East Portal Trailhead: Wind River and Glacier Basin Loop is a 6.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
We've done parts of this a few times. It's not very busy and we only see a few people (if any). We did 1/2 of it yesterday (9/19) after hiking emerald mtn. And the fall color was amazing! Great leisurely hike for the fall.
We began this hike headed to Sprague Lake from East Portal campground. Trail is unmarked in the beginning and hikers must assume they are on the correct trail. We ended up hiking the trail along Wind River which was absolutely gorgeous most of the way. Upon arrival of Sprague lake views were great, however tourism was a bit much and fishing wasn't much to brag about. The hike back was rather boring and open as we finished the trails loop along Emerald Mtn. and Glacier Basin.
To get to the East Portal trailhead from the junction of US 36 and CO 66, just west of Estes Park, head 3.3 miles southwest going past the YMCA of the Rockies on CO 66 till it ends at a circular loop where there is limited parking. Another alternative to getting to this trailhead is by taking the free Estes Park shuttle bus via the Brown Route, during the summer season.
From the parking area start walking west, and go around the gate that blocks the road that heads on up towards the small reservoir by the portal. This roadway use to be open and you could park closer to the actual trail but in the wake of 9/11 this last part of the road was blocked off.
From the pool the trail, depending on where you are going, either follows along the north shore of the pool and then continues up the Wind River, or heads up the slope to the north of the pool. The second trail heads towards Emerald Mountain and Glacier Basin Campground.