Old Ute Trail Tundra Walk
This “top-of-the-world” trail starts on a vast, alpine parkland speckled with miniature flowers, canopied by a mountain-rimmed skyscape. As the trail descends into the comforting confines of conifer stands, hikers discover dramatic changes in plants and weather. Families with children of mixed ages and abilities can begin their tundra trek together; while one adult descends the trail hike with older kids, the other adult and younger children can head back and then drive to the Milner Pass parking area, where the trail ends. The trail begins in the grassland adjacent to the highway crossing. Wind makes itself well known as you walk the tundra stretch of the Old Ute Trail, named for the most recent tribe of Native Americans to use this route to cross the mountains. Alpine flowers and grasses are well adapted to the relentless wind; they remain tiny. Encourage youngsters to experience this adaptation by crouching low. Ask if they feel warmer at this level or when standing tall. Have them measure the tallest flower using their finger as a ruler. Remember, the tundra ecosystem is extremely delicate; stay on the path at all times, or rockhop to avoid trampling the vegetation.
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Directions to: Old Ute Trail Tundra Walkprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Estes Park|
|Skill Level||Moderate for children|
|Season||Best late June to September|
|Trailhead Elevation||11,796 ft|
|Top Elevation||10,758 ft|
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