Monday, September 12, 2011

Twin Sisters peaks.

This is a hike I did pretty early in the year, and after a winter of heavy snowfall in the mountains I was pleased to find it almost completely dry. These peaks are instantly recognizable from the east as being the two grey points to the right or north of Meeker and Longs.
To get to the trail head, drive either south on rt 7 from Estes Park, or north (turn left) on rt 7 from Lyons. The trail head is on the east side of the road right around where you'll find Lily Lake on the west. Drive up a little way and park on the right side of the road only. The time of the day you arrive will dictate how close to the actual trail head you'll be able to park. This is a pretty popular hike. If the parking is pretty full, consider turning around and parking at Lily Lake.
This is a short but steep one, so prepare yourself and head up.
Looking up the trail.
Looking down.
You'll pass by some cliff line, and grab some tantalizing views of Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak through the trees.
Looking up at the peaks from the trail.
You'll hit some switchbacks and notice that the trees are starting to thin. Treeline is coming and soon after the peaks!
The trail leads you right to the top of the western summit, which is the lower of the two at 11413 feet. There is an old NPS stone building here, and at one time a fire lookout for rangers to look into RMNP.
Look west for this...
In some close up, Mt. Meeker on the left and Longs Peak right with the distinct 'diamond' visible.
The range.
Head back down and orient to the western summit, which is the true high point. A short time spent rock hopping with some light class 2 will bring you to it.
At 11428 feet.
Looking north to Estes Park.
Lake Estes and cloud shadows.
And once again, Meeker and Longs Peak.LinkSoak in the sights for as long as you'd like, and head back down. I had left somewhat earlier in the morning and saw a ton of people heading up on my way back down.
This is a fun and not too hard hike that offers a great 360 degree view of the area. From the plains to the east, to the big mountains and continental divide to the west and Estes Park to the north, you really can see it all. Check it out.
Twin Sisters Peaks:
3.4 miles one way, with a 2253 foot gain to the western summit (11413 feet) and a 2268 foot gain to the eastern summit (11428 feet). There is a small section of class 2 to reach the top of the eastern summit. I'd say this is an easier moderate hike.

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