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Flattop Mountain Trail

 17 votes

Length

4.2 Miles 6.7 Kilometers


Elevation

2,544' 775 m

Ascent

-83' -25 m

Descent

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

26%

Max Grade (14°)

12,285' 3,744 m

High

9,741' 2,969 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 57 days ago
Snowy - After reading several reviews that snowshoes were not necessary, we were very disappointed for not bringing ours on 3/24/18. History

Getting forecast...

Popular trail reaching the long saddle on the Continental Divide between Hallett Pk. & Ptarmigan Pt.

Trail Master

Overview

Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

Description

To reach the Flattop Mountain Trail, first ascend above Bear Lake heading north through young aspen to where the-the Bear Lake TH to Fern Lake TH trail splits from the Bear Lake - Mill Creek Trail. From here, the Flattop Mountain Trail itself begins, leaving to the west along a ridgeline. Soon the Fern - Odessa Lake Trail branches off to the right (northwest) but instead, continue left on the Flattop Mountain Trail, switchbacking steeply uphill. Surmount the forested eastern flank of Flattop pausing for views of Dream Lake, Longs Peak, Emerald Lake and Tyndall Glacier. Tyndall is one of only five active glaciers in the Park and is responsible for carving the valley below.

After treeline, the grades moderate and the switchbacks end. Follow the well-defined path into open tundra, using cairns for guidance over snowfields. The trail reaches a hitching post affording good views of Hallett Peak across the gorge. Next, scale a permanent snowfield and cover level ground on the final approach up to Flattop Mountain. No sign marks the summit, but the Flattop Mountain Trail - Tonohutu Creek Trail junction is generally recognized as your final destination.

This wide flat saddle along the Continental Divide offers a rare opportunity to explore the tundra. See if you can identify landmarks such as Hallett Peak, Otis Peak, Taylor Peak, Longs Peak, Notchtop Mountain, Ptarmigan Point and portions of the Mummy Range, Never Summer Range and Grand Lake.

Note: Bear Lake is a heavily used trailhead with limited parking. Arrive early to get a spot. About half of this trail goes above treeline and is very exposed. Expect strong sun, wind, cool temperatures, and rapidly changing weather conditions. Get an early start to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.

Flora & Fauna

Pika, ptarmigan, elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goat. Spruce, fir, wildflowers.

Contacts

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Apr 1, 2018
Kelvin Whited
Jan 1, 2018
Nick G
Packed snow the whole way. We hiked to tree line, covered most of the elevation over 2.2 miles in 4.4mi
Oct 14, 2017
Hayden Holbrook
Sep 30, 2017
Debbie K
8.8mi
Sep 17, 2017
Crispin Brim
Sep 6, 2017
Brandy Roll
Went pass the summit to flattop and proceeded to view the glacier off the right bear tonahutu trail. Awesome view! 8mi
Sep 2, 2017
jdlwilliams Williams
8.8mi
Aug 19, 2017
Clay Cutler
Hiked as part of our trip from Grand Lake to Cub Lake/Estes Park

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 17 votes

#2

in Bear Lake

#64

Overall
  4.5 from 17 votes
5 Star
71%
4 Star
12%
3 Star
18%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#2

in Bear Lake

#12

in Colorado

#64

Overall
278 Views Last Month
3,146 Since Jul 15, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
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29%
43%
21%
0%

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