New Meetup: Flat Tops Wilderness, 3 Day Loop Backpacking Trip

From: Mike H.
Sent on: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 7:47 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Colorado Backpackers and Campers Meetup Group!

What: Flat Tops Wilderness, 3 Day Loop Backpacking Trip

When: Sunday, August 15,[masked]:00 AM

Where: Ward rd. Park N Ride
4655 Ward Rd
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

Flat Tops Wilderness, 3 Day Loop Backpacking Trip

Backpacking Trip: Flat Tops Wilderness - NOT posted on any other Meetup Groups

Dates: August 15, 16, 17 Sunday - Tuesday

Map: Trails Illustrated Map #122 - Flat Tops NE Trappers Lake (East Side)

Trail Location: Hooper Keener Trailhead, Routt National Forest. Nearest town Yampa

Difficulty level: Moderate

Driving Distance: 182 miles one way

Elevation gain & drop: Note: Elevations & Mileages are estimated
1st day - Start at 10200' gain 1000' to 11200' in 1.5 miles to a pass - then gradually descend down to 10200' in 3-4 miles, depending on where we camp.
2nd day - Start around 10400' descend 300' to 10100' in 3 miles to Derby Creek - then gain 700' to 10800' in 1.5 miles to Island Lakes & camp.
3rd day - Start 10800' gain 800' to 11600' in 2 miles to Flat Top Mtn. - then drop 1400' in 5 miles back to the trailhead.

Environment: Subalpine, Tundra

Description: Meet between 6:00am - 6:15am at the Ward Rd. Park n Ride at I-70 & Ward Rd and leave by 6:30am. If people want to carpool we can set it up then or just caravan to the trailhead. This trip involves a longer drive so we'll need to hit the road early while it?s still cool and theres less traffic so we can get to the trail as early as possible. Since this is a loop trip we'll average about 4 - 6 miles a day. Start hiking Sunday morning and plan on getting back to the vehicles Tuesday mid afternoon. That leaves plenty of time to drive home and get something to eat along the way.

The Flat Tops are unique in Colorado, as they are a big plateau. So once you make the initial hike up to the top of the plateau, the elevation gain is moderate, and the vistas are incredible. Also the further back in you hike the better the solitude.

The 1st day starts off climbing 1000' up to a pass at 11200' in 1.5 miles on North Derby Trail #1122. After the pass the hiking becomes much easier as its a gradual decent down past Hooper & Keener Lakes on trail #1860 where we'll continue down along a creek and look for a place to camp near Road Lake on trail #1842 at 3 miles or at the nearby creek. Solitary Lake is also close by.

The 2nd day we'll hike to Island Lakes on Trail #1842, here the hiking will be easy going while passing many smaller lakes to Derby Creek at 3 miles, we'll cross this and continue up to Island Lakes at 1.5 miles and camp here the 2nd night. Not sure what this creek crossing is like, so bring sandals or flip flops to wade it if you don't like getting your boots wet.

The 3rd day will be the longest mileage day, we'll climb up on top of Flat Top mountain at 2 miles on Deer Lake Trail #1803, passing Deer Lake and other smaller lakes. At the top, the trail meets the Chinese Wall Trail #1803 where we'll hike along this flat, treeless, tundra environment for 2 miles until reaching the edge of the mountain, this section of hiking will be easy and has some of the best wide-open mountain vistas anywhere in Colorado. Next we'll make a short steep drop back down into the trees on the Bear River Trail #1120 passing Mosquito Lake at the bottom and continuing another 2 miles downstream past the north shore of Stillwater reservoir to the dam and the vehicles at the trailhead.

This trip we'll be hiking through a lot of meadows and clearings so the wildflowers, foliage, scenery and views of the surrounding mountains should be outstanding.

If you like to fish then bring your fishing gear along, some of these lakes hold fish. Flys, lures & bait are all allowed.

This trip is open to all but not recommended for children under 14 unless they are conditioned to hiking several hours a day for several days. Dogs are OK on this trip.

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

Carpooling will be set up later. I have room for one more in my truck and plenty of room for gear if others can carry more people.

If you don't know what to pack see the Backpacking List under More - Files. If your inexperienced and need help, let me know and I will tell you what I bring.

And don't forget the camera!

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please let me know.

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