This past weekend I hiked from Bear Lake to Grand Lake (18.2 miles) in Rocky Mountain National Park with my friends Jay and Torgun. The hike starts at the Bear Lake trailhead, climbs over the summit of Flattop Mountain (the continental divide) and then gradually descends into the Grand Lake area. We stared at about 6:40 AM and finally made it into the middle of town in Grand Lake at 4:30 PM. Doing this hike in the direction we did (east to west) means that only the first 4 miles are strenuous uphill. The rest of it is mostly gradual downhill. There weren’t any super steep, knee pounding, downhill sections.
We enjoyed seeing wildflowers, numerous pikas and marmots, big horn sheep, a moose, what we think was a ferret, and some droppings that I insist were from a bear (full of berries). Although 18 miles in one day was tough, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. It wasn’t until the last 4 miles or so that my body really started complaining. Overall, it was a great hike and a good way to see some areas of Rocky Mountain National Park that very few people ever see.