Snowshoe to Black Lake - RMNP

  • February 16, 2014 · 7:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Distance:  about 8.6 miles round trip 
Elevation:  9,240' at start, 10,630' at Black Lake, +1,842 total gain 
Difficulty Level:  moderately challenging, not for beginners!  
Pace:  moderate 
Dogs:  no 
Meeting Time:  7:00am sharp at carpool location
Hike Time:  8:45am at parking lot to gear up, 9:00am at trailhead

For this event, all members will start on the waiting list:

Members will be moved to the attending list based on level of experience, respect for our style of hiking (see below), and/or other considerations. If you do not make the attending list for this outing, we hope see you at a future event.

Consider this trip an ALL DAY OUTING. Please do not sign up if you have other obligations in the afternoon or early evening.

Please be sure you're on the Attending List for only one Meetup event on the same day.

The Trail to Black Lake:

The Glacier Gorge trail to Black Lake is one of the signature hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. This rugged trek up the winter trail crosses frozen Mills and Jewel Lakes, with jagged peaks framing a steady incline along Glacier Creek. A stunning sheer-cliffed cirque cradles the breathtaking Black Lake, which is stocked with serpents, ichthyosaurs and the rare Rocky Mountain penguin. This lengthy snowshoe may cross areas of deep powder, downed trees and large boulders which may require multiple switches from snowshoes to spikes and back. It is not recommended for beginners. We may be breaking trail on the upper parts of our journey - making for a frigid and fun outing.

Click here to see the weather conditions/forecast for Black Lake

Click here to see hike description

Click here for road conditions in the area

Harsh Winter Conditions and Snowshoe Gear:

The more prepared you are, the happier and more successful an outing for everyone. Do your research for harsh winter condition. 

In addition to snowshoes and poles, bring Kahtoola MICROspikes for all possible trail conditions. Gaiters are highly recommended. Dress for wind as well as warmth. Avoid cotton. Consider insulated water bottles as tubes and valves may freeze. Also consider hand and toe warmers for your gloves and boots.

Click here to see the 10 Essentials to Bring On Every Hike

Carpool Meeting Spot:

We will meet at the 3 Margaritas at 28th & Iris in Boulder and will depart at 7:00am sharp. Look for the car with the orange traffic cone on the roof. There will be a five minute wait at the the meeting spot for stragglers.

Please be considerate of the people in your carpool. If you do not intend to join the group for the after hike meal, please bring your own vehicle. 

Click here to see map of Carpool Meeting Spot

Trailhead Location:

If you plan to meet us at the trailhead, please inform the event hosts 24 hours in advance so they are not waiting for you at the carpool.

Click here to see map of Glacier Gorge Trailhead

After Hike Gathering:

After the snowshoe we'd like our hiking companions to join us for food, beverage and laughter in Estes Park.

Click here for Smokin' Dave's BBQ & Taphouse

Cancellation Policy:

It is poor etiquette to cancel at the last minute. Please cancel (change your RSVP to "No") no later than Friday, Feb 14th, 2014 at 5:00pm if you cannot attend. This applies to guests on the attending list AND the wait list. 

Our style of hiking. Make sure it works for you: 

We hike with our guests as a cohesive unit, similar to a slinky... expanding and contracting, but always staying connected to one another. Our guests do not split from the group on our outings, as this can adversely impact the group as a whole. Maintaining sight and sound contact with the guest behind you and in front of you helps things run more smoothly and keeps the lines of communication open. This increases safety in the wilderness. It also encourages camaraderie and conversation, the cornerstone of Meetup events.

Release of Liability: 

By submitting an RSVP to this event, you are agreeing to each of the following four items: 

1. You acknowledge that you are solely responsible for your own safety and that you will do the necessary research to understand the conditions of this hike, the gear needed and physical conditioning required. None of the organizers, event hosts or other members of Colorado Explorers are responsible for you.

2. The organizers, event hosts and members of Colorado Explorers engage in this and all group events for recreational purposes only. The organizers and event hosts are not professional guides. They represent themselves to be private individuals who enjoy outdoor activity.

3. You will not act carelessly or recklessly (including splitting from the group) in a manner which may adversely affect the group as a whole.

4. You acknowledge that you understand the Colorado Explorers group rules and that you agree to these rules. Click here to view group rules.


Thank you for choosing Colorado Explorers - Hike and Snowshoe the Rockies


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  • Glen G.

    Lisa, what is the GPS application you were using? I'm ordering the Ankar Astro mini from Amazon.

    February 17, 2014

    • lisa

      Hi Glen! I use the Anker 2nd Gen Astro 6000mAh and it has more than enough power, so I think the Astro mini will work just fine. Good choice! For GPS, I have found that Gaia GPS works best for the iphone (not android. they are presently reworking it for android). There are also plenty of tutorials onlline for Gaia which I found very helpful.

      1 · February 18, 2014

    • Glen G.

      Thanks! I'll check out the tutorials too....

      February 19, 2014

  • lisa

    Link to GPS route. Deduct about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes in total time due to discrepancy in turning GPS on and off...

    2 · February 17, 2014

    • lisa

      You are very welcome, Glen. The more the merrier. We love having hikers with a shared passion for nature photography.

      1 · February 18, 2014

    • Brett

      Stellar job with this-really cool

      February 18, 2014

  • Brett

    What great fun!! and FYI... my bar was not 2K calories, I don't read very well! 220 Calories

    3 · February 17, 2014

    • Brett

      Actually.... I am a rep for the bar I ate and thought my bad math would generate 10's of dollars in sales..alas, I felt bad and had to confess to the truth!

      1 · February 18, 2014

    • Brett

      After thinking about my math, I couldn't have been doing any blowing, absolutely must have been inhaling!

      2 · February 18, 2014

  • Marc

    Awesome views and great company!

    4 · February 18, 2014

  • Brett

    Super fun!

    3 · February 17, 2014

  • lisa

    Thanks everyone for making this a stellar meetup! Definitely one of the best by far. Great conditions, very accommodating temps, excellent group of people, and many, many laughs! Oh yes, and then there was the spectacular scenery. Thank you Marc and Brett for helping to break trail, Tori for her love of ice and grace under pressure in holes, Kanika for the life-saving and DELICIOUS brownies, and every single person on the meetup for helping make this a safe and belly-laughing happy day on the trails!

    3 · February 17, 2014

  • TJ S.

    Fabulous time! Nice navigating Lisa ~ Mark! Brownies were indeed tasty, Kanika!

    3 · February 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Awesome group of people, lively, fun!

    3 · February 16, 2014

  • Tori M

    Great meeting everyone!!. Seriously had a blast, despite falling in a hole. :) thanks for the rescue.

    3 · February 16, 2014

  • Glen G.

    Thank you Kanica for the brownies. Delish.

    3 · February 16, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      You're very welcome!

      2 · February 16, 2014

  • Glen G.

    One of the best outings I've been on. Great organizers, safety first minded, and fun. The people I met on this adventure were fun and I felt welcomed by everyone.

    2 · February 16, 2014

  • Glen G.

    Anchors Ahoy. Strong gusts of wind blasting through the Park, so bring your anchors, and or parasails for a windy adventure...

    February 15, 2014

  • Mark

    Hey all! Excited for Sunday? Tons of new snow in RMNP (69" base at Bear Lake - and even more higher up)! With predicted highs in the mid 30s, please wear gaiters to protect your feet from afternoon snowmelt. That said, be prepared for WIND over 30 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph! We will be taking Route 7 from Lyons to Estes Park to avoid major construction delays on US 36... See everyone 7am in Boulder!

    February 14, 2014

    • Tori M

      This is actually a free weekend for all national parks :) yay presidents day!

      2 · February 14, 2014

    • lisa

      yep, what Tori said. :)

      1 · February 15, 2014

  • Brett

    Alright! let's get this party started! Excited for the hike!

    1 · February 14, 2014

  • Chip

    Sorry, I have to work this weekend. Have fun!

    February 12, 2014

  • Glen G.

    I'm still in. Right?

    1 · February 10, 2014

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