Ranger | 3330 pts
I did this trail on 5/24/19, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and I still had to use snowshoes for most of the way! The trail was pretty well packed and easily followed for the first mile or so but then became increasingly hard to find and covered with soft snow. That is when I changed from spikes to snowshoes. The weather was also iffy. Below the tree line it was cold but shielded from the wind but once above the tree line there was no cover from the fierce wind. The snow was blowing everywhere and it became difficult to see. At that point, I decided to stop and turn around when I was probably about less than a mile from Flattop Mountain, my destination for the day. As it is the case with all the other trails in this area the views are outstanding but the trail is rather relentless gaining elevation all the time. The trail starts at about 9500 ft and I got to about 12200 ft so the total elevation gain is about 2700 ft. The trail is not so easy, it meanders in and out of the woods until you get above the tree line. At that point, it does not really matter much where you walk because your destination is visible but you are still climbing. I clocked it at 6.8 miles (out of the 9 miles described in the book). It was slow going up (2.5 h) because of the wind and the depth of the snow but it was faster on the way down (2h, including a 20 min lunch break once I got back below the tree line). Definitely, a must do in the RMNP but it may be best to do it in the summer or fall when there is little or no snow and then you can continue beyond Flattop and get better views. On the other hand those seasons are busy and this area is very popular with tourists.