Simple Sundays.. Ryan and I have recently grown fond of the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park, and decided to fit in a quick hike to Finch Lake. We invited a good friend of ours to join us, and off we went!
–> Finch Lake is located out of the Finch Lake Trailhead and is an 8.6 mile out-and-back hike with 1,850ft in elevation gain. We arrived around 8am, easily found a parking spot, and returned about 3hrs later. <–
The trail is unrelentingly uphill, although the grade is not so steep that you feel the need to take frequent breaks. It is also in a fairly dense forest, offering up some much needed shade against the heat of the day which was already in the 70s and increasing. Interspersed between open meadows, the trees change from ponderosa pines to beautiful aspen forests– I’ll absolutely be coming back here in the fall when the leaves begin to turn!
Soon we are rewarded for all the uphill climbing with a spectacular view of the valley from which we started as well as of Longs Peak (14,259ft) and Mt. Meeker (13,911ft) before continuing our climb into the burn area of the 1978 Ouzel Fire. It was interesting seeing a recovering forest; lots of undergrowth had returned, including an abundance of wildflowers and trees standing around 5ft tall or less.
Soon we reached the peak of our hike, and the trail led us down back into the dense forest eventually leading to Finch Lake. As we approached the lake we ran into two other hikers; the first of the day! This is certainly a quiet trail.
We arrived at Finch Lake and took in the sights of Mt. Copland (13,176ft) and Ogalalla Peak (13,138ft) in the distance before making our way around the lake to find a nice rock along the shore for “lunch” (is it even considered lunch if it’s 9am?!). Watching the lake quiet down into a beautiful reflection, and the entertainment of a duck and her ducklings make their own waves as they swam across the lake was so relaxing; just as a Sunday morning should be!
Once you reach the lake, it is worth noting that there is no longer a defined trail. From here, there is a series of social trails along the shoreline. I feel that the best views are to the eastern side of the lake, but you can find trails that take you all the way around.
We finished up our sandwiches as as a cold breeze began to pick up, we packed up our backpacks and returned the way we came. While this hike was not overly scenic, it had a beautiful end point, and the whole trip was very quiet and relaxing. If you are looking for a breath of fresh air, then Finch Lake is the place for you.
We will definitely be back next summer in order to pay a visit to Pearl Lake, which is located ~2 miles beyond Finch Lake! Overall, it was a Sunday well spent on a new trail.