|Trail Name||Ypsilon Lake|
|Nearest City||Estes Park|
|Distance||9 Miles Round Trip|
|Elevation Gain||1,980 Feet|
|Low Point||8,560 Feet|
|High Point||10,540 Feet|
|Trip Reports||Ypsilon Lake|
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A hike along the Roaring River and through Lodgepole Pine forests to Ypsilon Lake, an alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park with dramatic views of rugged Ypsilon Mountain rising from its northwest shore.
How to get there
From Estes Park, drive west on Highway 34 from Estes Park to the Fall River Entrance Station of Rocky Mountain National Park. Continue west past the station for just over 2 miles through Horseshoe Park to where the highway turns south, and turn right (west) onto Fall River Road. The trailhead parking area is just a few hundred yards after this turn, on the right (north) side of Fall River Road. The trailhead can also be reached from Highway 36 at Deer Ridge Junction by taking Highway 34 north at Deer Ridge Junction to Horseshoe Park, and turning left (west) onto Fall River Road.
Ypsilon Lake is named for the mountain that towers to 13,514 feet from the northwest shore of Ypsilon Lake. Its rugged southeast face make it one of the most distinctive peaks in the Park.
From the Lawn Lake Trailhead, the trail begins with a number of switchbacks, taking you out of the canyon floor. At about 1/2 mile, the trail meets up with and parallels the Roaring River canyon that was cut by the flood waters of the Lawn Lake flood (caused by the failure of the Lawn Lake Dam on July 15, 1982, for more information see ). The trail parallels Roaring River until the 1.3 mile point. The trail forks at this point, the Lawn Lake Trail branching off to the right, and the Ypsilon Lake Trail crossing the Roaring River by way of a wooden footbridge.
After crossing Roaring River, the trail continues its ascent through a series of switchbacks. The ascent then moderates, and for the next 2.5 miles gently climbs through Lodgepole Pine forests. About 4 miles from the trailhead, the trail begins to descend, and you soon arrive at Chipmunk Lake, a diminutive lake yet with a beauty all its own, and a great view of Ypsilon Mountain reflected in the lake's waters.
Another 1/2 mile takes you to Ypsilon Lake. After leaving Chipmunk Lake, the trail ascends again for a short distance, then begins to descend quite steeply to Ypsilon Lake. As you near the lake, don't miss the cascades on a stream from Chiquita Lake on the left side of the trail.
Ypsilon Mountain rising from the northwest shore of the lake provides a spectacular backdrop for this alpine lake. The trail winds along most of the shore, offering numerous spots along the lake's edge to enjoy a picnic before returning to the trailhead.
Fees, Permits, etc.
- Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fee required at the park entrance. RMNP Fees & Reservations
- Dogs are not allowed on trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Rocky Mountain National Park offers a free shuttle from Estes Park to Bear Lake Trailhead, Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Bierstadt Lake Trailhead, and Cub Lakes Trailhead. RMNP Shuttle Bus Routes