Flattop Mountain Trail

HARD 199 reviews
#20 of 175 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 offers a number of activity options.

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

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

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
1 day 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
11 days 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.

12 days ago

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

hiking
14 days 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
18 days 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
23 days 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
27 days ago

Incredible views, long, but easy.

hiking
28 days 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
28 days 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!

1 month ago

Overall great views along the entire hike! Little snow but very manageable.

hiking
1 month ago

My first hike to that altitude and it did not disappoint. We hiked up from the west side of the park. There was quite a bit of snow around some of the switchbacks but nothing unmanageable. The views along the way were absolutely amazing. The top was a little barren but still a great view and we had a little lunch before hiking back down. It was astonishingly warm at the top. We hiked up rather late in the afternoon, probably not the smartest idea but we got to see the sunset at the top of the mountain and that was incredible. We made it down before it got dark, but I still wouldn't recommend unless you have headlamps and extra water! I recommend the trail overall, especially hiking up from the west.

hiking
1 month ago

Views along the way were awesome, but the top was not that exciting. It is flat, hence the name flattop, so you do not get the sense of accomplishment of a peak on a summit hike. It was too windy to cross over to Hallett, which may have delivered that awesome feeling you get when you get to the very top of a mountain. Still recommend the hike though.

1 month ago

Hiked this 6/12/18 and this was my first big hike, it was amazing! Experienced some snow once we passed the dream lake overlook and more snow about 300 yards from the summit. I was wearing tennis shoes and the snow was manageable. It was very windy once we got out of the tree line. We experienced a 30 degree temperature change, dress in layers! There’s a fire in SW Colorado that made the view from the summit a little foggy. Overall this is a great hike with beautiful views of Longs Peak, Estes Park and the surrounding areas. Would highly recommend!

1 month ago

it was really snowy for over a mile hard to traverse and I lost the trail in the snow a few times. after the snow trek it gets spacious be, beautiful at the top. not for amateurs

hiking
1 month ago

Made it to Flattop then decided to head to Hallett Peak. Trail wet and Muddy in spots but only a couple areas of snow throughout the hike that are very manageable. Amazing views! Go early to beat the masses and the storms

2 months ago

Hiked it April 21 and snowshoes or skis are a must, unless you want to sink in the snow, especially at the higher elevations. It was very windy above the treeline and I lost the trail, but just keep heading up. Spectacular views, although the clouds were rolling in, but the sun split through the clouds. I want to do this trail again.

3 months ago

Pretty tiring uphill hike micro spikes might be a good idea very icy on the way down but extremely beautiful view at the top

3 months ago

We started at 7:30am and attempted to summit on 3/24/18 but were forced to turn around shortly after clearing the trees due to high winds. We have never hiked this trail in the summer and were unfamiliar with the trail and with blowing snow, not only could we not see the trail up, but more importantly would not have been able to follow any tracks back down. Also, we had read several reviews that snowshoes were not necessary on this hike, but in our opinion that could not have been further from the truth. We were very disappointed not to have brought them. I literally fell waste deep into the snow at one point just having stepped two feet off the trail. And the trail itself was not nearly as hard packed as we were lead to believe. Lesson here: take your snowshoes!!

3 months ago

Got out today, 2/7, snowshoes are an absolute must. Even with them we sank knee deep in some spots. This was my first winter hike/snowshoeing experience. Had to stop about a mile from the top because the winds were just too much and I was running out of gas. Would absolutely hike again the views are stunning, bummed we couldn't reach the top.

hiking
3 months ago

HIked on 3/17. SUPER crowded. No snow.

hiking
3 months ago

HIked on 3/17. Connected from Bierstad to Bear lake. Trail fairly well packed. Snowshoes/skis not required, but you can use (snow is deep enough). We used hiking boots/trail shoes. No microspikes required.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

Fantastic hike/snowshoe! Beyond gorgeous day with no wind. Used yak traks up to the dream lake overlook, snowshoed down through tons of powder off trail. Highly recommend!!

hiking
5 months ago

First time winter hike in Rockies on snow pack. I hiked this trail during the summer but his trip was completely different. Views were even more magnificent with snow features! Also my first hike where I needed my micro-spikes....glad I had them. A few people were also wearing snow shoes. The snow was well packed if you walked in the middle of the trail but one misstep to either side and you would easily sink 12” or more. Plenty of snow until we got above the tree line then it was very thin to none in spots. A few skiers we saw were very disappointed. We accidentally ventured off the trail twice and paid the price with a steep hike directly up. Stay on the trail! As always, the views did not disappoint. Enjoy and hike smart!

hiking
6 months ago

It was a pretty good workout for a 58 year old that wasn't in great shape. Getting next to a couple glaciers was neat and eating lunch on Continental Divide was something that not everyone has done. Now I have! After breaking above treeline, you think the top is getting close but it is another mile (approximately) and several rest stops away. Excellent views all around from the top! Forgot to mention that I hiked this trail at the end of August, 2017.

7 months ago

I hiked this yesterday. Microspikes were all that was needed. The wind above tree line, however, had everyone turning around. I got blown over twice on the ice and had all the gear possible, ski goggles, balaclava, two coats, gaiters, blah, blah, blah. Still too cold at the top.

hiking
7 months ago

Exciting hike, definitely recommend. Started around 5am for the sunrise and added Hallett Peak. Violent above tree-line this morning and the wind concealed any remnants of a trail with snow. Be sure to leave your own mini cairns for the way down, it can be tricky finding your way back with the wind and “found” several areas of waist high snow. Surely worth it.

hiking
7 months ago

This was a great physical workout. Beautiful views, for sure. Wore micro-spikes, but I probably could've fared without. Didn't make it to the top due to the trail being blown over and difficult to find, plus I was short on time. However I know others did summit. I would do this trail again and add Hallet with it.

hiking
7 months ago

So gorgeous. Made the extra 0.7 miles to the top of Hallett and it was definitely worth it! I was fine with just microspikes and the trail is a mix of ice, deeper snow, hard pack, and rock. Found a lone yaktrak contact me at rachelsaggau@gmail.com if you lost one!

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike up to the summit. Started before sunrise, and made it down by midday. The trail is icy at lower altitudes and the snow gets deep above the tree line if you stray from the trail (which is fairly easy to do). Try to spot the cairns, and when in doubt just keep climbing upwards. I’d recommend spikes and gaiters. The wind was pretty nasty up high as well, so proper cold weather gear is a must.

7 months ago

Very challenging! Did Flat Top to Hallett Peak. Started early in the mornin and was back down by lunch but man - great workout! Epic views!

Load More