Estes Cone, Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Cone Summit
Rocky Mountain National Park

by Lloyd Garrick

Estes Cone is a unique little mountain at the SE border of RMNP. The very highest point just clears 11,000 feet, but taking the normal hiking trail up will get you to just under that - not quite an "11er". Take Rt. 36 North from Boulder into Lyons, then get on Rt. 7 West. It will gradually curve North, and this drive is very scenic all the way. Eventually you will see a sign for the Longs Peak trailhead and Ranger Station on the left side. Take this well paved access road up to the parking lot, and if miracles happen for you, you may just be able to park. (I did on this, the 3rd attempt. Miracles happen!).

A few miles before the access road, you will notice the scenery. It is especially cool in the Autumn season.

Longs Peak rears it's intimidating head past a field of Autumn Aspens
Your destination, Estes Cone, looms up ahead as you approach the access road

It really is worth stopping and getting out to see these, the Autumn Aspens in Colorado literally glow golden
Finally at the Longs Peak ranger station and trailhead parking lot. Estes Cone beckons you from the start. The trail ascends from the left as seen here.

The first half or so of the hike is a rather dull trek thru unimpressive woods and a typical rocky not-very-steep trail.

It is mostly like this at first. Just something ya gotta get thru to get to the cool stuff

Little furry friend

As always, you may be alone on the trail, but you are never really alone out here.

Little furry friend
These woodpeckers put on quite a show for me, they let me get real close as if they weren't afraid

woody woodpecker

About a mile in you see this sign pointing to the Eugenia mine
Just before the mine you cross a stream. Cold clear fresh water, on a hot day you may be tempted to reach in and drink it or even lay down in it!