Did solo today, 2.8.19, 6.5 miles. Although experienced hiker, I made several mistakes. Wore spikes but needed snowshoes. Trail drifted over causing difficult to follow and lost trail several times adding time wasted back tracking. No one has been on the trail in some time. Overall not well marked. I went clockwise from East Portal. GPS helped when I had a cell signal. Reflective tags in trees only in the middle third of the trail. I wore spikes but needed snowshoes as I stepped into sudden deep snow pockets up past my knees. Fell five times. My fault. Had to run the last mile due to waning light. This is not the prettiest trail In RMNP so will likely not do again.
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On the east side of the park lies the Beaver Meadows Entrance, the most direct entrance from Estes Park, which lies right outside Rocky Mountain National Park. An hour’s drive from Boulder and two hours from Denver, the lively Estes Park is the closest town to the park on the east side of the park. Because the entrance is so accessible from Estes Park and open year round, it is the most popular.

If driving Trail Ridge Road or Old Fall River Road is on the top of your list and you have limited time, you may want to enter the park via the Fall River Entrance on the park’s east side. It also is just a few minutes from Estes Park’s downtown. You’ll reach Trail Ridge Road a lot faster than those waiting in line at the Beaver Meadows Entrance during the summer and fall seasons.

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