We started this hike from the Milner's Pass Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park at 8am, with the beautiful sun just starting to peek over the mountains. Wasn't much of a surprise to see the parking lot already filling up with other hikers who were attempting to summit Mount Ida or make it to the Alpine Visitor Center before the storms rolled in. We suggest leaving the trailhead before 9am if you attempt to summit, storms tend to move in over the mountains between 12-2pm, you should be below treeline to avoid lightening strikes before 1pm. Also, the parking lot fills up fast! If you don't get a spot at the trailhead, you can plan to park a small distance away and walk to the trailhead.
This hike is roughly 9.5miles roundtrip with a 2,465ft elevation gain, which took us roughly 4.5 hours total from start to finish (3 hours up and 1.5 hours down). There is roughly a 515ft elevation gain per mile and is rated as a 'strenuous' hike at 14.53 trail rating in difficulty. Mount Ida sits at 12,889ft in elevation.
Be sure to bring sunscreen, gloves, rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, food, and plenty of water (we each brought 1 gallon of water). Be sure to read up on what Altitude Sickness is, the signs, and how to help or prevent it.
Overall, the scenery is beautiful, we had to politely as some elk to move off our trail so we could pass, and the alpine tundra is majestic. Be aware of the winds and don't get summit fever if it gets to be too much to handle up there, winds can reach 80mph easily. Get Out There!
Check this website out for more detailed information on the hike to Mount Ida.
Click on the photos below to enlarge.