Flattop Mountain Trail

HARD 241 reviews
#21 of 191 trails in

Flattop Mountain Trail is a 8.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake. The trail is rated as difficult and offers a number of activity options.

DISTANCE
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,870 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Directions from Estes Park: Follow Hwy 34 west past the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station to Bear Lake Road. Follow this road to the parking area for the shuttle bus to Bear Lake. The trailhead is located at the end of Bear Lake Road.

hiking
18 days ago

Went on Flattop Mountain Train 2/1/19. Definitely use snow shoes, the snow gets a bit deep in the middle portion of the trail. The top is more sparse with snow so we went back to boots. Beautiful views!

backpacking
30 days ago

Trail was fairly easy to follow to the peak, although deep powder starting after the Dream Lake overlook made it very tough without snowshoes. Trail seemed to end once we cleared the treeline, so we had to more or less bushwack to the peak. Amazing views of the park though!

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this with my sister back on October 6th. Wasn’t our planned hike. Decided to do it and Hallet since we couldn’t get to Mount Ida. Trail Ridge was already closed and under snow. We were only in the park for two days so lots of huffing and puffing but we made it. Started off around 7am in the fog and climbed above the clouds into the snow! One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Super cold and windy at the top but amazing views. Soaked socks, shoes, and legs. Didn’t plan for the snow but it was awesome. Can’t wait to do it again next summer along with Mount Ida.

3 months ago

hiked this trail today! reaching the summit was impossible. i did not have snow snoes, but dont think they would have made much of a difference. still incredible views and an awesome hike! want to do this one again in the summer :)

hiking
3 months ago

I hiked this trail in 1972 and it was an amazing journey. A fellow wanderer and I took off one morning from Glacier Basin Campground and parked at Bear Lake. Hiked up and over the mountain and camped in a primitive campground. Got scared like I've never been scared in my life from some animal noises outside the tent. I lost the coin toss and had to see what it was. Never been so happy to see a porcupine in my life! The next day we hiked on down to Grand Lake and caught a ride with some hippies in a VW bus who took us back across Trail Ridge Road to our car. As I recall the total hike was about 16 miles and it was through some of the most beautiful country I've ever seen. I would love to think I could do it again some day, but I'm pushing 70, so memories will have to suffice.

hiking
3 months ago

Phenomenal hike. Views are amazing; you’re up above the tree line after about 3 miles. Very steady climb, never too steep or technical. Very windy at the top - make sure you pack warm layers and cover your face. Spikes on your shoes are essential.

3 months ago

One of my favorite hikes of all time

4 months ago

Great challenge. Pack layers. Views spectacular

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome hike had to turn around at noon because of weather so made it to the top of the mountain but not to Hylett Peak. Glacier was awesome to see and you can't beat the views

hiking
5 months ago

Epic hike and probably most difficult trail from Bear Lake. Leave early and bring plenty of water. Amazed me to see number of folks with limited hydration! Elevation gain is no joke so bring your A game. Views are worth every step!

hiking
5 months ago

Wow, did the altitude hit us, huffing and puffing like oldies... but a great hike. We actually thought we would to get to Hallet Peak then Otis Peak, but settled for cresting Flat Top. Saw Elk, Marmot, Pika and several birds. Gradients are hard, we just needed many stops to regain our breathe. This was our first hike at higher elevations. Highly recommend.

5 months ago

Attempted last Wednesday (8/22). Started at 6:15, plenty of parking at Bear Lake. Endless views of the trees are a little daunting in the beginning, a few good lookouts on the way up, one of dream lake. Once getting near tree-line, views are phenomenal the rest of the way. We stopped about .4 mi from the top, really struggling with the altitude, coming from the midwest and only having been in RMNP for less than 48 hours. Pretty hazy from the smoke that day as well so we were satisfied with the views from where we stopped.

5 months ago

Great hike!! We went as first option to train for Longs Peak (it has the altitude factor, but way shorter) - great hike!! Super busy trail, and the view totally worths it!

hiking
5 months ago

The hike is more difficult than we thought but Altitude is the main factor. The shuttle service is great. Good views at times and in ever direction.
Once the tree line is cleared temps drop but Pika, Marmots, Elk etc enter the scene. We had hoped to continue on to Hallet’s Peak and Otis but calm minds said no. But next time for sure, just need some altitude training.

hiking
6 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in RMNP! The views are incredible! If you are going to hike Flattop you might as well go to Hallet Peak. Maybe another half hour push from Flattop but well worth it for the unobstructed 360 views of RMNP.

hiking
6 months ago

Not an easy hike but a mid-40's couple from Denver took their time and got to the top in about 3 hrs. Some of the most amazing views the park has to offer. Surprised how many other people were on this trail, most younger than us and blazing by. Oh well! We were beat afterwords but loved this hike. May take it all the way into Grand Lake next time.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail was even better than we expected! I would actually consider the destination to be not just Flattop Mountain summit, but also Tyndall Glacier, which is incredible! The views were amazing and we saw lots of pika and marmots as well. The Emerald and Dream Lake overlooks are a nice bonus! We didn’t try hiking up adjacent Hallett Peak this time but will try it on a future trip. We hiked this trail on August 11, 2018.

6 months ago

If I were you, I'd do one of two things and neither is just summitting flat top. If youre up for a slightly longer hike, continue past flattop to hallett where the view is 10x better. It only took us about 45 minutes round trip to do this extra bit and we were very glad we did. If you're less up for it, just go up flat top past the two lake overlooks and after you get above the tree line. The views there are very cool and the other reviews are right - the summit views of flattop itself are a little anticlimactic. Still a beautiful hike if you're up for a pretty uphill hike in the sun! Loved it

6 months ago

Views on route were breathtaking! However, as others mentioned, the view from the summit itself isn’t the greatest given how flat it is. Many hikers continued to Hallett Peak - and it may be worthwhile to plan ahead and give yourself more time to include the second peak.

6 months ago

This was a hard hike. Lots of loose rock and rhe mileage markers of the park are off- must be mileage "as the crow flies"! I'm a regular at RMNP and I think there are hard trails with better payoffs than this one

hiking
6 months ago

be prepared
bring water
nothing flat about flat top
this is an advanced hike
great views

hiking
7 months ago

Heed the advice of other reviews, arrive at Bear lake before 6:30 or be condemned to the ride and park. The trail is well maintained and heavily trafficked. Several scenic views are available to stop and have a drink on the ascent. Marmots and Elk abound above the timberline. The only negative is the view from the top is obscured by the flatness of the summit. My advice is to take this hike, but do it as part of your hike to Hallet Peak which offers a better vantage point and very little additional hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked this on 7/3. Since it is off the Bear Lake trail, don't get to the parking lot after 6:30 on busy days if you want a spot and a less crowded hike. We started early and had a relatively quiet and less populated trail. It is quite steep, there is rarely flat or downhill parts, so rest when you need to. We aren't anywhere near as athletic as most on the harder trails, so the steep hike was quite rewarding with the views over Dream and Emerald Lakes. We only went close to 3 miles and turned around instead of all the way to the top because we took our time and spent a lot at the overlooks, so it was very sunny when we got above tree line. This was the plan because we just wanted to get the views of the lakes and get above tree line for practice for Chasm Lake. Next time we will go to the top! It's a very rewarding hike and each section along the way is beautiful.

7 months ago

Unbelievable views not just from the top but all the way through. Definitely doing it again

hiking
7 months ago

Giving it 4 stars only because the view at the top was very anticlimactic. The trail is extremely well marked. I'd rate this trail as moderate until you get above the treeline where there is about a mile of a steeper incline with some loose rocks. Great views along the trail with lookout points of the lakes. I'd recommend getting there early as parking fills up quickly and gets quite hot. Took about 3 hours to ascend and an hour and 45 minutes to descend.

hiking
7 months ago

The trail is longer than stated in the description. According to official USGS trail maps, it is 4.4 miles to the top of Flattop from the start off the Bear Lake trail, making this an 8.8-mile hike.

Lovely hike with long, steady uphill climb and amazing views along the way and from the top. Very windy and cold once you get above treeline. (I wish I had packed gloves!) No water sources on the way (in case you like to bring your filter), so pack all that you'll need.

Parking at Bear Lake lot is ridiculous, so plan on taking the extra time to ride the shuttle to Bear Lake from the park & ride (or even farther down the road).

hiking
7 months ago

My first mountain. Very limited prior hiking experience. It was very difficult for me but rewarding. The views were unbelievable. It took me 6-7 hours to complete (started and ended at Bear Lake Trailhead). The trail is pretty clear the whole way. You’ll have to navigate some rocky trails but that was part of the fun for me. Do-able for semi-fit newbies, but exhausting. Make sure you bring a jacket, as the top is very windy and pretty cold. Highly recommend!

hiking
7 months ago

Incredible views, long, but easy.

hiking
7 months ago

6/21/18 - Well this hike is all about the journey! Trail is well marked. You hike along beautiful forest for about 2.75 miles. Then you start to get above tree line. The views along the trek to flattop are just stunning. Take time to stop and look around; enjoy this journey. Lots of flowers at this time; no real snow to mention. Once you reach the destination expect strong winds. At the top you have a 360 degree outstanding views.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked 6/20/2018. Beautiful vistas past the tree line and switch backs. Definitely challenging for inexperienced hikers, but very doable. Many marmots and pikas. Amazing views of Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Odessa Lake, Lake Helene, and Two Rivers Lake. Also cool views of Longs Peak. Definitely worth the effort!

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