This picturesque alpine lake sits at the foot of 13,176-foot Copeland Mountain and a rugged cirque in Rocky Mountain National Park. Get there on a 12.4-mile out-and-back that starts just east of the large Wild Basin parking area. From the trailhead, follow Finch Lake Trail as it climbs southeast to a narrow ridgeline.
From here, the trail turns sharply west, then levels out, passing through one of the park’s brightest wildflower corridors. At mile 1.4, turn right at the junction, heading west. Half a mile later, stop for views of Mt. Meeker to the northwest. At mile 2.3, continue straight at the 4-way junction, and continue climbing through a burn area, now dotted with flowers.
Near mile four, cross a series of crystalline creeks on log footbridges before skirting Finch Lake .2 mile later. Roughly six miles in, cross Pear Creek and turn right for the final stretch to its namesake lake. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Caitlin May and Kim Phillips
Plan your trip
Trail Ridge Road is closed from November to April. Check conditions for the east side of the park check Estes Park, CO (80517) Weather
$20 for entry to Rocky Mountain National Park; (970) 586-1242; nps.gov/romo
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK INFO
Visitor Information: (970) 586-1206 (daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M.T; recorded information after hours)
Trail Ridge Road Information Recorded Message: (970) 586-1222 (available 24 hours a day, updated when conditions and/or road status change)
Visitor Information for the Hearing Impaired (TTY): (970) 586-1319 (daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M.T.)
Backcountry Office: (970) 586-1242
Shell 860 Moraine Ave. Estes Park, CO (970) 586-7867
Grab supplies or gear rentals (packs, bags, pads, and fishing gear) at Estes Park Mountain Shop, 2050 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park, CO; (866) 303-6548.
The Country Market National Park Village 900 Moraine Ave. Estes Park, Colorado (970) 586-2702
Try a Mountain Mai Tai and the buffalo-and-bacon meatloaf at Peak-to-Peak American Grille, 451 South Saint Vrain Ave., Estes Park, CO; (970) 577-0577
- Distance: 20.0
Location: 40.208393, -105.56097
Begin hiking uphill on the well-marked Finch Lake Trail.
Location: 40.207, -105.547478
Trail turns sharply west, then levels out; pass through one of the park’s brightest wildflower corridors.
Location: 40.202149, -105.555718
Turn right at junction, heading west.
Location: 40.202149, -105.565288
Break at first vista; enjoy views of Mt. Meeker and skyline of peaks.
Location: 40.199544, -105.57042
Straight at 4-way junction, following signs for Pear Lake.
Location: 40.19697, -105.571468
Keep climbing; pass through old burn land, now carpeted with flowers.
Location: 40.184849, -105.586266
Cross a series of crystal-clear streams on log footbridges.
Location: 40.184382, -105.592024
Finch Lake sits in a dishbowl basin of steep evergreen hillsides; hike past several campsites.
Location: 40.183808, -105.594192
Continue straight; follow sign for Pear Lake.
Location: 40.177201, -105.618889
Turn right after crossing Pear Creek to reach its namesake lake.
Location: 40.17666, -105.623438
Good spot for stargazing at this high alpine lake, cradled by jagged mountainsides; retrace steps to trailhead.
Location: 40.176758, -105.623052
Hiking into the rugged basin of Pear Lake
Location: 40.177217, -105.618696
Views from Finch Lake Trail
Location: 40.177238, -105.62088
Location: 40.176758, -105.622816
Western edge of Pear Lake
Location: 40.175988, -105.628588