Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Monday, October 8, 2012

Estes Cone, Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Cone
Rocky Mountain National Park

Date Hiked: October 8, 2012
  • Distance: 7.4 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600ft
  • Elevation Min/Max: 9,419 to 11,025ft
Rocky Mountain National Park Website (NPS)
Estes Cone Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  The hike starts from the Longs Peak parking area and trailhead.  From Estes Park head south on Hwy 7 from Lyons head north on Hwy 7.  Turn West on Longs Peak Road and take it to the parking area.  There is no fee to enter the park from this trailhead.

I grew up in New York.  The majority of our family vacations were to National Parks.  I don't remember much from those early trips and the memories I do have are somewhat vague.  I do however, remember 2 events; I remember picking wild blueberries on the hike up Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park and I remember climbing up the top of Estes Cone after riding horses up the trail.  At the time it seemed like scaling K2.  When I revisited this hike in 2012, nearly 25 years later, the scramble to the top was much more manageable...but still made for a great memory.

The hike up to Estes Cone gives you one of the best views from the east of Rocky Mt. NP.  You can see straight into the Longs/Meeker Massif, Three Sisters Peaks is almost within arms reach, and the Continental Divide stretches out in front of you.  The hike itself makes for a pleasant walk in the woods, with a steep section after you reach Storm Pass.  The real fun of this hike, is the short scramble up the to the rocky summit.  You'll need your hands, to both climb, and to hold on to your hat if the wind is blowing.

The hike is self explanatory, there are good signs all the way to the summit.  Take a few minutes along the way to explore the Eugenia Mine site.  Once on top, soak in the view.  Longs Peak will beckon you to continue hiking, as it did to me more than 25 years ago.


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