Finch Lake - Pear Lake - Rocky Mountain National Park
The Trail Guide to Finch Lake and Pear Lake includes a trail description, photographs of the trails, comments from our hikes, mileage data, custom Wild Basin topo map, and Finch Lake Trail - Pear Lake Trail tracklog on a geo-pdf map. The guide will familiarize you with the Finch - Pear Lake Trail system and the Wild Basin area. We hope the guide helps you on your climb.
Photos from: JUL11, JUN12, JUN13
Elevations: 9912' (Finch), 10,582' (Pear)
Range: Rocky Mountain National Park - Front Range
Trailhead Latitude: 40.20840, Longitude: -105.56045
Route: Finch Lake Trail - Pear Lake Trail
One-Way Mileage: 4.40 miles to Finch Lake plus 2.1 miles to Pear Lake (6.50)
For Map, Trail Mileage, GPS, and Trail Notes go to Page 2
The Finch Lake Trail - Pear Lake Trail appealed to us because the trailhead was not as crowded as the Wild Basin Trailhead. The trail is popular for hikers and runners. The lakes are easy to reach on a good trail. We have used it as an acclimating hike for years.
Directions: The Finch Lake Trailhead is located in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park (CO). The Wild Basin entrance is south of Longs Peak and even a little past Meeker Park.
Take Hwy 7 south from Estes Park. Travel over 13 miles from Estes Park (Hwy 36) to the large NPS Wild Basin sign on the West side of the road (on the right when coming from Estes). The paved Wild Basin Road curves through private land to the Park entrance. From the entrance the good dirt road goes 1.75 miles to the Finch - Pear Trailhead on the left. The road continues to the Wild Basin Trailhead.
There is parking for a few vehicles at the trailhead. A larger parking area is available at Wild Basin Trailhead about .25 mile further. The Finch Trailhead has an information kiosk and a food storage locker. Water and restrooms are available near the entrance station. Stop as you are passing through.
No water is available at the trailhead. See note above.
Bears have been known to break into vehicles in the area. Store food properly and secure your vehicle.
The trail starts next to the information kiosk. Note, there is also a horse trail that follows near the road.
After a short easy stroll the trail begins the climb. Remember we are in the mountains.
The trail climbs close to 500 feet as it takes a relatively moderate grade up the lateral moraine to cross the ridge after about .80 mile.
After crossing the ridge to the south side of the moraine, the trail descends easily. This is a great section of trail.
After 1.4 miles from the Finch Trailhead the trail reaches a junction. Follow the arrows for the Finch - Pear Lakes Trail. The other trails go to Allenspark and to a private ranch (on another sign).
From the junction the trail climbs easily through an open area lightly forested with aspen. Enjoy the stroll because it gets tougher soon.
After the aspen grove, a steep climb with big steps, finally levels out on the top of the moraine (yes the same one that you crossed at .80 mile). This is a tough climb. A unique trailside boulder marks the top of the steep climb and a great rest spot.
A good viewpoint is located nearby the boulder. Looking north Mount Meeker dominates the view.
2.30 miles from the Finch Trailhead the trail reaches another junction. Remember that you are going to Finch Lake. The other trails lead to Allenspark and to Calypso Cascade. On the return, the junction can be confusing. To return the way you came, the trail sign is labeled, "Ranger Station via Finch Lake Trailhead".
From the junction the Finch Lake Trail crosses the Ouzel Burn area. Slowly the trees are returning, but the area is still hot in the afternoon sun.
Almost 1.65 miles from the Calypso Cascade Trail junction the trail reaches a solid footbridge over a creek draining St Vrain Mountain and Meadow Mountain.
From the creek crossing, the trail goes downhill to Finch Lake. (Remember to save a little extra strength for the climb up the hill on your return.)
0.45 mile from the bridge the trail reaches Finch Lake.
The east shore of Finch Lake is 4.40 miles from the Finch Lake Trailhead.
Continuing to Pear Lake or the Finch Lake Campsites, follow the Pear Lake Trail continuing around the north of the Finch Lake (right). The campsites are in about .15 mile.
There is a privy near the Finch Lake Group Campsite.
After the campsites, the trail follows close to the lake and then crosses the Finch Lake outlet and then the larger Cony Creek.
The trail climbs steadily. It is not as maintained as the Finch Lake Trail.
1.25 miles from the start of the Pear Lake Trail (east shore of Finch Lake) the trail passes above a pond to the south (left).
At 1.75 miles, the Pear Lake Trail crosses Pear Creek on a footbridge. The bridge is short.
The Pear Lake Trail turns sharply to the right after the footbridge.
The Pear Creek Campsite is obvious after crossing Pear Creek. It is to the left of the trail.
The final .30 mile to Pear Lake often harbors lingering snow. The open area following near the creek seems to hold less snow than the woods to the south.
Caution: Tracks in the snow lead to lots of places that are not necessarily on the trail.
Pear Lake is 6.50 miles from the Finch Lake Trailhead.
The campsites are across Pear Creek, the outlet, and then up to a shoulder that sits above the lake.
Pear Lake sits nestled below Mount Copeland (on the right) with Elk Tooth to the south. It is a good day hike or overnight destination.