Rocky Mountain National Park

Bushwack to Secluded Lakeside Camping on this 9.9-Mile Rocky Mountain Weekender

Follow this loop mixing on- and off-trail travel through vibrant wildflower displays and past snow-fed streams to a huge alpine lake with unbeatable campsite views of Mount Meeker.

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  • Distance: 9.4 miles
  • Time: 2 days
  • Elevation gain: 2,221 feet

Start from the Sandbeach trailhead. Climb from the north side of lot into evergreen forest, staying straight (towards Copeland Lake) at the 4-way intersection. The trail then heads along a sidehill, overlooking Copeland Lake and the braided rapids of North St. Vrain Creek.

Veer left at the next junction, then pass a handful of designated campsites along well-named Campers Creek. cross the next stream, Hunter Creek (keep an eye out for trout), then continue climbing. Optional spur: Follow a faint trail .7 mile upstream to Lyric Falls. Reach Sandbeach lake at mile 4.4. The eponymous sandy beach is a perfect spot to pitch a 5-star campsite, with the lake just past your tent and Mt. Meeker and Mt. Orton rising above.

To close the loop, follow the lakeshore to Sandbeach Creek and bushwhack downhill from the headwaters. When the creek drops into a marshy field, swing left around a teardrop pond, then return to the stream.  At mile 6.4, meet up with the Wild Basin Trail and turn left (east), then continue onto the Upper and Lower Copeland Falls Trail until Wild Basin Road at mile 9.7, then turn left and follow the road .2 mile back to Sandbeach trailhead and your car.

Contact Rocky Mountain National Park Permit Required

-Mapped by Kris Wagner


Sandbeach Lake Loop
Shores of Sandbeach Lake

Mt. Meeker dominates the skyline

Stumbling upon a lost trail

Upper Copeland Falls

Navigating a boulder field on the bushwhack down