Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin, nestled far away from the overwhelming crowds, abounds with hidden gems. And Thunder Lake may just be the biggest one of them. With an abundance of magnificent waterfalls, crystal-clear alpine lakes, and stunning views of the surrounding 13,000+ foot tall summits, the scenery here is a thing to behold. How do you get to experience said scenery? Through challenging but rewarding hikes on classic Rocky Mountain ridges and peaks. Thunder Lake may be Rocky Mountain National Park’s hidden secret, but it’s certainly one every hiker and backpacker should know about.

  • Set up camp near Thunder Lake for a meditative wilderness experience

  • Experience freezing lakes and scenic waterfalls in Colorado’s high country

  • Relish in diverse alpine hikes that never get crowded

Choose itinerary

3-Day Thunder Lake Backpacking Trip
Available upon request
4-Day Thunder Lake Backpacking Trip
Jul 17|Aug 06|Aug 27|+1 more

Meet your guide

Wildland Trekking
5.00
Wildland Trekking
Hiking Guides
Wildland Trekking's goals are to continue to reach more and more people through hikes, and to introduce them to what is an essential part of a life well-lived: connection with the natural world. With more than 10,000 people joining their tours annually, they have a proven track record of providing quality trips that exceed their guests’ expectations!
5.00 (3 reviews)
Can’t go wrong with this one!
Lisa M. about Wildland Trekking on Wildland Trekking

If you want to get away from the crowds, into the beautiful backcountry, this is a great choice! The first day is difficult, no doubt, but worth the effort. The scenery was amazing and you also get to hang out with like-minded travelers who quickly become new friends.

Couldn’t Be More Happy With This Trip
Zack S. about Wildland Trekking on Wildland Trekking

I couldn’t be more happy with the experience my daughter and I had. Everything was amazing! Our guides Charles and Zion both were very knowledgeable and very fun to be around. They both went out of their way to make my daughter and me comfortable. The views and experience were great, but Charles and Zion both made the trip awesome!

Tamar G. about Wildland Trekking on Wildland Trekking

The Rocky Mountain Thunder Lake backpack was a wonderful way to ease into backpacking. The pre-trip information and communication were great. The equipment was modern and top-notch. Our guide, Floyd, made his love of the mountains known and took good care of us- keeping us dry whenever possible, preparing well-thought-out and tasty and nutritious meals and snacks, and adjusting the hikes to the weather and our abilities and preferences. I felt safe and cared for, but still adventurous and prepared for my next outdoor experience.

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Thunder Lake, Colorado, please refer to the official Colorado COVID-19 updates website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • 3-4 days of hiking and camping depending on your chosen itinerary
    • Use of tent, sleeping pad, and multi-day backpack
    • Use of trekking poles
    • Food
    • Entrance fees and national park permits
    • Transportation for the duration of your tour
    • Bear canisters for food storage
    • Emergency equipment, including first aid kit and satellite phone

    What’s not included:

    • Transportation 
    • Accommodation before and after the trip
  • The best thing about hiking in Thunder Lake is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full-day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

  • Your guide will provide tents, sleeping pads, multi-day backpacks and trekking poles. They will also take care of the food and bear canisters for food storage. 

    Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Two one-liter water bottles
    • Hiking boots
    • Spare warm clothes
    • Minimum of three pairs of wool socks
    • Compass & map
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, first aid kit, toilet paper, etc.)
    • High-quality sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug spray
    • Headlamp
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Group sizes and pricing:

    • For the group adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 6:1. It takes a minimum of 4 people for a tour to operate. The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 

    Hiking in Thunder Lake can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors as young as 12 may be permitted to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistics requirements on a case-by-case basis

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • The meeting location is at your hotel or agreed upon location in Estes Park, CO. You can get there by taking a flight to Denver International Airport or one of the municipal airports around Denver. From DIA, one can take a shuttle or rent a car to reach Estes Park. It is a 1.5-hour drive to Estes Park on good roads.

    From there, you’ll be transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park. Your guide will transfer you back upon departure. If you’re driving separately, you can also meet your guide at the park or follow them to the trailhead.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop in Estes Park or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,

Accommodation and food

  • During this adventure, you will be sleeping in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided to make your trip as comfy as possible.

  • Although campsites vary tremendously by destination, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. Your guides carefully design this itinerary with campsites in mind to provide the best views and photo-ops during the trip.

  • Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch on the last day are included and prepared by your guide on trail. Wildland Trekking never use dehydrated backpacking meals but serve freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of ingredients packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats—rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

    Vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets can be accommodated! Your guide will make adjustments for food allergies as well. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee. Please contact us before booking to make any necessary arrangements.

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