Looking for a short hike at high altitude that provides amazing vistas and a lot of education at the same time? Check out Tundra Communities Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park off of Trail Ridge Road on the east side of the Alpine Center.
The round trip distance is only 1.1 miles on a paved trail that takes you up to the tundra and along some amazing rock formations.
It starts with a short, steep climb, but then evens out the rest of the way.
The trail is lined with some informational plaques that tell you all about the animals and plants in this foreign-looking landscape.
There are breath-taking views in every single direction.
Keep an eye out for wildlife as some hikers have noted seeing marmots, pikas, ptarmigan, elk or bighorn sheep.
One of the few so-called hoodoos in Rocky Mountain National Park is visible on the right of the trail. About half a mile in, you can see Mushroom Rock. The top is schist and the section below is granite. Since the schist is harder, more of the rock underneath has eroded, leaving a distinctly mushroom-like shape.
Near Mushroom Rock, you can look back south and enjoy a wonderful view of Longs Peak in the distance. This trek also provides some wonderful views of the Mummy Range to the north.
This is a great trail the whole family to enjoy and provides a wonderful first-hand look at an alpine ecosystem.
Tundra Communities Trail is well-traveled. This trail is rated as “easy” and takes about 45 minutes or so, depending on how long you hang out at the top of the trail. This is a hike that is wonderful in the morning and evening. It starts at 12,110 feet and climbs to 12,286 feet for a total elevation gain of 176 feet. If you are not acclimated to altitude, you could still feel a little winded. The trail is wide and paved.
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