ApproachThe Southeast Ridge starts at the Sandbeach Lake trailhead in the Wild Basin Area of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Wild Basin is located about 13 miles south of Estes Park on Hwy 7 or 22 miles north of Lyons on Hwy 7. This trailhead has abundent parking across from the ranger station at the entrance. On busy summer weekends this lot can fill fast.
From the TH follow the Sandbeach Lake trail as it switchbacks up Copeland Moraine. The trail then follows the south side of the moraine until you reach a signed junction at 1.5 miles. Stay straight (left) on the trail and follow it for a little less than a half mile. Along this part you will begin to see Lookout Mountain to the right. About a half mile from the last junction the trail begins to near several rock outcroppings. This is the southeast ridge and you will leave the trail here.
The trailhead requires an entry fee for the park. Details on fees are on the main page.
Access is year around for the Sandbeach Lake TH.
Crossing from one side of the ridge crest to the other offers alternating views of the giants in Wild Basin and Twin Sisters to the northeast. Higher along the route when the ridge steepened around severl rock outcroppings it is best to cross to the west/southwest side where travel is much easier. Scramble up boulders making your way towards the highest visible point.
Once the terrain begins to ease in angle you will begin to see several rocky highpoints. These are not the acutal summit but do hide it. make your way north until you see this. The true summit is atop this block which requires about 15-20 of exposed class 4 climbing. Be sure not to climb up if you wouldn't want to downclimb it. The top offers a breathtaking 360 degree view of the surrounding giants, as well as nearby Horsetooth Peak .
A great addition to this climb is to descend to the Lookout-Horsetooth saddle and ascend Horsetooth. If leave a car at the Meeker Park TH you can descend the standard route for Horsetooth for a grand tour of both peaks. If you do not have a shuttle, you will need to return to the saddle and make a high, descending traverse along the east face of Lookout towards Copeland Moraine and the Sandbeach Lake trail.
Lookout Mountain from Sandbeach Lake Th (SBL TH) back to SBL TH:
Lookout Mountain and Horsetooth Peak from SBL TH back to SBL TH:
Snowshoes may be helpful in winter or early spring.