Sunrise on Flattop in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
It has been awhile since I have updated the blog as summer has been very busy. With the season winding down as the snow begins to fall on the high peaks I am hoping to update the blog more frequently with my many adventures from the past several months. For this post we are going way back to July when I did a quick sunrise hike up to Flattop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.
With Rocky Mountain National Park being so close to our new home in Loveland I have been eager to explore this popular park. Summer is quite crowded in Rocky Mountain with such close proximity to Denver and the national park name attracting lots of tourists. A permit system has been implemented to manage crowds and honestly it has been a big help in my opinion although the topic has been a point of controversy for many. Anyway, even with the permit system a way to beat the crowds is to show up early or stay out late. So on this day I arrived at the Bear Lake trailhead around 4:30am hoping to catch sunrise on Flattop Mountain. A steep, but well defined trail takes you to the broad flat summit hence the name Flattop.
The first few miles through the forest went by quickly as it was still dark. As I emerged above the treeline the views opened up. Big time views of Longs Peak and Estes Park commanded the eastern horizon while the slope dramatically dropped down towards Emerald Lake (a very popular dayhike). What surprised me about this hike was the incredible cliff faces with stunning dark rock types. I spent a while on the windy summit exploring the broad open tundra inspired by the dramatic view to the east as the sun rose above the smoky horizon. After being battered by the wind, I had enough and worked my way back down to the trailhead passing lots and lots of hikers who were just beginning their day. A pleasant and exciting sunrise hike to be sure! Here are the photos from my hike to Flattop.
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