To get to this trailhead, enter the National Park through the Fall River Entrance, Hwy 34, just West of Estes Park. About 2 miles into the park, take a right where the signs point you to "Old Fall River Rd." and "End o' Valley." Once on this road, you will take your first right, where signs clearly point you to the "Lawn Lake Trailhead."
Follow this well worn trail for 6.2 miles to Lawn Lake. Continue past the lake following the signs to "The Saddle," which is the saddle between Fairchild Mountain and Hagues Peak. You will probably want to turn toward the summit before you reach the crest of The Saddle.
Once you arrive at the valley above Lawn Lake, you will be able to clearly see the trail as it winds all the way up to The Saddle. It's up to you if you want to go all the way up before turning to summit Fairchild. If you head Southwest before reaching The Saddle, you will take a more direct route at the expense of steeper terrain. If you go all the way to The Saddle, you can follow the gently sloping, but longer, ridge to the summit.
I chose the more direct route. However, climbing this mountain again, I might think differently, depending on how the sky looked.
If the sky looked even the slightest bit threatening, I would go all the way to The Saddle. From there you have a great vantage point to constantly watch what the clouds are doing. This same gentle ridge completely blocks your view of any and all incoming weather until it is directly on top of you, if you decide on the steeper more direct route.
In short...if the weather looks suspect, take The Saddle, so you can watch whats going on.
Until you get about 300 vertical feet from the summit, it is very simple tundra walking. From that point it turns into a large boulder hopping affair. Nothing overly dangerous unless wet or icy.
The summit is wonderful and gives you unique views of the rest of the National Park.
Bring your basic hiking gear. This is a long day, so pack accordingly.
In the winter I would probably bring crampons, or at least ice cleats/spikes. The boulders near the summit were a bit tricky with a thick layer of ice and snow. Otherwise you would be okay with just snowshoes.
Im looking for first hand route info for the ridge between Ypsilon and Fairchild. Anyone with good info, please email me, [email protected], or add the route page yourself. Thanks