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Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide Paperback – November 20, 2005

44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Westcliffe Publishers; 1 edition (November 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565795504
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565795501
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 78 people found the following review helpful By MoonHermit on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
In my life, I have literally read hundreds of hiking and climbing guidebooks from around the world. There are two things most of them have in common and are readily apparent. First, the author does not have intimate, first-hand knowledge of every location, every route; relying instead on other's trip reports and descriptions. Second, details important to the reader are brief, missing or just downright incorrect. This makes for a potentially deadly combination when a climber or hiker is facing darkness, dangerous weather conditions and fatigue.

Within Rocky Mountain National Park, an area I have explored and enjoyed over the past 25 years, I have carried and relied heavily upon guidebooks by 'renowned' local authors and on more than several occasions, have faced incredibly frustrating and sometimes harrowing circumstances, quickly coming to the realization the guidebook was worth less than the paper it was printed on.

Then, Lisa Foster entered the picture. Lisa established her credibility, professionalism and attention to detail long before writing this book, as a backcountry adventure columnist for the Estes Park Trail Gazette and as a host/guide in many local television and video productions; aimed at promoting safe and responsible adventure travel in Rocky Mountain National Park. This, coupled with her years of experience as a National Park Service Biological Field Technician, a top-notch alpinist and backcountry explorer, made her the perfect candidate to take on such a formidable challenge-to write a comprehensive guide to every named point in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as several areas on its borders.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Digbee VINE VOICE on February 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides route information for every named destination in Rocky Mountain National Park, and for a number of destinations around the park as well as many unoffically named destinations within it. These destinations include waterfalls, lakes, passes, and mountains, 440 destinations in all. As the title suggests, it's an exhaustive guide, and probably has more information than the casual visitor can use.

The author, Lisa Foster, has been to each one of these destinations - - and I haven't. So my review begins with a lack of information, as there's no way that I can vouch for her route information. I have been to some of these destinations, either on the beaten track or just off it, and her information so far is good.

Three things make this book stand out, in addition to the sheer number of features covered. First, there are an extraordinary number of great photographs, an average of about one per page. This makes a big difference in selecting destinations.

Second, this is at last a book with enough maps. Each section (i.e., "Mummy Range") begins with a map covering that region, and every 5-10 pages is a detail map showing the routes for individual hikes or climbs. The overwhelming majority of these routes are off-trail, so the maps are essential for helping to show you where to go.

Third, and related to the maps, is the coverage of so many routes (686 for the 440 destinations). The section on Longs Peak is, not surprisingly, the most thorough, covering every route and feature that you might find from any direction. The book is not exhaustive - - for example, it lists two routes up Mount Lady Washington, and I know of a third - - but it provides more than enough for most people.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Valentine on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Lisa Foster's guide book to RMNP is indeed complete, comprehensive, meticulous, and helpful. The amount of detail is excellent and her expertise is evident.

I found it overwhelming for a first visit to the park, however. My husband and I had only three days to dayhike, aiming for an average of 10 miles round trip, 2000 ft. climb each day, coming through the Fall River Road park entrance. It took me several hours studying Foster's book to select what seemed to be appropriate hikes and trailheads to start from. The book is primarily organized by destination, and the destination descriptions do not provide mileage and elevation change from trailhead -- this is instead provided in a helpful table at the back of the book. After a while, I found myself starting at the table in the back to look for suitable mileages, then flipping to the front of the book to read about the destinations and identify trail head locations on the maps.

This book seems better designed for experienced RMNP users who are looking for more information on how to reach all the named destinations in the park. Beginners like me would benefit from a "recommended dayhikes section" or something to help a first-time out-of-town user more quickly hone in on great hikes for a short stay.

Due to its comprehensiveness and solid construction, the book is heavy. I found it too heavy to hike with so I ended up copying notes by hand on some of the off-trail destinations and carrying those instead of the book. This worked, but I'd have preferred the book. Not sure how to improve this other than perhaps making the guidebook 3-ring with removable pages.
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