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“Flattop Mountain Trail”

Flattop Mountain Trail
Reviewed 17 January 2016

The Flattop Mountain Trail begins at Bear Lake Parking area. You wind your way through aspen, eventually coming to an overlook where you can look down upon Emerald Lake. If you are going to the top of Flattop, be aware that there are many "false summits" but once on top, the view is 360 degrees of beauty. This is a good trail to "skin" up in the winter months and ski down.

1  Thank bdawgwrangler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (59)
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11 - 15 of 59 reviews

Reviewed 29 September 2015

Was rated as extremely difficult by a ranger I asked for information. The trail is indeed a bit rugged and climbing all the time. Do not do this as a first hike unless you really want altitude sickness. On top of Flat Top the view is OK but for the ultimate experience (without technical challenges) continue 45 minutes up to Hallett Peak. It is worth it.

3  Thank Jan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2015

We went on this trail in order to get to the summit of Hallett Peak. Great trail, tremendous overlooks over various lakes, and a not too rocky path. Lots of switchbacks and traversing a snowfield to get to the summit.

Thank ldeimos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2015

This was a fantastic hike to be a centerpiece of our short time in Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park. We visited 4 years ago with our extended family and kids, and did other hikes and drives, but only made it a little way up then (June 2011), due to lots of snow and limited time. This time, we were determined to conquer it!

We had only been in Colorado for a day (coming from Minnesota), so the elevation was a factor - we were getting winded at Bear Lake where the trail begins! Taking it slow (1-1.5 mph), with lots of breaks and water, made it very doable. The trail begins in mixed forest with lots of beautiful aspen, then goes through varying bands of spruce, pine, and other evergreens, before the trees eventually get short, stubby, and then disappear altogether. Once you are above the timberline (about 11,000 ft), the views are amazing in every direction! The wind came mainly from behind the mountain (West), which gave us a headwind in addition to the 3000-foot climb and elevation challenges, and increased in intensity as we got higher. It was about 50mph at the top, and we had to watch the clouds carefully to avoid the common afternoon thunderstorm.

We made sure to get to the Bear Lake parking lot before 8, since it fills up fairly quickly (we were there Labor Day weekend). We started the hike around 8am, reached the summit between 11:30 and noon, and got back down about 2pm. We hike avidly in Minnesota, but went slower because of the altitude. Coloradoans could probably do it more comfortably in a little shorter time. We were advised to get off the summit by early afternoon if we wanted to minimize the chances of lightning, so the early start was good for many reasons.

The trail is very rocky in many areas, so wear good boots. You'll definitely appreciate having a stick, especially on the way down. We made sure to bring plenty of food (carbs and protein) suitable for the short breaks, and we wished we had brought more water. We brought about 2 quarts for the two of us, but probably could have used 2 qts each. A Camelbak and a backup bottle per person would probably be enough. There were no streams for water along the way, so better to have more than you need, as water and a slower pace are the only things that help with the altitude. The weather was sunny and about 60 at the base, and windy and cold (wind chill probably in the mid-30s) at the top. Circulation can be an issue with altitude, also, so bring a windbreaker, skullcap, and light gloves. We did it in shorts and caps (tough Minnesotans, I know), but wished we had these along.

All in all, as other reviews have said, this mountain is great for feeling like you've conquered a "real" mountain, and it's enough of a challenge that you feel accomplished - plenty of people (including us the first time) have attempted and had to turn back for any number of reasons. The views are absolutely worth the effort, and it's not so taxing that it will ruin the rest of your stay. There were hikers in their 60s and 70s passing us (we are in our 30s), so you too can do it!

Bottom line: If you prepare well and pay attention to the important things, this mountain is perfect for regular hikers that want a challenge that doesn't involve life-threatening mountaineering!

12  Thank Jonathan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2015

This is an excellent hike! I loved it! A lot of people labeled this as strenuous and I was even thinking to NOT do it the day before but I'm glad I did. It was not strenuous @ all. I would say moderate, maybe, but this was excellent. I do not think that the elevation up was bad. It was just gradual ascent not like drastic. Yes youre going up and could breath heavily bc of the ascent but take a small break! Also yes, it can be difficult in the cold and snowy months but definitely not in August. The hike among the trees we're excellent but after the treeline.. OMG.. the view from all around you. It was so breath taking. I did this hike alone but not bad because there are several hikers behind or in front of you... good distance away from you if you want to be away from ppl or crowd! I recommend this hike. I will definitely do it again!

4  Thank dtblanco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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