

AMAZING CAMPSITES

IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (4 reviews)
Alison J.
5.0

Once in a lifetime experience

11 months ago

Floyd was incredible! I want to be as fit as him and be as active as him when I am 60! He was very accommodating to my vegetarian diet and always made sure everyone had enough to eat. It was a once in a lifetime memorable experience. A cathartic journey that I will never forget. Thanks for the memories! I highly recommend Floyd and the entire Wildland Trekking adventure. I will definitely be a repeat customer.

Ryan W.
5.0

Absolutely Phenomenal Trip

2 years ago

Zion did an outstanding job... he was patient, knowledgeable, and always positive. This was an absolutely phenomenal trip that my son and I will always remember.

Deborah S.
5.0

So Grateful

2 years ago

We are so grateful for Zion's exemplary guiding. We felt extremely reassured by her experience and skill set—it was a terrific bonus to be guided by someone who is so familiar with the area! This really enhanced our experience. Thank you for your thoughtfulness—for going to the trouble of accommodating Deb’s vegetarian diet and for doing so so creatively! Thank you for making a special effort to make sure Deb felt safe on the trail. Thank you for pointing out to Vincent points of reference that you knew would be of interest to him. On a more personal note, we decided when we got married that we wanted to commit our lives together to making memories vs buying material things. We can say that this trip far exceeded our expectations and beyond realized that goal. In so doing, you too have become a part of our collective meaning making as a couple—we will long refer to you as we fondly reminisce about these most memorable days in the Colorado Rockies. From all of the above, we can say without exception that you bring new meaning to the term “going above and beyond”. A profound thank you to you for doing so for us. Our hearts are full with gratitude.

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