Pear Lake, Wild Basin - Finch Lake Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Pear Lake - 13.0 miles

Wild Basin - Finch Lake Trailhead

Pear Lake (10,582') in the Wild Basin Area of Rocky Mountain National Park

Pear Lake (10,582') in the Wild Basin Area of Rocky Mountain National Park

Round-Trip Length: 13.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 8,470' - 10,582' (10,611' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +2,112' net elevation gain (+2,582' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Pear Lake - 13.0 Miles Round-Trip

Pear Lake (10,582') is located 6.5 miles from the Finch Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. This lightly used trail is highlighted by aspen groves, Finch Lake and long stretches of moss-draped forests en route to the lake. Once used as a reservoir, Pear Lake has been successfully restored to its natural state:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail initially heads east and climbs 470' in just .8 miles to a sharp hairpin turn, where it bends southwest and levels across grassy aspen - ponderosa slopes. Well-spaced trees create good viewing lanes for wildlife on this fast stretch.

The trail moves steadily past connections for Allenspark Trailhead-access (1.4 miles : 8,974') and Calypso Falls (2.35 miles : 9,520'). Gaps in the forest offer good views up Wild Basin toward Mount Copeland (13,176') and Ouzel Peak (12,716'), and north to Mt Meeker (13.911').

The trail steepens to a clearing where lightning-induced fire struck in 1978 (2.55 miles : 9,740'). Despite ostensible damage, forests require periodic fire to thin timber, replenish soil and create space for new growth.

The trail re-enters a dense spruce-fir forest to a footbridge (3.85 miles : 10,072'). Small streams, Spanish beard and kinnickinnick accent this pleasant stretch.

Variously level and rugged travel resumes to a crest and sharp right turn down winding switchbacks (3.95 miles : 10,069'). Fringe season travelers should anticipate this turn, as snow may conceal it.

The trail winds steeply down for .25 miles to the east shore of Finch Lake (4.35 miles), with easier access from the north shore at 4.6 miles (9,912').

The trail hugs the lake past backcountry campsites and drops across Coney Creek (4.65 miles : 9,905'). It continues on variously steep grades up the north side of a widening valley. Small clearings and ponds to the south are good places to find wildlife, including moose by late summer.

The trail crosses Pear Creek to the Pear Creek backcountry campsite (6.1 miles : 10,437'), past which the forest thins on the final approach to Pear Lake (6.5 miles : 10,582').

The maintained trail ends on a ridge over Pear Lake, where a spur splits north to backcountry campsites, and a social trail drops around the south shore with views of Mount Copeland and Ogallala Peak (13,138').

The Hutcheson Lakes and Cony Lake (11,512') are accessible via social trails and intuitive routing into the adjacent the drainage.

Illustration of bighorn sheep

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 12.507 W105 33.660 — 0.0 miles : Finch Lake Trailhead
  • N40 12.424 W105 32.841 — .8 miles : Hairpin turn west - trail levels
  • N40 12.128 W105 33.340 — 1.4 miles : Allenspark Trailhead access split
  • N40 12.134 W105 33.915 — 2.0 miles : Break in forest with terrific views north
  • N40 11.973 W105 34.227 — 2.35 miles : Calypso Falls Trail split
  • N40 11.560 W105 34.683 — 3.0 miles : Undulating travel in subalpine forest
  • N40 11.291 W105 35.048 — 3.5 miles : Moderate climb in thick spruce-fir forest
  • N40 11.035 W105 35.291 — 3.95 miles : Sharp right turn downhill
  • N40 11.051 W105 35.541 — 4.35 miles : Finch Lake - access on east shore
  • N40 11.026 W105 35.655 — 4.6 miles : Finch Lake - Group Campsite spur
  • N40 11.015 W105 35.769 — Cross Cony Creek
  • N40 10.842 W105 36.058 — Steady climb up north side of valley
  • N40 10.709 W105 36.538 — Pass first of two brackish ponds
  • N40 10.635 W105 37.123 — Cross Pear Creek to Pear Creek Campsite
  • N40 10.601 W105 37.412 — 6.5 miles : Pear Lake

Worth Noting

  • The Lower, Middle and Upper Hutcheson Lakes and Cony Lake can be reached from the unmaintained trail that continues up the south shore of Pear Lake (7.2, 7.5, 8.1 and 8.7 miles from the trailhead, respectively).

  • This hike passes through an area that sees limited day use. Wildlife sightings are common.

  • The Wild Basin Area can be closed or have limited accessibility during winter months, so it's always a good idea to call the visitor center in advance of your trip.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Backcountry Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • A permit is required for all backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. Permits may be obtained from the Beaver Meadows Visitors Center Backcountry Office, or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center at Grand Lake. Day-of-trip permits may be obtained in-person, year round.
  • There's a $26 fee to backcountry camp in Rocky Mountain National Park (May 1 - October 31). This administrative fee covers each party (defined as an individual or group) for the duration of the trip. Note that park entrance fees are applied separately and in full.

Backcountry Campsites in the Wild Basin Area

Fires are not permitted within Rocky Mountain National Park. Camp safely away from dead trees, as close as possible to the silver metal arrowhead posted at each site. Red arrowheads on trees provide additional guidance to each campsite from the main trail:

Pine Ridge Backcountry Campsite

  • The Pine Ridge site is located 1.4 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 8,880'. There are 2individual sites and a privy. 2 backcountry sites are located in a lodgepole forest north of the trail, just east of the bridge across North St. Vrain Creek. A food storage cable is about 8 steps past the spur to site #1. It's in a small clearing to the left and runs perpendicular to the trail. Obtain water from North St. Vrain Creek.

Tohosa Backcountry Campsite

  • The Tohosa site is located 1.7 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 9,040'. There is 1 individual site and no privy. The site is located .3 miles up the unimproved, backcountry campsite access trail in a lodgepole stand at the edge of a small rocky bluff. Obtain water from North St. Vrain Creek, approx. 160 yards downhill from the site.

Aspen Knoll Backcountry Campsite

  • The Aspen Knoll site is located 2.3 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 9,400'. There is 1 individual site and no privy. The site is located along the unimproved, backcountry campsite access trail in a mixed aspen-spruce-lodgepole forest. Obtain water from North St. Vrain Creek, approximately 200 yards downhill from the site.

Siskin Backcountry Campsite

  • The Siskin site is located 3.2 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 9,460'. There is 1 individual site and no privy. The site is located along the unimproved, backcountry campsite access trail in a lodgepole stand. Obtain water from North St. Vrain Creek, approx. 135 yards downhill from the site.

North St Vrain Backcountry Campsite

  • The North St Vrain site is located 3.5 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 9,560'. There are 2 individual sites and a privy. The sites are located along the unimproved, backcountry campsite access trail, right near where it rejoins the main trail. A food storage cable is located 20 steps up the access trail in a small clearing on the left, and parallel to the trail. The sites lie in a thick lodgepole stand on the north side of the trail, just after it crosses North St. Vrain Creek. Obtain water from North St. Vrain Creek.

Finch Lake Backcountry Campsite

  • The Finch Lake site is located 4.6 miles from Finch Lake Trailhead, or 5.3 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 9,912'. There are 2 individual sites, 1 group site, and a privy. A food storage cable is located 15 steps from the north corner of the hitchrack in a clearing between it and a large boulder. The sites are located in a mixed pine-spruce-fir forest on the north shore of Finch Lake. Obtain water from Finch Lake or outlet.

Pear Creek Backcountry Campsite

  • The Pear Creek site is located 6.4 miles from Finch Lake Trailhead, or 7.1 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 10,550'. There are 3 individual sites and no privy. The campsites at Pear Creek are located .25 miles below Pear Lake. The sites are on the south (left) side of the trail after it crosses the Pear Creek in a heavily timbered area. Campsites at Pear Creek offer somewhat more weather protection than those at Pear Lake. Obtain water from Pear Creek.

Pear Lake Backcountry Campsite

  • The Pear Lake site is located 6.6 miles from Finch Lake Trailhead, or 7.3 miles from Wild Basin Trailhead at 10,582'. There is 1 individual site and no privy. The site is located just below treeline at the base of Copeland Mountain in a spruce- fir forest. Cross Pear Creek on a plank to reach the site on the north side of the lake. Obtain water from Pear Lake or its outlet.

General Information

  • Wood signs mark backcountry campsite access spurs, which may also be marked by red arrowheads on trees. Pitch tents as close to the indicated site as possible, safely away from standing dead trees. Boil or adequately treat all water. Stoves only. Fires are prohibited.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted in Finch Lake, Pear Lake and all related tributaries with a valid Colorado fishing license. Contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife or Rocky Mountain National Park to learn more about special restrictions that apply to greenback cutthroat trout.

Rules and Regulations

  • A $20 Day Use Fee is required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park (or $30 for a 7 Day Pass).
  • Dogs are not permitted on hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

The Finch Lake Trailhead is located 2.2 miles west of the turnoff from Highway 7 between the towns of Allenspark and Estes Park.

From Estes Park, Colorado, head south for 11 miles on Highway 7 to the Wild Basin Trailhead on your right hand side. Turn right on the dirt road to the entrance station .15 miles ahead. The Finch Lake Trailhead is located 1.7 miles from the entrance station on the left-hand side of the road.

From Boulder, take 36 north for 14 miles to the town of Lyons. Remain on 36 to the Highway 7 intersection. Turn left onto Highway 7 heading towards Allenspark. Remain on Highway 7 and look for the Wild Basin Trailhead entrance on the left. Turn left on the dirt road to the entrance station .15 miles ahead. The Finch Lake Trailhead is located 1.8 miles from the entrance station on the left-hand side of the road.

Contact Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
Visitor Information:
970.586.1206

Backcountry Office:
970.586.1242

Campground Reservations:
800.365.2267

Emergency Dispatch:
970.586.1203

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



Comments

"We started at the Allens Park trailhead; it shortens the hike to make it 12 miles round-trip. This is an easy trail to follow, although we did have to look for the trail after crossing several large snowfields just before reaching Pear Lake. One thing I appreciate about this trail is that it alternates between uphill, downhill and level sections. Just past Finch Lake the trail becomes quite wet, marshy and muddy, but it's not too problematic if you're careful where you step. The lake is beautiful and the setting is stunning. Ouzel Peak and Copeland Mountain make a dramatic backdrop for the lake. My husband and I were surprised at how few people we encountered on the trail. This is a wonderful hike that really shouldn't be missed, but be ready to devote a full day. We started hiking at 7:30 am and finished at 4:30 pm. We aren't the fastest hikers and we do take breaks so I'm sure it can be done in less time, but it is 12 miles and about 2100 feet of elevation gain. "
Paige  -  Thornton, CO  -  Date Posted: June 21, 2016
"What a beautiful hike!! We stayed at the Pear Lake campsite, and there was still a bit of snow, but a couple dry, flat spots for the tent. It rained a little bit in the early evening, and was VERY windy over night and into the next day, but only dropped to the upper 40s - low 50s. Great views along the hike, and a wide variety of scenery from the Finch Lake TH to Finch Lake to Pear Lake. Saw a few other hikers and some horses on the trail, but otherwise fairly empty. The lakes were calm and clear; very peaceful. Everything was very green; there were a few bugs, but nothing a little bug spray didn't fix. I've hiked a bunch of places in RMNP, and this was by far the most beautiful! I would definitely recommend it!"
Johanna  -  Denver, CO  -  Date Posted: July 13, 2015
"Started from the Wild Basin trailhead and camped at the Pear Creek campsite. Beyond the descent to Finch Lake we did not see a single person. Came across a few deer along the way. The Pear Creek campsite is pretty well-protected from weather and is marked with a metal post with a steel NPS emblemn on the top. The following morning we did the very short hike up to Pear Lake and were awarded with breathtaking scenery with perfectly blue skies. You can hear the water rushing into the lake on the western end. The lake may appear small in photos but it was a pretty decent size with trout rising near the shore. A few minutes of fishing yielded a few very small trout. While enjoying the lake we came across one couple on their way to Hutcheson lakes. Otherwise on the way back to the trailhead we only saw a park ranger with a mule at Finch Lake. Overall an absolutely beautiful lake with very few visitors."
John  -  MN  -  Date Posted: July 29, 2014
"Started out heading to Bluebird Lake, but only got as far as Ouzel Falls. The bridge is out so we headed back down to the Lion Lake Junction. Didn't find that turn off and we kept going until we got to Calypso Cascades. At this point in time we decided to go to Pear Lake. That was a hike, but well worth it. We didn't see any people going up and once we got to Finch Lake we only saw a couple of people. We went on to Pear Lake and had to go through a lot of snow once we left Finch Lake. Snow was hard packed and you just needed to watch your step. We were the only ones at Pear Lake, it was great. Note: just watch your footing up there as the snow is deep."
Traildust1  -  Pear Lake  -  Date Posted: June 22, 2014
"Beautiful lakes - Finch and Pear were gorgeous! Pear is one of the best I've seen in the park. Getting to Finch wasn't too bad. Some snow on the trail, but nothing treacherous. Considerable amount of snow between Finch and Pear. Hard to even find the trail beginning from Finch lake. Had to navigate by finding the gaps in the trees, following some footprints, and looking for other signs of a trail (cut down trees, etc.). Some of the snow was packed down so we could hike on it, but slipped through a lot of the snow, too. Definitely worth the hike and challenging conditions!"
Julie  -  Estes Park, CO  -  Date Posted: June 8, 2014
"I highly recommend this hike! My husband and I did it as a 2-day backpacking trip, staying one night at the backcountry campsite at Pear Lake. The hike itself isn't as stunning as some I've done - although the views of Mount Meeker, Pagoda Mountain, and the back of Longs are incredible for a short stretch of the trail - but Pear Lake itself, and the campsite, are probably the best destination I've seen in Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful alpine lake with great views of Mount Copeland and Elk Tooth, and perhaps it was just the time of year we visited, but no mosquitoes! The lake is calm and tranquil, and can be accessed at many points with beach-like gravel and sand shores."
Alicia  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: September 9, 2013

 

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