Estes Cone, Rocky Mountain National Park

The mine is just after the stream in a large clearing. My goal was to summit so I didn't wanna spend too much time distracted, but I did poke around a bit. I couldn't find anything that looked like a "mine".



About 1.5 miles into the hike and 500 ft above the trailhead here
To the left Estes Cone rises, the trail will be up the left side as seen here

Shortly after the mine you pass the Moore Camping Park trails and then emerge into a refreshing open meadow - a welcome break from the woods.



In front of you the Twin Sisters are seen
After the meadow and back in the woods, soon you will make a sharp left turn at this sign, pointing to Storm Pass, Glacier Basin, Lily Lake, and ... Estes Cone!

From this point on the trail gets noticeably steeper, but still only a moderate grade.



Steeper and rockier, but still pleasant
Before long you will come to this flat rock outcropping, a nice break from the woods. Perfect for rest and snack. Freshen up good here now, the "fun" part of this hike is about to begin.



A nice expansive view from the lookout rock
Shortly after the lookout you come to a clearing in the woods with this huge rockpile cairn, and signs pointing to the various destinations. Head right for Estes Cone.

About 2.5 miles into the hike and 850 feet above trailhead now. The trail gets very steep and rocky from this point on to the end - and it never lets up once. It is relentless and unforgiving, it would be very difficult if wet or in snow. Like a double deck of stairs over half a mile long.



Camera shots never catch the angle of ascent too well. Look at the trees and how they intersect the ground to give you an idea
You could lose the trail very easily were it not for the rock piles (cairns) spaced out all along the way. They are sometimes hard to see, but a little practice is all you need - you will always have at least 2 in sight.

Just keep sucking that thin air and you will eventually get to the summit. Trust me, it will be worth it. As you approach, the woods will open up, the sky will look closer, and rocks will loom in front of you. A short easy rock scramble will take you to the end, it's easier than it looks in this picture!