Hike to Estes Cone (Oct 23)

Some friends recently moved here from the northeast and Tim had asked for recommendations for good "starter hikes" to do for someone who's active and fit.

I thought about it some and realized that the hike to Estes Cone is a really nice moderate hike of about almost 7 miles round trip, with a nominal gain of about 1,600' (about 2,000' with all ups and downs). The hike starts at the Longs Peak area at an elevation of 9,400 with the summit being at 11,006'. Definitely something to get the heart pumping and lungs inflating!

View of Estes Cone (foreground); Meeker, Longs, and Mt Lady Washington in background; taken from Lily Mountain

Map of the Estes Cone hike

After giving him my recommendation, I invited myself to go along and I'm glad I did. Spending several hours hiking is a fun way to have good conversation and share the outdoor experience. And I especially enjoyed talking with Tim about photography, as he's done that for a living for many years.

Estes Cone from the Longs Peak trailhead parking lot

I really like the hike to Estes Cone as it has some nice hiking in the woods, with only the last third of mile being strenuous and a little scramble at the top.

The weather was good this day and we started the hike a bit before 9am. We took our time on the trail and summitted at about 11:30am.

Tim summiting

Estes Cone is a fantastic summit experience with 360 degree views of Longs Peak, the peaks along the Continental Divide, Estes Park, and Twin Sisters (less than 3 miles away).

Meeker, Longs, and Mt Lady Washington (almost 4 miles away to the SW)

Looking WNW towards the Continental Divide (about 6 miles away)

We scrambled around on the rocky summit rocks for awhile, taking in the views, making photographs, and trying to stay warm in the fairly windy conditions.

Tim on the summit

I hadn't been on Estes Cone since the Colorado Floods last year and realized we had a really great perspective on the massive landslide that happened on Twin Sisters, stopping just short of Aspen Lodge.

View from the summit to the east; Lily Lake at left; landslide on Twin Sisters at right

Detail of the landslide on Twin Sisters; Aspen Lodge is at lower right

Looking ENE; Estes Park and Lake Estes are at center left; Lily Mountain Center, Lily Lake at lower right

After about 30 minutes we headed back down off the summit and hit the trail to the car.

One last view of Longs from the rocky summit

Tim starting the scramble down from the summit

Hiking profile for Estes Cone (elevation part even looks like a cone!)

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