Big on scenery and small on crowds, this 9-miler swings from the Lawn Lake Trailhead to one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s lesser-visited landmarks. Heading north on Lawn Lake Trail, you’ll immediately begin climbing a ridge offering vistas of the Fall River and Horseshoe Park below.
The trail levels out as it begins tracing the Roaring River through a deep valley before leading to a Y-junction with the Ypsilon Lake Trail. Cross the river and turn left to begin the northern trek to the lake. The trail becomes steeper and rockier as you climb higher through thick pine forest.
Just before mile 4, the deep woods give way to Chipmunk Lake (10,680 feet). Continue north on the now level trail: Ypsilon Lake is less than 0.5 mile away. Before reaching the lake, you’ll pass a sidetrail to developed backcountry campsites. Upon reaching the lake, which is framed by Ypsilon Mountain and the cloud-scraping Mummy Range to the north, use a network of social trails to explore its pine-walled, boulder-strewn shorelines.
The lake is brimming with rainbow cutthroat trout, and fishing is especially fruitful in the lake’s shallow, southern section. For an alternate return to the trailhead, follow this GPS track of an off-trail route tracing the Roaring River.
INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season). nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcntry_guide.htm
CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206; nps.gov/romo
-Mapped by Chris Hood, Mountain Adventures
Trailhead: From Estes Park, follow US 34 W for 5.5 miles. Turn right at Old Fall River Rd. Parking is on right in 500 feet.