Twin Sisters, Twin Sisters Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Twin Sisters - 7.2 miles

Twin Sisters Trailhead

East Twin Sisters Peak (11,428') and West Twin Sisters Peak (11,413')

East Twin Sisters Peak (11,428') and West Twin Sisters Peak (11,413')

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)
Round-Trip Length: 7.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 9,040' - 11,428' (11,428' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +2,388' net elevation gain (+2,477' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Twin Sisters - 7.2 Miles Round-Trip

The Twin Sisters ridge runs nearly two miles along the east-central boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park.  A short but strenuous trail leads to a small saddle, and splits up scrambling routes to the respective summits (11,413' and 11,428'). Visitors will enjoy expansive views across Longs Peak, Mt Meeker, Estes Cone and the Continental Divide:

The trail begins up a west-facing slope on long, steep switchbacks through uniform lodgepole. Views of Longs Peak (14,259'), Mt Meeker (13,911'), Powell Peak (13,208'), Taylor Peak (13,153') and Estes Cone (11,006') emerge as you progress.

Look for Mills Glacier in Mills Moraine, a gash in the landscape at the base of Longs Peak's east-facing 'diamond'. Mills Glacier forms the headwaters of Chasm Lake and Roaring Fork River.

Lodgepole are succeeded by spruce and fir as you pass 10,100' (1.7 miles), which become krummholz past 10,600' (2.3 miles).

Krummholz - a German word meaning twisted wood - describes the stunted, irregular growth patterns of trees in the ecological transition zone from subalpine forests to alpine tundra. Poor soil, thin air, strong winds, and extreme weather limit growth at these elevations.

The trail crosses treeline on a steep, scree-laden path with your first clear view of the Twin Sisters (3.0 miles : 11,050').

It winds to a small saddle between the east (11,428') and west (11,413') Twin Sisters Peaks (3.45 miles : 11,368'), where cairn-marked routes split off through boulders and scree to the individual summits.

The west peak (adjacent to the research station) is more easily reached. The east peak's route is less obvious, requiring a short but steep scramble through talus and loose rock.

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Worth Noting

  • The trailhead is actually located just east of the Park Boundary, and portions of the trail pass through National Forest Land. No entry fee is required to hike this trail.

  • The final .7 miles are rugged and exposed. Snow and ice may cover portions of the trail and summits much of the year.

  • There is what some refer to as the 'butterfly burn' on Twin Sisters Mountain's west face. This area - more visible from the trailhead than the trail itself - is an aspen grove whose autumn colors resemble a large 'butterfly'. This is especially visible from the Longs Peak Trail Head.

  • 11,428 East Twin Sisters Peak :: 11,413 West Twin Sisters Peak

Directions to Trailhead

The Twin Sisters Trailhead is located south of Estes Park on Highway 7. There is a large trailhead sign for the turn-off on the east side of Highway 7. Parking is available at the trailhead and along 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

"Continued erosion of slide area has left mostly jumbled rocks on the slide area. I'd advise against crossing slide area at this time. Turn left when trail reaches slide area, stay to left of slide area and climb to top of slide to regain trail. Another choice is to climb up the left side of slide area, turn left near top to enter woods and climb through woods to top of slide area. The second choice seemed easier on Nov 20th. "
Bob Fisher  -  Longmont, CO  -  Date Posted: November 21, 2013
"Landslide during Sept'13 rains cut 100 yard swath through the trail. Water flow has cut ravines 5-15 feet deep in center of slide area. Hikers advised to exercise caution. Hikers can cross landslide area by climbing almost to top of slide area to cross then finding trail again on opposite side of slide. "
Bob  -  Longmont, CO  -  Date Posted: November 12, 2013
"Nice trail but not exactly easy. Taking young children would be doable but plan on extra time. It took us right at four and a half hours with no kids. Beautiful views from the top and from a few places along the way. Weather was perfect. "
Staci Bell  -  Lincoln, NE  -  Date Posted: September 1, 2013
"First true hike, loved it! Gorgeous views at the summit! "
nakita doane  -  vermilion,oh  -  Date Posted: July 30, 2013
"Wonderful hike(Twin Sisters Peaks). A nice trail with spectacular views as you climb and then totally rewarded with a beautiful vista at the top. We started at 7:30, hit the summit at 10:00. Return trip took 1 and a half hours. Highly recommend! A ranger suggested the hike - Thank you Don!"
Lu  -  Estes Park, CO  -  Date Posted: July 29, 2013
"Such a great day! We started around 9 am and finished early afternoon. The weather was stunning throughout the trek. The entire experience was gorgeous and enjoyable. The views were divine. I highly recommend"
Nate  -  Arvada, CO  -  Date Posted: July 27, 2013
"Fairly easy constant incline to the peak. Very quiet and peaceful. Very few people on the trail when i went. The view from the peak is stunning! I recommend! "
Ty  -  Boulder, CO  -  Date Posted: September 18, 2012

 

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