View Full Version : RMNP - Grand Lake area

01-31-2013, 22:31
I may be in the Grand Lake area this coming Memorial Day. I was wondering what the usual weather/trail conditions would be like at that time of the year. I'd like to set foot on the CDT while I'm out there. I know that the trail goes through the town but I should have enough time for a day hike.

Any help would be appreciated.
Lumberjack2003 (AT NOBO 2003)

02-01-2013, 02:29
After mid-day the snow turns slushy in the high country that time of year. Temps can be anywhere from winter-like to spring-like. I wouldn't hike in the high country that time of year but some do, it would probably be more fun as a quick morning ski trip before the snow gets crappy. If that's not your thing the foothills are great that time of year.

02-01-2013, 11:09
Memorial DAy weekend in the that part of the Rockies is generally too snowy.

You can do a 'stroll' in the lower elevation areas just outside of town, but probably would not enjoy slogging up to the higher areas.

02-01-2013, 15:19
Thanks Brian and Mags for the info.

02-01-2013, 16:15
Here's a link from the Rocky Mountain NP website showing the CDT and related surrounding trails in the Grand Lake area which is on the west side of the NP.


02-01-2013, 16:33
If you kept below about 10,000 feet, you may very well have some good hiking opportunities. As said below, much above that on "normal" years and you'd be slogging. Many yearts are quite dry and you can get much higher on Mem. day weekend.

One of my faves is the hike in to Crater Lake. The t/h is at Monarch Lake, which is off the SE end of Lake Granby. Maybe a 15 mile drive from Grand Lake. It is about 8 miles to Crater lake, pretty long for a dayhike, but cool stuff all along the way, including some nice waterfalls, so you could go as far as you wanted.

02-01-2013, 16:59
Note on the map link where the Tohanatu and North Inlet trail junction is. Practically at that junction, is the Shadowcliff Hostel in Grand Lake CO. The Shadowcliff Hostel is a very nice, clean, affordable(about $30/night), and convenient to town hiking base camp for the western side of the NP. Depending on trail conditions around Memorial Day you could choose to do all/some of the "official" higher elevation CDT red route (CDT Long loop) which can be done as a LONG day hike involving a steady long ascent/descent beginning and ending at the hostel OR decide on a lower elevation day hike on any of the yellow route. If there is any significant depth of snow on the red route it would make that an EXTREMELY DEMANDING LONG day hike only suitable for the strongest hikers doing it as a day hike. I warn you don't attempt this as a day hike with a significant snow depth unless you are a very strong prepared hiker. The red route does offer some outstanding scenery and overlooks though. You could hike it as far as conditions allow and turn around. The hike along the East Shore Trail, which is the "official" CDT route, is at a lower elevation too and offers some nice views of the areas lakes. A possible nice day hike involving the CDT could be made by hiking to the Shadow Lake Dam and lollipopping back to Grand Lake or possibly taking the East Shore Trail to the pt where the yellow designated trail on the map seems to end(the trail(CDT) doesn't end there) and heading back to Grand Lake(doing this affords some nice views out over the water from a ridgeline). Any of this yellow route is probably your best bet at more moderate trail conditions at this time of the yr. You could also hike north along the yellow designated CDT "Short Loop" to the RMNP Visitors Center(nice exhibits) starting from the hostel and hitching or hiking back to Grand Lake. This is also at a lower elevation than the red route.

02-01-2013, 17:00
You could hike Seg 35, which is the CDT segment before Grand Lake. It basically follows the lakes so it stays lower. It goes 11.4 miles to Monarch Lake.

02-02-2013, 15:14
Thanks everyone for the info. I'm hoping to find out next week if the trip is a go.

Maybe one day
02-02-2013, 21:21
Spent some time at RMNP in late May several years ago. One day we got 6" snow and froze -couldn't see the trail to hike as there were no blazes...next day was mid 60's and beautiful...that time of year you never know and be prepared for anything.