Just before breaking treeline, the trail passes another overlook above Emerald Lake. Stop for views of Glacier Gorge and Longs Peak that open up to the southeast. Look southwest toward Hallett Peak, and pick out the level profile of Flattop Mountain by following Tyndall Gorge’s contour to the west. The remaining 1.3 miles are a long, slow grind up Flattop Mountain’s high-alpine eastern slope. During the winter or if the trail is dusted with snow, follow large rock cairns leading to the mountain’s north side.
Just before summiting, (the trail junction on the indistinct peak is generally considered the highpoint), you’ll pass a hitch rack at the top of Tyndall Glacier. If peak-bagging is your goal, consider adding 1 mile with an out-and-back to Hallett Peak.
-Mapped by Tim Shisler and Jenn Fields
Rocky Mountain National Park ($12, natgeomaps.com)
Order USGS topo quads at store.usgs.gov.
Order a custom map of this route using MyTopo.com
CONDITIONS Trail Ridge Road is closed from November to April. Check conditions for the east side of the park check Estes Park, CO (80517) Weather
PERMIT $20 for entry to Rocky Mountain National Park; (970) 586-1242, nps.gov/romo
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK INFO
Visitor Information (970) 586-1206 (daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time; recorded information after hours)
Trail Ridge Road Information Recorded Message 970-586-1222 (available 24 hours a day, updated when conditions and/or road status change)
Visitor Information for the Hearing Impaired (TTY): 970-586-1319 (daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time)
Backcountry Office (970) 586-1242
Shell 860 Moraine Ave. Estes Park, CO (970) 586-7867
Grab supplies or gear rentals (packs, bags, pads, and fishing gear) at Estes Park Mountain Shop, 2050 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park, CO; (866) 303-6548.
The Country Market National Park Village 900 Moraine Ave. Estes Park, Colorado (970) 586-2702
Try a Mountain Mai Tai and the buffalo-and-bacon meatloaf at Peak-to-Peak American Grille, 451 South Saint Vrain Ave., Estes Park, CO; (970) 577-0577
Trailhead: From Estes Park, take US 36 W to Rocky Mountain National Park's Beaver Meadows Entrance. Turn left onto Bear Lake Rd. Drive 9.4 miles to the Bear Lake Trailhead.