Hike Castle Lake, Lions 1 & 2, Trio Falls and Snowbank Lake 15 miles RT

Only fit experienced Hikers for this hike please.

Lion Lake
#1
, Lion Lake #2,
and Snowbank Lake are located in the northwest corner of the Wild Basin
Area in Rocky Mountain National Park. They occupy a tiered alpine basin framed
by Pilot Mountain (12,222'), Mount Alice (13,310') and the north ridge of Mt
Orton (11,724').

A maintained trail leads 6.25 miles to Lion Lake #1, beyond which an intuitively
followed cross-country route continues up Trio Falls to Lion Lake #2 and
Snowbank Lake.

Visitors will enjoy good backcountry camping and arguably one of the most
scenic alpine landscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park:


Castle Lake: 11,140ft is located on a bench below North Ridge .3 miles from Lion Lake
#1


Lion Lake#1: 11,080ft is located 1.75 miles from the Thunder Lake-Lions Lake split (4.5
miles from the Wild Basin Trail Head). There is a very steep climb up to Lion
Lake #1.

Lion Lake#1 occupies an idyllic alpine basinringed by large, level meadows and several outlying ponds. The lake shore is
unobstructed and easy to explore. Head south for terrific views across the lake
of Pilot Mountain, Mount Alice, and Mt Orton, or north to its braided,
flower-lined inlet area.

Trio Falls: 11,300ft is located below the southern flank of Chiefs Head Peak. This
waterfall flows between Lions Lake #2 and Lions Lake #1. From Lion Lake #1
follow a faint trail along the eastern shore of Lion Lake #1 then turn
northwest and follow the drainage for .4 miles to the base of the Trio Falls.

Lion Lake #2: 11,420ft is located .2 miles North up a short rock wall, you'll scale up a  steep wall beside the falls and cross a small
confluence just below the SW corner of Lion Lake #2. Break off your route and
punch through damp tangles of willow and krummholz to reach the lake's south
shore or simply continue up beside it. Notable is the pronounced snow lip
hanging off the lake's north side much of the year.

Snowbank Lake: 11,521ft is located .25 miles from Lion Lake #2 and “is surrounded by
short granite walls and lies on a shelf slightly higher than the bench that
holds Lion Lake #2.” The route - now passing through open alpine tundra - keeps
north to a second steep wall, which you'll scale to a crest overlooking
Snowbank Lake. Drop to Snowbank Lake's west shore and scramble out into
the middle of the lake on a natural jetty.

The Weather for Friday is a 40 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms. Will be Partly sunny, with a high near 66. Breezy.

Please bring at least 2 liters of water, snacks for energy
and lunch for at the Lake if weather permitting. Bring rain gear, maybe even some traction devices just incase, poles, sunscreen,
sunglasses, poles, hats, etc


Travel Time to and from Trailhead: 45 minutes

Total Hike Time: 7 to 8 hours

Beginning Elevation: 8,500ft

Ending Elevation: 11,521ft

Total Elevation Gain: 3,021ft


Directions

Lion Lake is accessed
from the Wild Basin Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. The
trailhead is located 2.3 miles west of Highway 7 between the towns of
Allenspark and Estes Park.

From Estes Park, head south on Highway 7 for 11 miles to the Wild Basin turnoff
on the west side of the road. Turn west on the dirt road to the entrance
station .15 miles ahead. The Wild Basin Trailhead is located 2.15 miles from
the entrance station. Parking is limited, and roadside restrictions are
strictly enforced.



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  • Pete L.

    Perfect all the way around!

    August 2, 2013

  • Sandy G.

    Great day! Thanks Lisa!

    August 2, 2013

  • Barbara

    Sorry, didn't sleep well. Have a great day!

    August 2, 2013

  • Lisa J.

    Awesome Pete! That is great that you are going! Sandy we will just meet you at the trailhead as planned but thank you for offering! See you in the morning!

    August 1, 2013

  • Lisa J.

    That will work sandy

    August 1, 2013

  • Lisa J.

    Does anybody have a RMNP pass? Mine expired yesterday.

    August 1, 2013

    • Sandy G.

      I have one. We could meet just outside the gate at the Wild Basin entrance if someone has room for me in their car. I think there is a place to park outside the entrance.

      August 1, 2013

    • Pete L.

      I have a pass too.

      August 1, 2013

  • Pete L.

    I was going to do a weekend trip to the San Juans but it got canceled do to weather. This hike is so beautiful I can do it again after just being there.

    August 1, 2013

  • Dean Van Z.

    I don't have a pass... Does anyone else have one?

    August 1, 2013

  • Pete L.

    I did this hike two weeks back it was wonderful all the way around. You won't need traction devices but do bring lots of bug spray. The "skiters" were bad both in the trees & at the lakes all the way to Snowbank. When the breezes came up it helped but, not enough to not have some kind of repellent.

    July 31, 2013

    • Lisa J.

      Thank you Pete for the update!

      July 31, 2013

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