Upper Ute Trail Out-and-Back
ElevationAscent: 884' 270 m
Descent: -891' -271 m
High: 11,630' 3,545 m
Low: 10,913' 3,326 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 110% (48°)
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“An out-and-back along a relatively flat spectacular alpine meadow.”— Brian Smith
Family Friendly Because this is an out-and-back, turn around whenever the kids get tired! The scenery is largely similar for the duration, so you won't miss much by heading back early.
This hike is extremely exposed and therefore can lead to multiple issues. In the summer months, afternoon thunderstorms are frequent occurrences. With few to no options for cover, lightning is a real threat up here. Large temperature swings and strong winds should also be on your radar if embarking on this portion of Ute Trail.
Assuming the weather is perfect on the day of your hike, make sure to cover up and use proper sun protection as the sun's rays are extremely strong at this altitude.
To the north, views of the Fall River Valley and Bighorn Mountain abound. To the south, you'll be looking down into the Big Thompson River Gorge framed by Stones Peak. At around the one-mile mark, the trail will begin trending upward slightly before descending the saddle to the south of Tombstone Ridge. Keep an eye out for a large, lichen covered boulder next to the trail as you approach the saddle. This serves as the turn-around spot for the hike given that Ute Trail begins a three mile, 2,700' descent at this point.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Rocky Mountain National Park