Backpacking in the Rocky Mountains

Study Environmental Sciences & Eco Tour the Continental Divide Trail

During your eco tour of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll be surrounded by nature. Give back to the earth by helping park rangers track animals or clean up a campsite where hikers left some garbage behind.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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You’ll arrive in Colorado a little early so you can get used to the altitude. Most trails in the park start at an altitude of 7,800 feet, and they only get higher from there! Rest and make sure you packed everything for the beginning of your backpacking trip tomorrow.

After you get your permits and take a few shuttles into the park, you’ll set off from Bear Lake Trailhead. You’ll be hiking a little over 10 miles today, so make sure you do some stretches! You’ll walk around Bear Lake, a beautiful alpine lake created by glaciers. Your tour guide will explain this geological process to you as you hike.

Next, you’ll climb Flattop Mountain. The views are worth the 4-mile climb. You’ll see several lakes and mountain peaks at the top. Take all the pictures you like.

Once you make it to your campsite, leave your gear behind and take a short hike to the Haynach Lake. The lake has several species of trout. If you want to, do some fishing here. You might even be able to catch some substantial dinner!

You’ll wake up on the trail for the first time this morning. Even though your hike today is 11 miles, it’s all downhill so it will be easier. 

Your first stop today is Big Meadows. It’s the largest mountain meadow in the whole park, and it’s a great place to see elk, deer, and moose! Early morning is an ideal time to see these creatures, so keep your eyes peeled. Your tour guide will tell you about the animals’ lives in the park and how these animals live in more wild terrains.

Another exciting sight today is your first waterfall! Near the end of today’s journey, you’ll see Granite Falls, which drops over 50 feet over several tiers of granite rock. 

It’s the third day of your trek! Today’s journey is shorter (about 6.5 miles), but it does involve some uphill climbing. Along the way, you’ll stop at Cascade Falls, another spectacular waterfall. You’ll see the views from below, but you should also hike up above the falls, where the views are much better.

Before you reach your campsite, head to Bench Lake. It will require some bushwacking to get up there, but it will be worth it! If the water’s warm, it’s time for a swim! 

This morning, you’ll take a leisurely day trip to Lake Nokoni and Lake Nanita. The lakes are beautiful, surrounded by rock and secluded. Again, if you want, take a swim!

Once you’re done, you’ll meet up with a park ranger who will take you to an underdeveloped part of the trail. The Continental Divide Scenic Trail is still a work in progress, so building up this trail will help hikers find their way better and keep them from tripping or putting their lives at risk.

It’s your last hiking day! As you hike higher and higher, you’ll see spectacular views of the Continental Divide. This is a mountain range that divides both North and South America, and the views on this trail of the range are gorgeous.

For your last big sight on the trail, you’ll go to Andrews Glacier and Tarn. They’re in a secluded area of Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll be able to marvel at this snow during any time of year. Your tour guide will tell you about how Andrews Glacier is retreating due to climate change and how you can help.

It’s time to rest your feet and head home. But now you know you’re able to hike this far, and maybe this will serve as an inspiration to take another backpacking trip in the future!

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is one of the most extensive trail systems in the world. It runs for 3,100 miles and goes across five states. During your eco tour backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, you’ll bravely explore a whopping 45 miles of this trail. You’ll learn about the wildlife and national structures in Rocky Mountain National Park and get a chance to experience all the beauty the trail has to offer on foot.


3-6 Day
Group Trips


7-12 Day
Group Trips


7-14 Day
Group Trips

Interested in adding or modifying activities? No problem! All Worldwide Navigator itineraries can be customized to your liking!

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