Wild Basin Explorer

Estes Park, CO
5.0 (2 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Fantastic Family Trip
  • Lakeside Camp
  • Amazing Day Hiking
  • Waterfalls, Rivers, Meadows & Lakes
  • Mountain Solitude
  • Wildlife

Description

Our Wild Basin Explorer backpacking trip is a fantastic family option (for people with kids) and for people who want an amazing backcountry experience of the Colorado Rockies on a less demanding trip. We spend 2-3 nights in the same camp, day hiking each day to explore Rocky Mountain National Park’s amazing Wild Basin.

The highlights of this trip are camping near the shores of stunning Ouzel Lake; enjoying breathtaking views of the alpine peaks and ridges of the Continental Divide; hiking to one or two additional alpine lakes that sit right at treeline; opportunities to see wildlife; multiple waterfalls; our award-winning customer service and backcountry cuisine!

Read more …
3 Days
$1085 Per Person
4 Days
$1275 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Fall Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-6 Guests
Trip Length: 3-4 Days
Distance: 15+MI / 24+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

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:
25-35 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
4-6 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
1500 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
1500 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained and off trail
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. We will also be hiking off trail at times on variable terrain including meadows, forests and talus.

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 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Colorado backpacking trip a solitude 2. You can expect as much as an hour 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

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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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

This Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trip begins at a relatively remote, but popular, trailhead. Our hike takes us along a beautiful mountain creek, past a stunning cascade, and through pine forests to the shores of stunning Ouzel Lake. We’ll get settled into our camp, which is not far from the water, and the lake itself boasts outstanding views of the alpine ridges and peaks of the Continental Divide. We can spend the afternoon swimming, exploring, fishing, or simply relaxing in camp.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 4 miles day hiking
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,000 feet

We’ll start today with a delicious Rocky Mountain breakfast on the shores of Ouzel Lake. Afterward we’ll load up our day packs and set off on a hike to a higher, even more breathtaking mountain lake – Bluebird Lake. Our hike takes us first back down the valley we hiked up yesterday before we split off on a separate trail and begin an ascent of approximately 1,000 feet. Bluebird Lake is a stunning alpine lake that sits just under 11,000 feet with high mountain peaks standing guard above. We’ll relax and have a picnic lunch on the shores, and afterward hike higher into the alpine terrain above the lake or return to camp for another hearty dinner.

Day 3 (4-day Itinerary Only)

  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: 800 feet

If you’re doing the 4-day version of this trip, we’ll make the most of Day 3 by heading to another amazing Rocky Mountain National Park lake – Thunder Lake. Thunder Lake sits below several soaring peaks and a pass on the Continental Divide. We’ll sit along the grassy shores keepin an eye out for rainbow trout, enjoy a picnic lunch, and explore around the lake. Finally we’ll head back to camp at Ouzel Lake, which is all downhill. We’ll enjoy one more celebratory campfire and backcountry feast before turning in for a good night’s sleep.

Final Day

  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1,500 feet
  • Shuttle to Estes Park: 30 minutes

After a relaxing morning and a big breakfast we’ll begin our hike back to the trailhead. We’ll hike a slightly different trail on the way back that takes us along Ouzel Creek, past Ouzel Falls and Calypso Cascades, both Rocky Mountain water features well worth seeing. Ouzel Falls is a sheer waterfall about 50 feet high, and Calypso Cascades is a beautiful stretch of tumbling water in a thick Lodgepole Pine forest. Our arrival at Wild Basin Trailhead marks the end of our hiking trip; after a short shuttle ride back to Estes Park we’ll drop you off at your hotel where warm showers await you!

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.

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.

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 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) 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 maximum group size on this trip is 6 guests. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) 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)

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 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 (2 reviews)
Patrick J.
5.0

We had a Great Time

1 year ago

Our guide Tamara was great. She was very knowledgeable and a great motivation for our three girls. Great time.

Wendy P.
5.0

Five out of Five Stars!

4 years ago

We had a fantastic time with Jillian. She tailored the trip to meet our expectations and needs. She is an excellent cook. All of her meals were delicious. She was knowledgeable about RMNP and especially about camping and hiking. She engaged our son in many good conversations. Jillian's enthusiasm for nature and hiking were an inspiration. We had a great time despite the rain. The only critical feedback we have is a larger tarp to provide protection from the rain would have been much appreciated. Otherwise, the trip was five out or f five stars!

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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