7.4 according to park service signs, other web sites say 7.2 miles. Elevation gain:
approx. 2,400 feet Location:
Near Lily Lake and Long's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park (directions and trail map below) Trailhead:
No services, not even a real parking lotDogs:
Not allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park Fee:
No fee at this trailhead Hiking partners:
Members of the Fort Collins/Loveland "Don't Hike Alone" Meetup group
There's a new way to meet people to hike, it's called meetup.com
. I signed up for several hiking groups. Now when I want to hike, I just go to the meetup.com site. It tells me what hikes are planned on any given day.
This week, I found a group from the Fort Collins/Loveland area hiking Twin Sisters. The hike is part of Rocky Mountain National Park, near Long's Peak. I've done almost every hike on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park's visitor map that's under 10 miles roundtrip. I haven't done this one, so I thought why not.
While most of the group carpooled from Loveland and Ft Collins, I decided to drive on my own and meet them at the trailhead. Always safer to go alone when you don't know anyone in the group.
The trip organizer had been here before, but this time she wanted to do something different, hike both summits.
I meet the group at the trailhead a little after 8 a.m. Like most trailheads at RMNP, you'll want to get here early. This trailhead doesn't even have a parking lot, just a sign saying "parking on right uphill side of road". At 7:30 am, I was the 7th vehicle parked on the side of the road. By the time I got back to my Jeep at 1pm, the line stretched more than a quarter mile. The group hiking up the Twin Sisters Trail
Trip leader Laura described the hike as moderate if you're in shape and strenuous if you're not. Despite all the hiking I've done this summer, this hike was strenuous for me. Hikers gain about 2,400 feet elevation in just about 3.6 miles.
The road you park along is uphill and the trail is the same. You start by hiking up a portion of the road that is blocked off with a gate. You quickly see the "official" Twin Sisters trailhead sign and a single track trail heading up.
The trail is well maintained and climbs through the trees. After about 0.9 miles, you'll suddenly see an opening in the trees to the west, make sure you stop and enjoy the first view of Long's Peak, 14,255' and Mount Meeker, 13,911'. A little girl walking with her family spotted it while I was taking a picture, she told her family "Whoa, look at that, isn't that pretty." The first view of Long's Peak & Mount Meeker from the Twin Sisters Trail.
At about 2.3 miles you'll notice the trees starting to get shorter. I thought treeline would come up quick, but it took about another 0.7 of a mile of hiking. At about 3 miles you suddenly come into a scree field with no trees. Look below you, there really is a "treeline" on this trail.
As you look at the line of peaks above you, the far right peaks are the twin sisters. You'll also see there's still some climbing ahead. From treeline there's another half mile or so of trail and another 360 feet or so elevation gain to climb. Hikers switchback through the scree on a well maintained trail.
At the top of the scree, there is a saddle. On the right is the twin sister most people climb. Sister "west" is actually shorter (11,413') than sister "east" (11, 428'). Sister west has a communication building and solar panels. Some web sites call this a patrol or rescue cabin, other web sites stress that the building is just for communications. The trail continues on the right side of the building, then climbs to the top of the peak. The trail is easy to follow. Just make sure you take a few breaths before you climb up, the trail is very rocky and you don't want to lose your footing.The trail at treeline as it climbs towards the Twin Sisters Peaks.
At the top, make sure you take in the view once again of Long's Peak and Mount Meeker. I didn't find a marker or a trail register here, if you find one, please let me know.
Our group sat at the top of sister west, had a snack and took quite a few pictures. Then several people decided to tackle sister east. I decided sister west was a good spot to watch them. While sister east doesn't have much of a trail, our group seemed to maneuver through the rocks pretty easily and got up to the top pretty quickly.
After a short break, they were back and ready to head down the trail.
As you can imagine, going down was a lot easier than going up. While the trail has a lot of elevation gain, it doesn't have a lot of stairs. The elevation gain is just steady. On the way down, several people in our group actually ran occasionally. The view of Long's Peak from the summit of Twin Sisters. (This is zoomed in quite a bit)
I took it a bit easier, enjoying the views of the valley above treeline, then the forest trail the rest of the way down. Toward the last mile and a half or so, I enjoyed searching through the trees to see if I could catch a glimpse of Long's Peak. The view is just incredible and you can only imagine how many people are probably standing on Long's Peak in July looking back at this trail.
I took the Boulder turnpike, U.S. 36 to Boulder, then Lyons. At U.S. 36 and Highway 66, turn left or west. (Watch your speed, I saw an officer with a radar gun when the speed limit dropped to 25 mph) At 1.5 miles, U.S. 36 AND Highway 7 split. I went south (left) on Highway 7. At 14.6 miles I saw a big deer in the road. At 17.1 miles, there is a scenic overlook that is worth a stop. At 20.9 you'll see the turnoff for the Wild Basin area of RMNP, there are lots of good hikes there. At 23.0 miles you'll see Saint Malo. At 24.8 miles you'll see the turnoff for the Long's Peak trailhead. At 27.4 miles, you'll turn right for the Twin Sisters trailhead parking. Again, parking is along the right side of the road. There is no parking lot here. From the turnoff to the trailhead is about 0.4 mile. (trail map below)
I enjoy hearing from readers. If you have a question, comment or hiking trail suggestion email me email@example.com
Previous hiking reports:(lower elevation hikes have a star)
, Mallory Cave*
, Marshall Mesa
,Heil Valley Ranch*
, South Boulder Peak*
, The Boulder Flatirons*
, Walker Ranch*
, Bear Peak*
, Rabbit Mountain*
, Bald Mountain*
, Betasso Preserve*
, Wonderland Lake*
, Chimney Gulch*
, Apex Park*
, Elk Meadow*
, Chicago Lakes
, Chief Mountain
Rocky Mountain National Park:
, Bierstadt Lake
, Chasm Lake
, Lulu City & Little Yellowstone
, The Loch, Andrew's Glacier
, Sandbeach Lake
Indian Peaks/James Peak Wilderness:
King, Bob & Betty Lakes
, Forest Lakes
, Arapaho Lakes
, Mitchell & Blue Lakes
, James Peak Area
, Heart Lake
, Devil's Backbone*
, Lake Agnes
Summit & Eagle Counties:
, Missouri Lakes
, Mohawk Lakes & Continental Falls
St Louis Lake
, Waterfall At Snow Mountain Ranch
, Granby Ranch
Exploring Fulford Cave
, Our Favorite Hikes
, Our Favorite Bike Rides
Map courtesy of Trails Illustrated. Click to make map larger.
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