4 Day Loop Backpack - Flat Tops Wilderness - July 27-30 - Sat - Tues

  • July 27, 2013 · 6:00 AM

4 Day Loop Backpack - Flat Tops Wilderness - July 27-30

Any interest in this phenomenal trip? The Flat Tops Wilderness is a huge and very unique tundra plateau in Colorado. Once you make the initial hike up to the top, the elevation gain is easy, the vistas and scenery are incredible. Two years ago when I did a similar loop here the wildflowers especially the Columbines were unbelievable.

Sign Ups open on Monday June 17 at 8:00am, set your reminders.

Please read entire trip description so you know what is required of you before signing up.

(Photo) Island Lakes basin from above




Backpacking Trip

Meet at 6:00am at Wooly Mammoth Park n Ride lot off I-70 and the Morrison exit for carpooling. This is long drive so we need to start early.

Saturday July 27: Carpool to the trailhead. This loop will begin at the Outlet trailhead at Trappers Lake where we'll hike over to the Wall Lake trailhead along the north side of Trappers Lake. Then take this trail up to Wall Lake on top of the Flat Tops and camp near this lake for the first night.

Sunday July 28: From Wall Lake we'll hike further along this trail traveling through the tundra environment, cross Flat Top Mtn and drop down into the phenomenal Island Lakes and camp at the upper lake for two nights. These are three main lakes with many other smaller lakes scattered around them. The two biggest lakes have islands, the lower lake which is a short hike away down a steep drop has excellent fishing, haven't tried the upper lake yet.

Monday July 29: This day will be a lay over day to spend as you like enjoying the solitude of this beautiful area. Some options are exploring the other lakes and/or hike up to the top of one of the surrounding mountains for some excellent views and photography for those that want to. Also relaxing and fishing are always options too.

Tuesday July 30: Hiking out we will take the Deer Lake Trail north along a bench of Flat Top Mtn passing Deer Lake below and topping out on the mountain. From here we'll cut cross country hiking through the easy tundra for several miles until reaching Stillwater Trail. This trail we will take us west down off the mountain passing Little Trappers Lake until reaching Trappers Lake then back to the Outlet trailhead and the vehicles. Stop and get a bite to eat on the way back and avoid the Sunday traffic hassle which is a huge plus.

Required: Everyone attending this trip is required to email me ([masked]) the following information WHEN SIGNING UP, so I can easily contact you with planning details. If you fail to send this info WHEN SIGNING UP you'll be moved to the Wait List until your info is received.

Email address:
Cell phone:
Emergency Contact: Name & number

This email will also act as your electronic signature & acknowledgment that you have read and understand the Terms of Understanding. If this is not received you will not receive all the trip info including trail head location, meeting location, carpooling, or other final planning information and thus may be removed.

Attention: Out of consideration for the organizers time & effort in planning this trip, only sign up if you are serious about going and know for sure that you can actually attend. Any 'Yes' RSVPs that are No Show & No Call on the morning of the trip may be restricted from signing up for future trips I organize. Last day to cancel is July 21st a week prior. If no interest is shown by this date the trip may be canceled.

As the trip organizer, I keep “SAFETY” as number one priority for the group, no exceptions! Please be courteous and considerate to all participants. If you have any concerns please let me know.

If you sign up for this trip prepare yourself for the adventure by researching the trip, this will enable you to understand the effort and challenges associated with it.  As a trip organizer I'm a volunteer NOT a paid guide, I'm there to determine the route, help the trip be successful and enjoyable for all through my own experience of the area.

(Photo) Hiking across the Flat Tops


Difficulty: Moderate with difficult sections with 1800 feet of elevation change
Solitude: 4-5 - Very few people if any at all
Trail Length: 5-6 miles to Wall Lake, 6 miles over to Island Lakes and 8 miles out the last day with the 3rd day being a rest day.
Elevation Range: 9638' - 11350'
Scenery: 5 - Unbelievable
Directions to Trailhead: Directions will be sent out to participants attending this trip.
Carpooling: Yes....planning emails will be sent out to trip participants to coordinate this.

No special permits required, road to trail head is dirt/gravel and washboard can be expected.

Fishing: Fishing opportunities available, bring your fly rod/reel or spinner gear if you like! Current fishing license is required by state law.

Dogs Allowed?? Yes, but they must be leashed or voice controlled, owner must clean up after them, no obnoxious barking, chasing/killing wildlife or marking their territory on other people's equipment. Limit 2 dogs per trip please. You will be asked to leash your dog if it breaks these rules.

If bringing a dog please indicate in the comments area when signing up.

Also Required: I will send out planning/coordination emails to all the 'YES' RSVP participants. These emails will contain my personal contact information so all participants can easily contact me with questions. I will expect a timely response to these so that I know you haven't forgotten, are still going and know what is expected of you as a participant. Non-responders will be removed if I don't get your response within a reasonable timeframe.

Warning: Numerous and troublesome mosquitoes might be encountered on this trip, bring Deet or something you know works so they don't drive you mad, also some wear a head net or other bug gear.

We will follow the PACK-IT-IN PACK-IT-OUT LEAVE NO TRACE current Wilderness regulations.

Gear essentials: Food, Water, Water filter, Clothing you can layer, First Aid Kit, Knife/multitool, Headlamp, Ability to start fire in any weather,  Stove & Fuel, Trowel/toilet paper, Trash bag, Warm Sleeping Bag & Pad, Tent that keeps the weather off you, full rain gear jacket & pants (ponchos don't work), Sunglasses, Hat & Sunscreen. If you don't know what to pack see the Backpacking List under More - Files on the Meetup site.

Don't forget your camera, as we all enjoy seeing pictures from the trip posted on the site!

(Photo) One of the upper Island Lakes










(Photo) Lower Island Lake

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  • Jay

    Great trip, could have used less rain

    August 2, 2013

  • Yuri

    Greats pics, everyone! Thanks!

    August 2, 2013

  • Jay

    I had a great time on the trip. Thanks for organizing it Mike! Back in flat Chicago today.

    July 31, 2013

    • Mike H.

      We got back at 1:30, we were going pretty fast and only stopped a couple times for short breaks.

      August 1, 2013

    • Jay

      Wow! We should have gone with you.

      August 1, 2013

  • Yuri

    Little bit of sprinkle added more character to the trip. Thanks Mike for sharing!

    July 31, 2013

  • Mike H.

    Wow... we all got to experience the monsoon season in the Flat Tops and it was wet, very wet. I had my rain gear on most of the time except Tuesday when the skies finally cleared. Still got to do all the things I wanted to though. What a great area with outstanding views and wildflowers. A great group of people even though the weather was gloomy.

    July 31, 2013

  • Stephanie M.


    July 30, 2013

  • Mike H.

    2 spots have opened up on this trip. It's not too late to get in on this trip.

    July 22, 2013

  • Mina

    Need to be back by Monday. See you next trip.

    July 17, 2013

  • Jeremiah M.

    I have made other plans. Have a great trip. I really want to do this one next year.

    July 17, 2013

  • Ali B

    This is a trip I a would like to do. So if you have RSVP and don't plan on going, please change your rsvp!

    July 8, 2013

  • Andrea

    Hi Mike- I'm in and bringing 3 friends! We'll sign up when it opens.

    May 30, 2013

  • Brad

    I would like to do this one!

    May 5, 2013

  • Mike H.

    Jeff, this loop is a different loop from what we did 2 years ago. The only part that is the same will be Island Lakes and a portion of the hike out, the rest is completely different. We will start on the west side at Trappers Lake this trip. The other trip we started from on the East side at Stillwater reservoir. Hope you can make it.

    April 19, 2013

  • Jeffrey B.


    I can't wait to attend this trip. I did it with you 2 years ago, and as far as I'm concerned it has amongst the best that CO has to offer.

    Jeff B.

    1 · April 19, 2013

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