Twin Sisters Peak Hike

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Twin Sisters Peak Hike

You start out high on the Twin Sisters Peak hike and just keep on going. The trailhead sits at 9,225 feet and ascends through a lodgepole pine forest, out of Rocky Mountain National Park and into Roosevelt National Forest. Look around for elk – they like to hang out in these woods during the day. Intrigued? Here’s all you need to know about the Twin Sisters Peak hike.

The Details

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Distance: 7.4 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 2,338 feet

Time: 4-6 hours


When to go: June-September when the trail is free of snow


How Do I Get to the Twin Sisters Peak Trailhead?
You’ll have to get away from the main part of Rocky Mountain National Park to find the Twin Sisters Peak trailhead. Take Route 7 south from Estes Park to Lily Lake. With the lake on your right, turn left onto a gravel road. Follow the road and park along the side when you see room. The road it only 0.4 mile long until its dead end.

What Is the Twin Sisters Peak Trail Like?

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With a forested trail, a landslide traverse and a final push up steep switchbacks, the Twin Sisters Peak hike will certainly give you a workout. Climb the rocky scramble to the summit and you’ll earn views of Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, Estes Cone and the Continental Divide.


Start out on a moderate incline. At the 1-mile point, you’ll start to see some impressive mountain peaks. Not long after, you’ll come to the area of the landslide several years ago – the destruction is impressive. The trail crosses over the landslide area and reenters the forest on the other side.


Continue through the forest on switchbacks that steadily grow steeper. You’ll come out of the trees at the 3-mile mark, at which point the trail becomes more interesting. Cross a rocky field to the saddle and watch as the views get better and better the higher up you get.


When you reach the saddle, you’ll be between the Twin Sisters Peaks. You can summit both peaks – it’s about 100 feet of elevation gain each. The easier one to summit is the peak to your right. The easy path is on the other side of the Forest Service hut on the saddle.


The trail to the opposite peak isn’t as clearcut but if you just head to the summit, walking on large boulders and pulling yourself up, you’ll have a great time ascending this one.


Who Should Do This Hike?
While not quite as exciting or view-heavy as some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s more popular trails – Sky Pond, Bear Lake, Emerald Lake or Chasm Lake – it is worthwhile, especially for those who have already done those hikes. It’s a nice add-on and a good workout. The best part is definitely after you’ve emerged above the tree line at 3 miles, so be patient. This is also a good choice if you’ve just arrived at the park with plans to summit Longs Peak and need to acclimatize. And finally, the Twin Sisters hike just isn’t as crowded as most in the park, so that’s a huge positive for some.


What Are Some Other Hikes In and Near Roosevelt National Forest?

Forsythe Canyon
Just trying to beat the heat on a hot summer’s day in Colorado? Head for the shade and water of Forsythe Canyon. There’s a waterfalls, steam and lake here, so plenty of opportunities to cool off. The easy to moderate hike is just outside Boulder, Colorado.


Follow the trail downhill through the canyon, right beside the creek, enjoying the shade of the firs and spruces. The falls are at about the 1-mile mark, with the reservoir just a couple hundred yards farther.

Winiger Ridge

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Also close to boulder, west of Gross Reservoir, you’ll find Winiger Ridge. This trail follows a ridgeline with great views of the Continental Divide. Fall is a real treat, when the aspens turn gold. Go straight up the first hill (the steepest part of the hike). You’ll notice that the northern views are mostly blocked by the pine grove, while the southern face is mainly open to wide vistas. As you crest the top hill, you’ll be able to see the Indian Peaks to the northwest. Continue a gentle climb to the second hill, past another aspen grove, then to the third hill, which makes a good turnaround point. The views from here include proud James Peak in the distance.


If you’re hiking in September and October, one trick is to park a little way down Forest Road 359 and hike along the road to the trailhead. You’ll get resplendent aspen views and a look to Gross Reservoir and the Twin Sisters Peak (easily missed if you’re driving this stretch).

Other Favorite Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

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Emerald Lake
One of the most accessible lakes in RMNP, Emerald Lake is accompanied by stops at Dream Lake and Nymph Lake. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Hallet Peak.


Chasm Lake
Get a little (or a lot) elevation gain on the 8.6-mile roundtrip Chasm Lake hike. You’ll gain incredible views just below famous Long’s Peak, the highest peak in the park. Climb through subalpine forest to alpine tundra, keeping an eye out for marmots and pikas. Along the way, you can see into the deep gorge of Peacock Pool and Columbine Falls.


Sprague Lake
For quick, easy and wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, head to the Sprague Lake Loop. There are benches and lookouts all along the trail, so stop and reflect for a bit. The mountains along the Continental Divide can be seen clearly and there’s often a fair bit of wildlife to see.


Long’s Peak
For the fittest of hikers, Long’s Peak is a must. Follow the Keyhole Route to the tallest point in the park – it’s a 5,525-vertical-foot elevation gain to the summit.


Wild Basin Trail to Ouzel Falls
A great half-day option near Estes Park, Ouzel Falls is a crowd favorite. This easy hike follows the Wild Basin Trail to the stunning falls – take a detour to Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades if time permits.

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