Please Note: The description provided here requires a two-vehicle shuttle. You will begin at the Chapin Creek Trailhead and come out at the Lawn lake TH. The Old Fall River road, is a graded dirt road. Though many if not most passenger cars can negotiate this road successfully, you'll be more comfortable in a higher clearance vehicle.
The Chapin Creek TH is located on the "Old Fall River Road" in Rocky Mountain National Park. This road is One Way, uphill from the access point. From Estes Park, follow HWY 34 or the bypass west to the Fall River Visitor Center and entrance station. Continue west on HWY34 about 2 miles to an intersection just past Sheep Lakes. Turn right onto the Fall River Road and almost immediately right again into the Lawn Lake Trailhead parking area. Leave one vehicle here.( If coming from Grand Lake across Trail Ridge Road, at Deer Ridge Junction, turn left onto HWY34 and drive under two miles to the intersection with the Fall River Road where you will turn left, then right into the parking for the Lawn Lake Trail.) From the Lawn Lake TH, continue driving west to the end of the pavement at the Endovalley picnic area, another 2 miles. Continue almost another 8 miles on the graded, single lane dirt road to the Chapin Creek trailhead. This is where your very long hike will begin. When you eventually return to your vehicle, you will have to continue driving west to the Trail Ridge Road Visitor Center and then drive back down to Estes Park on Trail Ridge Road, assuming you came from the Front Range. If coming from the west slope, you can continue west on HWY 34 to Grand Lake and beyond.
There is no "at-large" camping allowed within RMNP, neither can you camp overnight at any of the trailheads. If within park boundaries, you must camp in the designated campgrounds. The nearest park campground is the "Aspenglen." Check the park website for additional information about which campgrounds allow advance reservations and how to obtain those.
Please Note: This peak is included as part of a sequenced, two-vehicle shuttle route description for the Mummy range, including Ypsilon Mountain, Fairchild, Hagues and Mummy. See those peaks for further details if needed. All-aboard for a mega peak day.
From the Chapin Pass TH, head NE on the Chapin Creek trail toward Chapin Pass and then turn east on another trail that leads to Mt. Chapin. This trail does not show on the USGS map but the lower portion of it is indicated on the park brochure map and the NFS map for Arapaho/Roosevelt. Those maps only show it as far as a little above treeline. Since Mount Chapin is a ranked 12er, you might consider tagging it as you pass by, but for the approach to Chiquita, Ypsilon, Fairchild and Hagues, the goal is to reach the saddle between Chapin and Mount Chiquita. To reach that saddle, follow an easy trail that contours upward across easy tundra terrain bedecked with alpine wildflowers.
From the saddle between Mount Chapin and Mount Chiquita, hike NE along a very broad ridge to the summit. You'll be hiking on mostly tundra that will give way to more embedded rocks and some rocky talus. Enjoy the wildflower display.
Note: This route description is part of a sequenced route that includes the entire Mummy Range as part of a single day hike with a two-vehicle shuttle. See also Mount Chiquita, Fairchild Mountain, Hagues Peak and Mummy Mountain for additional details. One-way mileage & elevation gain for Ypsilon are measured from the summit of Mount Chiquita. Round-trip figures assume completion of the entire circuit.
From the summit of Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain is an easy, 45 minute stroll. Descend north from Chiquita to the saddle at 12,786 ft. over similar, mostly tundra, and some embedded rock, boulders and talus encountered on the hike up Chiquita. At the saddle, head NNE to the summit of Ypsilon following along the broad ridge with the same kind of terrain. This is a fairly easy, low-angle stroll with summer wildflowers to brighten your way. Don't miss out on the views down into the cirque surrounding the Spectacle Lakes.
Note: This description is part of a one day Mummy Range clean out that utilized a two-vehicle set up. See also Mt. Chiquita, Ypsilon Mtn., Hagues Peak and Mummy Mtn. for further details. One-way mileage and elevation gain estimates are measured from the summit of Ypsilon Mtn. Round-trip numbers assume completion of the entire circuit.
From the summit of Ypsilon Mountain, head down to the NW on easy slopes until the ridge line comes to an abrupt end and turns to the NE. You'll be greeted by a rugged jumble of spires and broken blocks of rock. To avoid this mess, drop down on the east side of the ridge and descend carefully on loose rocks and large blocks & stacked boulders until the terrain relents and you're able to drop into something of a more mellow, but still rocky basin with some tundra as well. At about 12,400 feet, turn more to the north and begin your ascent to Fairchild from the saddle at 12,580 ft. Clamber over more broken rock, scree etc. as you ascend 600 feet along the ridge. At just above 13,200 feet, the steep ascent will relent and you'll be able to stroll on to the actual summit across far less steep terrain. The summit is rather uneventful, but the view east, looking down into the protective cirque surrounding Crystal Lake is very impressive. From Ypsilon, it will take about one hour to cross over to Fairchild.
Alternate route: From Lawn lake, hike up the trail that leads to "The Saddle" at 12,398 ft. From that saddle, turn SW and hike up the fairly gentle slope to the summit of Fairchild over tundra, embedded rocks and talus.
This route description is part of a two-car shuttle that leaves one vehicle at the Lawn lake TH and another at the Chapin Pass TH on the one way, Old Fall River Road. To view the rest of this route description, you will need to read the descriptions for Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mtn., and Fairchild Mtn. One way mileage and elevation gain estimates are measured from the summit of Fairchild Mtn. Round-trip figures assume completion of the entire circuit.
From the summit of Fairchild Mtn., descend NNE along a broad ridge to "The Saddle" at 12,398 ft. You'll be walking over a combination of tundra and probably a little more embedded rock than you would like. Expect patches of snow to large snowfields on this north facing slope depending on the season. As you begin the ascent to Hagues, things will steepen considerably. You will encounter a variety of terrains including sandy talus, rocks, boulders, large blocks and most any other unpleasant arrangement you can think of. There is virtually no tundra. As you approach the summit, contour a little to the east to avoid some obstacles closer to the ridge. The summit itself is surrounded by small cliffs and comprised of large, block type boulders. The west side drops off dramatically. Pick your own route through.
Alternates: 1. If coming from Mummy Mtn. by following the east ridge of Hagues, you'll find easy walking on tundra that gives way to more rock and boulders as you approach the summit. 2. Hagues can also be climbed by hiking the entire length of the Lawn Lake Trail from the TH of the same name. It's appx. 6.5 miles to the north end of Lawn Lake from the TH. From there, continue NW for another 2 miles on the same trail to "The Saddle" at 12,398 ft. From the Saddle, follow the route description provided above. Round trip, this would be close to an 20 mile day. See this link for more details:
http://www.protrails.com/trail/62/rocky-mountain-national-park-lawn-lake. There are two fairly close designated backcountry campsites. One is right at Lawn Lake, just west of the patrol cabin. The other is further down trail, about two miles before the lake. The link above provides further detail or search the RMNP website for further information.