INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season). nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcntry_guide.htm
CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206; nps.gov/romo
-Mapped by Kris Wagner
- Distance: 16.0
Location: 40.219849, -105.534515
Trail climbs from north side of lot into evergreen forest; go straight at 4-way to Copeland Lake.
Location: 40.219917, -105.547737
Ascend along sidehill to overlook with view of Copeland Lake and the liquid braids of North St. Vrain Creek.
Location: 40.217133, -105.553268
Veer left at Y-junction.
Location: 40.216366, -105.561363
Pass a handful of designated campsites along Campers Creek.
Location: 40.218918, -105.587547
Trout run the swift current of Hunters Creek. Cross bridge and continue ascent. Optional spur: Follow faint trail .7 mile upstream to Lyric Falls.
Location: 40.219345, -105.601601
Sandy beach with 5-star campsites (permit required). Add a day: Climb southwest ridge to Mt. Meeker, the park's 2nd highest peak; return to camp.
Location: 40.216301, -105.601852
Leave Sandbeach Lake. Begin a moderate bushwhack from the headwaters of Sandbeach Creek.
Location: 40.211517, -105.602402
Creek drops into a marshy field. Swing left around a teardrop pond; pick up creek again.
Location: 40.206299, -105.584953
Caution: On this sharp descent, you'll scramble over a boulder field covered in chartreuse lichen. Pink cliffs peek out of the woods ahead.
Location: 40.203068, -105.581902
Wildflowers bloom in sunny spot. Cross the old trail rut for Thunder Lake Trail.
Location: 40.201584, -105.581802
End of bushwhack. Turn left onto Wild Basin Trail.
Location: 40.203617, -105.573387
Swing onto frontage trail to Upper and Lower Copeland Falls.
Location: 40.207516, -105.566681
Pass Wild Basin parking lot; trail parallels forest road and North St. Vrain Creek.
Location: 40.218449, -105.535316
Turn left at the main road; follow .2 mile back to trailhead.
Shores of Sandbeach Lake
Location: 40.218914, -105.601143
Caitlin and Andrew hike the E edge of Sandbeach Lake. © Kris Wagner
Location: 40.219006, -105.601227
Mount Meeker looms over Sandbeach Lake. It's a good, long hike from here to the peak. © Kris Wagner
Discovering a lost trail
Location: 40.215599, -105.601585
Caitlin marks a waypoint along the off-trail section of this loop. In some areas, there's a faint user path and overall this route is easy to navigate. © Kris Wagner
Upper Copeland Falls
Location: 40.203953, -105.572922
Upper Copeland Falls shoots out a large rooster tail of swift water. © Kris Wagner
Navigating the boulder field
Location: 40.207088, -105.585197
Stay far L of the creek to avoid a steep gorge, and cross over this large marbleyard of boulders. © Kris Wagner