Winter Hike Flattop Mountain

Bear Lake Trailhead

Watch the sunrise from above treeline with great views below and to the south. This is my favorite place to view the sunrise is from just above the emerald lake overlook. The Bear Lake area is very crowded, but an early morning ascent of flattop mountain will provide ample opportunities for solitude!

To catch the sunrise, begin at the Bear Lake trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the trailhead, veer right around bear lake and continue along the Odessa Lake/Flattop Mountain trail. This will begin to ascend on your right.

After approximately 1 mile, the Flattop Mountain Trail will split off the main trail on the left. Caution, in the winter the sign can be almost buried in snow, so keep a sharp eye out. After the split, stay on the Flattop Mountain Trail and follow as it meanders along the east side of Flattop Mountain. There is ski and snowshoe traffic the length of the trail, but beware of drifting. This can obscure the trail in places.

Once above treeline, you can choose the location you want to watch the show! I prefer a little above the Emerald Lake overlook as the snow will often obscure the sunrise from closer to the summit.

Pack List

Day Hike Gear:
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Traction devices are often handy
  • Snowshoes for below treeline
  • In the winter be prepared for very cold temperatures and very intense wind. Wind Chills below 0 degrees are commonplace.
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RT Distance 8.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 2850 Feet
Activities Snowboarding, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

One of my favourite trails close to the Beaver Meadows entrance to RMNP! It's a pretty easy hike up to the top although when covered in snow sometimes the trail can be easy to lose while still below the treeline. Arrive early to avoid the mass amounts of fellow explorers if you want to secure a parking spot at the trail head!


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