• Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    16 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    5000 Feet

Forest
Lake
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Hit the highest point of of the Wild Basin, the prettiest part of Rocky Mountain National Park,

Mount Alice rules over the nicest part of Rocky Mountain National Park (in my opinion), the Wild Basin area. Due to long approaches most people never see more than a mile or two past the Wild Basin trailhead but if you are willing to put in a little time hiking you will see beautiful alpine lakes in all their blue and green splendor, stunning views of Long's Peak, Chief's Head, Meeker, Tanima, and more.

There are two main ways to get up to the Continental Divide and then to the summit of Alice from Wild Basin - the one we will be covering here is via Thunder Lake, Lake of the Many Winds, then on to Boulder Grand Pass and then upward on a tundra walk/scramble to the top. The other direction that goes through the Lion Lakes and Snow Bank lake is about the same length and gain but includes a bit of exposure and will not be covered here.

Start early as this is around 16 miles and 5000ft of gain round trip. Start at Wild Basin and follow the signs to Thunder Lake. Around 1.5 miles in you will come to a fork that points to campsites, take this, as this will save you nearly a mile. Using the shortcut it’s about 6 miles to the Ranger Cabin that is pictured. Now the easy part of the hike is done.

Follow the social trail heading west along the north side of Thunder Lake and if you look up to the Divide you might be able to spy the gully and the scramble you will eventually take to get up to Boulder Grand Pass. Just keep on the well marked and intuitive trail and enjoy the views, the flowers, the birds and the solitude. As you get closer to Lake of the Many Winds you will start to get great views of the backside of Long's Peak and the popular Key Hole route to its summit.

Once you arrive at Lake of the Many Winds it doesn’t matter which way you go but you must rock hop your way to the backside and the base of the scree field. Basically pick your way up the divide by whatever path seems best to you. Its a choose your own adventure sort of thing. Once on the divide make sure to look back and see lakes and mountain layers unfold behind you.

Now, from here it's a matter of picking your way over the tundra to the summit. It is not hard, but it is somewhat of a slog. Peek over the ledge from time to time as there are other gully's down to another lake (dont go down those though, ive done that, its not a smart move). Eventually the Lion Lake side of Mount Alice's domain starts to come into view as well as crystal clear views across to Long's. Count all the lakes, turn to the West and check out Grand Lake and the East Inlet and enjoy knowing you are on a part of Rocky Mountain National Park that not many people will ever see.

Pick your way back the way you came. Again, make very sure that you get back to the correct gully that leads down to Lake of the Many Winds. Do not go down the wrong gully to the wrong lake. Once you are at the gully slide down, pick your way around the lake and head back the way you came. It’s a long slog back to the trailhead but there are a lot of opportunities to soak one's feet in the river and revel in a day well spent. 

Pack List

  • Either tons of water or some sort of filtration device as you can easily access water pretty much anywhere but on the Divide
  • Layers
  • Food
  • Sunscreen
  • Map/compass
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Charles Buscemi

My day job consists of helping 1s and 0s find their way around the internet, but my passion is finding my way to the great outdoors. Lover of dogs, mountains, snow, coffee, and beer; i'm always planning my next trip outside.

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