Pagoda Mountain (13,497-ft) resides within the protected boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park, or as some of us say “The Park.” This elegant mountain is .7 miles southwest of Longs Peak (14,255-ft) and .8 miles east of Chief’s Head Peak (13,579-ft.) Both Pagoda Mountain and Chief’s Head team up to form the extreme southern boundary of the magical Glacier Gorge. The north and southwest faces of Pagoda are shear 1000-ft walls of granite, which seems to be the common theme within Glacier Gorge. Pagoda Mountain is connected to it’s higher and much more popular neighbor Longs Peak by a sweeping, tower-ridden ridge known as the Keyboard of the Winds.
Pagoda’s summit-log receives about 75 signatures a year, a huge contrast from Long’s Peak’s summit-log, which most likely doubles that number on any given weekend. Pagoda’s summit is not easy to get to, which is a major factor concerning it’s low number of yearly visits. The Glacier Gorge area is as popular and tourist ridden a place can get, but if they want the best view in the area, Mr. Tourist will have to manage a rough 12.5 mile and 4,400-ft of vertical gain. Thus, with an early start on a weekday it would be safe to assume you can find some elusive solitude in Glacier Gorge.
Getting There-Glacier Gorge TH
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Camping within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park Is permitted only in designated campsites, with a permit. These campsites vary in popularity so calling way in advance for availability is recommended. For example, the one spot to camp up in Glacier Gorge is booked for every day of the summer on the first day they allow reservations. In contrast, there are campsites in Wild Basin that may be available that night. The cost is $20.00. Here are a few good links showing the designated campsites within The Park. Designated campsites #1Desinated campsites #2 You can get a backcountry bivy permit if you are doing technical climbing. Your technical climb must be on a written list of technical climbs within the Park. If your climb is obscure, and potentially not on that list, the Park most likely will not allow you to bivy.
Campgrounds in the area include Aspenglen, Timber Creek and Longs Peak and are on a first-come, first-served basis and cost $20 per night. In summer campgrounds usually fill to capacity early each day. Moraine Park (247 sites) and Glacier Basin (150 sites) require reservations and cost $20. Moraine Park, Timber Creek and Longs Peak campgrounds are open year-round; Glacier Basin closes Sept. 7. Aspenglen is open until Sept. 20 and offers 54 sites. Longs Peak campground, the main access point for climbing 14,255-foot Longs Peak, is four miles north of Wild Basin on Colorado Highway 7 and offers 26 tent-only sites with a 3-night limit.
Nakai Peak is contained by Rocky Mountain National Park and therefore under the administration of the National Park Service, part of the Department of the Interior. This is a rather different jurisdiction for those used to climbing on National Forest Service lands administered by the Department of Agriculture. The most immediate difference is that the park costs a bit of change: daily admittance is $15 dollars, camping is $18 and limited by a permit system. In addition the park has a remarkable trail system. So the price does provide some amenities.
Camping, as stated above, is limited to permits. To find out more information from the Park Service contact listed below.
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397
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