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Trip Details

Date Saturday  2/15/2020
End Date
Group Shining Mountains
Event Title Timberline Falls Loop (RMNP)
Start Time 7:45 AM
Status Complete
Leader Pete Langer
Member Price Free
Non-member Price Free
Available Participants Full- Join Waitlist
Type Trip
Trip Type Snowshoe
Pace Casual
Classification Difficult B
Trail Mileage 7.5
Elevation Gain 1,900'
Driving Distance


Our snowshoe hike today will be to Timberline Falls (with an adventuresome, off-trail, overland return) in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Snowshoes are required.  We will meet at 7:45 AM in the lower level of the Estes Park Visitor Center Parking Garage and carpool from there to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead (where parking is limited hence the early meet).  The parking garage is the new 3-story structure as you come into Estes Park on Hwy 36.  It is after the Hwys 36/7 stoplight and before the main stoplight at Hwys 34/36.  The address is 645 CO-7 (St. Vrain Ave.).  There are bathrooms inside the EP Visitor Center across the footbridge over the river.  There are also toilets at the trailhead.  A Park Pass will be required for each car we take into the Park so, if you have one, please bring it.

For more info Contact


Contact your trip leader, Pete Langer, at or voice or text at 970-227-3614.


Timberline Falls (10,480') sits at the head end of one of the most spectacular valleys in RMNP. Though known primarily as a summer destination or as a waypoint along the way to the alpine lakes above, the terrain is equally stunning dressed for winter. Join us for a snowshoe hike to Timberline Falls but note that this hike is more about the journey to/from the falls rather than the destination.  Read on...

From the Glacier Gorge Trailhead (9,180'), we will take the standard summer trail to the Loch/Mills Junction then reach The Loch via the amazing winter route up through the Loch Vale Gorge.  We will be returning on another track thereby making a sort of "twisted loop" hike. After some picture taking at The Loch, we will cross its frozen surface and continue into the forest as we climb steadily towards Timberline Falls. The final couple hundred yards before the falls is quite steep; however, that will work to our advantage as we'll be able (maybe) to butt-glissade the descent.

Upon reaching the flats below the falls, we will deviate from our ascent route and blaze our own route towards tiny Embryo Lake.  This should make a good sunny spot for a lunch break.  We will continue cross-country to The Loch, recross it, and then climb into the forest with the intent (depends upon the weather and group interest) of climbing the West Glacier Knob.  This bare granite outcrop offers magnificent views of both the valley we've just descended and the beautiful Glacier Gorge with Longs Peak above it.  From the knob we will descend into the forest again to a hidden gem of a pond known locally as Serendipity Pond. This will be another fine spot for a break. From the pond, we will follow its outflow creek into the forest and plunge through deep snow and down very steep terrain. Despite the steep gradient, the soft snow in the trees here makes the descent quite enjoyable. In fact, there will be ample opportunities to, once-again, test the fabric on the seat of one's pants!  We will eventually reach the Lake Haiyaha Trail, cross it, and continue downward until we reach the "Winter Trail".  We'll take that route home.

Snowshoes will be required for this outing and gaiters and trekking poles are highly recommended. You may also want to bring MicroSpikes or other shoe traction devices as we will likely be on icy/packed trails on our outbound journey up the summer trail to the Loch/Mills Junction.  Once in the Loch Vale Gorge and above the lake, snowshoes are required.  Headwinds can often be quite fierce crossing The Loch so a balaclava and goggles are also recommended. Overall, this hike will be approximately 7.5 miles long with a gain of about 1,900'. Trailhead to trailhead time will be in the vicinity of 6 hours. Our pace will be casually comfortable.



Snowshoes will be required.  MicroSpikes, gaiters, trekking poles, goggles, balaclava, and snow pants will be extremely helpful and should also be brought.  Please practice attaching your snowshoes to your pack as well as securely fastening them to your feet!  I will keep the group posted on trail conditions and forecasted weather as we get closer to the hike date.  I will not be coordinating the carpooling to Estes Park.  A week prior to the hike, a roster containing your name, town, email, and cell phone will be sent to all participants on the roster for the purpose of arranging carpooling among yourselves.  By signing up for this hike, you consent to this sharing.  Please arrive at the meeting site either on-time or early so that we can get under way as quickly as possible.  Text me or call (970-227-3614) if you are running late.  If you have a National Parks Pass, please bring it.


Sorry it is past the registration deadline for this event.