Thunder Lake Llama Adventure

Estes Park, CO
4.8 (5 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Camp Near Mountain Lake
  • High Country Day Hikes
  • Hike with Light Daypacks
  • Stunning Mountain Scenery
  • Hike and Bond with Llamas
  • Hike Near the Continental Divide
  • Waterfalls
  • Guides Choice Trip

Description

This llama-supported backcountry trip takes us to the shores of Thunder Lake in the amazing Wild Basin region of Rocky Mountain National Park. Llamas transport our supplies to our campsite where we will settle in for the trip, allowing us to hike with day packs while enjoying a thoroughly authentic backcountry experience. On the final day, the llamas will pack out all the heavy camping gear for us, completing the trip. Our camp is in a Spruce-Fir forest looking down on the clear mountain waters of Thunder Lake, which sits at the bottom of a cirque framed by giant peaks like Tanima Peak (12,420 ft), Chief’s Head (13,579 ft) and Mount Alice (13,310 ft). On day hikes from camp we’ll ascend into the high country above Thunder Lake, which features stunning waterfalls as well as iconic hiking on classic Rocky Mountain ridges and peaks. On the third day we’ll head off trail, making our way up North St. Vrain Creek, past an amazing waterfall, to Eagle Lake and the Moomaw Glacier. The mix of waterfalls, alpine creeks and lakes, and towering mountains make this one of our most popular Colorado trips!

This trip is operated by Wildland Llamas, an authorized backpacking and llama outfitter in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Read more …
From
$2240 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Llama Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 5 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 22MI / 35KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This tour hikes on well-maintained trails with a gradual incline or decline the majority of the trail. Day 1 is the most difficult day as we ascend to Thunder Lake campsite.

Hiking Distances:

5-7 mi

Backpack Weight:

10-20 lbs

Terrain:

Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2250 ft

Heights Exposure:

Light

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 10-20 lb backpack for 5-7 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on lightly rugged terrain

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Colorado llama trek a solitude #. You can expect several 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

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2250 feet

We begin this Colorado hiking trip with a beautiful drive from Estes Park to our Wild Basin trailhead where we will pack up and complete a llama orientation. Then we’ll hit the trail! After less than an hour of hiking we come to Copeland Falls, a mesmerizing cascade along North St. Vrain Creek. The rest of today’s hike continues up North St. Vrain Creek, eventually bringing us to the shores of Thunder Lake. Our camp is a short distance from the lake, with breathtaking views into the mountain cirque above the lake and the high country’s snow-capped peaks. After a wonderful first night’s dinner and a Rocky Mountain sunset, we’ll settle in for a peaceful night’s rest.

Day 2

  • Hiking Distance: 6+ miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1500 feet

Today we’ll enjoy a leisurely morning and feast of a breakfast before setting off on our day hike. Leaving our llama friends in camp, we’ll head out for a day of hiking and exploring in the higher mountains. We’ll start by heading west from camp through wildflower-laden meadows and pristine subalpine forests toward the spine of the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide. A few hundred feet below the Divide, with permanent snow surrounding its shores, Lake of Many Winds offers us a perfect destination, with breathtaking views of Longs Peak, the entire Wild Basin drainage, and of the plains of the Front Range extending east from the foothills. For those interested in a more rugged challenge, we can traverse around the lake and up to the Divide for one of the most dramatic panoramas you’ve ever seen (this extension is optional). We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch near the alpine lake, and eventually return to camp for a relaxing evening and another delicious backcountry dinner.

Day 3

  • Hiking Distance: 5+ miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1250 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1250 feet

Today after breakfast we again leave our llama friends in camp and hike off trail up a pristine mountain creek. We’ll take a break at Martensia Falls, a very tall, sheer waterfall that plunges through a narrow chasm in the towering cliffs above us. Today’s destinations are Box Lake and Eagle Lake, two remote, beautiful alpine lakes below the Continental Divide. Surrounded by boulder fields, scree and meadows, this place is one you won’t want to leave! We’ll sit down for a picnic lunch near one of the lakes and take plenty of time to soak up the magic of where we are. Eventually we’ll head back to camp for a celebratory final dinner and our last night in the backcountry.

Day 4

  • Hiking Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 2250 feet
  • Shuttle to Estes Park: 30 minutes

No rush today! We’ll take our time breaking down camp, then load up the llamas, shoulder our light packs, and begin our descent back to the trailhead. We’ll enjoy an alternative route back that takes us along Ouzel Creek to two different waterfalls we didn’t see on our way in. At our trailhead we’ll pack up the gear, say goodbye to the llamas and shuttle you back to Estes Park for much deserved showers and relaxation. What a week it’s been!

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. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

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

  • Pack llamas to transport the majority of gear and food
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • 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
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Estes Park, Colorado to the trailhead and back
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and your 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 (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles 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 or Mountain Hardware tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Mountain Safety Research cooking stoves
  • Mountain Safety Research cookware
  • Bear spray cannisters and food-hanging gear
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

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!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

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.

We recommend guests arrive in Estes Park (or another nearby location that is 7500′ or higher) 1-2 days before your trip starts. This will help you acclimatize to the higher elevation, and make for a more enjoyable experience during your tour. This is especially important if you have never been to higher altitude, or are flying in from sea level.

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 6 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 Precautions

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

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)

MonthHighLow
June71°48°
July79°55°
August78°
53°
September69°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 trekking 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 llama trekking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.8 (5 reviews)
Laura R
5.0

Fantastic Time

2 months ago

This trip was a great way to spend time with old friends. The stunning scenery and adorable llamas made it all the more memorable. The guides were super professional and we felt well taken care of throughout our trip. Thanks Erin and Connor!

Alex G.
5.0

So Glad We Did This!

1 year ago

An amazing experience for the whole family to hike in the backcountry and enjoy llamas! Our guide and Wildland made the whole experience easy and fun. So glad we booked it!

Gail F.
4.0

Exquisite Scenery

2 years ago

The scenery was truly exquisite, and Hayley and Zion were excellent guides! I think Wildland Trekking is a very professional outfit, I felt totally safe. I would definitely recommend this company to others!

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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