There are great hikes and then there are GREAT hikes. Over-the-Divide definately fits the latter with 18 miles of lakes, forests, a high summit, and one of the most beautiful sweeping tundra walks in the Rockies.
It's topped off with a well-earned finale in the beautiful little village of Grand Lake. This is world-class hiking!
This excellent Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trip begins at Bear Lake on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains with 4.5 miles of steady uphill (about 2,800 ft.) to the summit of Flattop Mountain. Pace is everything.
The view from the top is stupendous with views of Wyoming to the north, the Flattops to the west, the Gore Range to the south, and the flat Colorado plains to the east.
Now comes the best part, the tundra. The North Inlet Trail takes off a short distance from the summit of Flattop and makes its way like a ribbon across the green tundra. Large rock cairns, situated on both sides of the trail at marked intervals, make it easy to see where you're going and beckon you forward. It doesn't get any better than this.
The trail eventually winds its way down a series of switchbacks into the trees and continues another 10 miles to the North Inlet Trailhead on the western side. From there it is a short walk down a dirt road into the village of Grand Lake.
Now is decision time. Should you go have an ice cream or a cold beer? Or should you go to the lake and put your tired feet in the cool mountain water? The answer is both, in whatever order you choose. Celebrate in town with burgers, burritos, fries...
Plan your own trip with the Hiking Tips links to the left. Arrange transportation; check the last minute weather, leave early to minimize getting caught in afternoon thundershowers; have a great hike!