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Rocky Mountain National Park: Flattop Mountain

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Distance: 4.0 miles


From Bear Lake, this 8.1-mile out-and-back begins by heading northwest on the Flattop Mountain Trail. The methodical upward climb—over 2,800 feet in 4 miles—begins almost immediately and traverses rich conifer forests intermixed with aspen. At mile 1.6, catch your breath at the impressive view of Dream Lake's shimmering surface against the rugged mountains. From the overlook, continue upward on the tight, switchbacking trail.

Just before breaking treeline, the trail passes another overlook above Emerald Lake. Stop for views of Glacier Gorge and Longs Peak that open up to the southeast. Look southwest toward Hallett Peak, and pick out the level profile of Flattop Mountain by following Tyndall Gorge’s contour to the west. The remaining 1.3 miles are a long, slow grind up Flattop Mountain’s high-alpine eastern slope. During the winter or if the trail is dusted with snow, follow large rock cairns leading to the mountain’s north side.

Just before summiting, (the trail junction on the indistinct peak is generally considered the highpoint), you’ll pass a hitch rack at the top of Tyndall Glacier. If peak-bagging is your goal, consider adding 1 mile with an out-and-back to Hallett Peak.

-Mapped by Tim Shisler and Jenn Fields

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