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Toll Memorial Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park

July 2nd, 2008

1.0 miles
180 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:10

Starting elevation
12132 feet
Max elevation
12331 feet

Rating: 8/10

Directions: From Estes Park, take Highway 36 into the park. Follow Trail Ridge Road all the way up, close to the top, until you see the signs for Rock Cut on the right.   View Driving Map

The Tundra Communities Trailhead at Rock Cut is the start of the Toll Memorial Trail. It was partly cloudy when we started the hike, but we kept an eye on the clouds; the trail is completely exposed so it's one of the worst places to be in a thunderstorm (and afternoon thunderstorms are common).

View of the parking area from the trail

View of parking area and Trail Ridge Road from the trail

The trail is basically paved (crushed gravel) all the way to the top. There are interpretive signs all along the trail. On either side of the trail are various types of colorful tundra flowers. It's a gently sloping trail, and because of its length you'll find it filled with hikers.

Elk crossing the tundra

As we started our hike, we saw an elk feeding on the grasses. It went up as we went up, and started to accelerate as it approached the trail. Eventually it ran across (apparently a bit skittish around people), and went down the other side of the mountain.

Rock formations halfway from the end of the trail

There's a short side trail to the right to some interesting rock formations. We passed that trail and continued on up to the Toll Memorial, which is on some larger rocks at the end of the trail. It's relatively easy to scramble up to the top of them, but we stayed down below. We did scramble up a small rock to get some nice views over the side, where a snow field plunged steeply downhill.

Rock formations at the end of the trail

Snow fields

Snow field tumbling over the edge

Looking back at the trail

Wild flowers

Wild flowers

If anyone wants to identify any of these flowers, feel free

Lichen on rocks

Green plants

Lichen on rocks

The clouds were taking over so we turned around and headed back the way we came. As we approached the trailhead, it started to rain, and thunder followed soon after we returned to our car. Be prepared for changing weather. Also, please note that the tundra takes years to grow in this harsh environment, so please stay on the path (or the rocks).

Alpine Avens (Acomastylis rossii turbinata)

I believe these are Alpine Forget-Me-Not (Eritrichum aretioides)

Moss Campion (Silene acaulis subacaulescens)

Hiking back along the trail

Some sort of alpine sunflower

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