Crystal Lake

Estes Park, Colorado

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This lake carved into the flank of Fairchild Mountain jostles musical ice crystals when surrounding snow and ice fields melt in summer. Standing on the shore of Crystal Lake, I have been delighted by the tinkling music of ice shards bumping against one another in the water, like crystals knocking together on a chandelier disturbed by wind through an open window. I do not know if something about the way glaciers plucked Crystal Lake’s deep basin from the flank of Fairchild Mountain causes its ice to melt into natural music. Perhaps this magic music occurs in other tarns on some days.
Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

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Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

by Kent Dannen (Falcon Guides)

This lake carved into the flank of Fairchild Mountain jostles musical ice crystals when surrounding snow and ice fields melt in summer.

Standing on the shore of Crystal Lake, I have been delighted by the tinkling music of ice shards bumping against one another in the water, like crystals knocking together on a chandelier disturbed by wind through an open window. I do not know if something about the way glaciers plucked Crystal Lake’s deep basin from the flank of Fairchild Mountain causes its ice to melt into natural music. Perhaps this magic music
occurs in other tarns on some days.

© 2015 Kent Dannen/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Estes Park
Distance: 15.4
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 12 hours
Trailhead Elevation: 8,540 feet
Top Elevation: 11,520 feet
Local Contacts: Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office, 1000 US 36, Estes Park 80510; (970) 586-1242; www.nps.gov/romo
Local Maps: USGS Trail Ridge; Trails Illustrated Rocky Mountain National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Crystal Lake

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Apr 2018