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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Ute Trail - Milner Pass to Alpine V.C. - RMNP, CO

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 10,754 feet
Elevation Gain 1,009 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,157 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 - 3 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 8.06
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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15  2018-06-27 Steph_and_Blake
Author Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 61
Photos 2,522
Trips 176 map ( 751 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → Early
Seasons   Early Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  5:01am - 7:17pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

witness elk pondering wildflowers
by Steph_and_Blake

Likely In-Season!
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This is a moderate hike connecting Poudre Lake to Rocky Mountain National Park's Alpine Visitor Center. Aside from 0.9 miles when the trail is in the woods by the lake, the hike offers fabulous 360-degree views of meadows, tundra, snow-covered peaks, and river valleys.

There are two trails in RMNP that are called Ute Trail. The other trail begins at Ute Crossing, along Trail Ridge Road, southeast of the Alpine Visitor Center.

If hiking from Poudre Lake up to the Visitor Center, note that there is a substantial ascent up numerous switchbacks for the first 0.7 miles. If you're not accustomed to the altitude (10,700 feet and higher) or aren't in good shape, you might consider hiking from the top down and organizing a shuttle to take you back to the Visitor Center. Also note that in peak season parking at both Milner Pass (by Poudre Lake) and the Visitor Center may be full. So it's best to go early. Lastly, be aware of the weather, especially in the afternoon. Lightning strikes can be deadly.

Starting at Poudre Lake find the trail on the south side of the lake. The packed-dirt path follows the curve of the lake for a short distance before entering the woods. Once in the woods, the hike becomes a workout as you climb the switchbacks leading generally in a southeast direction. After the switchbacks the trail straightens out and the woods starts to thin out, offering occasional looks at nearby peaks and the Poudre River Valley to the west. At about the 0.9-mile mark the trees no longer limit your views, the ascent becomes more gradual, and you feel like "this is what I hiked up here for!".

Wildflowers will become more and more plentiful as you continue the hike and elk can often been seen grazing in the fields. At about the 2.25-mile mark, take the time to venture off-trail into the meadow to the east. Turn around and soak up the views, both distant and near. Once back on the trail, you'll continue to ascend in a straight-forward fashion to the Visitor Center. Return the way you came.

Water Sources
While there is certainly snow-melt and a few small ponds near the upper portions of the trail, there are no sources of "ready to drink" water along the trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2018-06-28 Steph_and_Blake

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Rocky Mountain National Park
    $20 per vehicle, good for up to 7 days. It is free to hike but backpacking/camping permits are extra. View NPS Info

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Estes Park, pick up US-36 headed west. Take US-36 for 6.7 miles. At the "Y", take US-34 to the left. Stay on US-34 for 21 miles to the Milner Pass parking area.
    page created by Steph_and_Blake on Jun 28 2018 2:18 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
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