This was a day trip from Denver to the Wild Basin area of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We started our hike from the Sandbeach Lake trailhead at 5 am, and followed the trail for about 3 miles to the Hunters Creek bridge. This is a convenient place to leave the main trail. A faint trail, not shown on topo maps, continues on the northeast side of Hunters Creek, passes by Lyric Falls, and after about a mile and a half reaches a stream coming off of Meeker's south slope. A footpath follows the stream for another few hundred feet but then it disappears as you reach open meadows on the south slope of Meeker. A rock formation called Dragons Egg and the summit of Meeker come into clear view. This is a point where a true ascent begins. Up to here, we traveled about 4.5 miles, with a 2150 feet elevation gain. In the next two miles we will gain another 3400 feet on a steep, cross country route to the top.
South slope of the mountain is rimmed by Meeker Ridge on the east (right) side, and by Southwest Ridge on the west (left) side. Once you get close to Dragons Egg, you can angle either west or east and head to one of those two ridgelines. Depending on your route, you will exit lower or higher on the ridge. Southwest Ridge will get you directly to the true (west) summit of Meeker, 13911 feet. If you choose Meeker Ridge you will first end up at a slightly lower east summit. Two summits are connected by a 250-yards long sharp ridge, known as Meeker's Knife Edge. We decided to exit high up on the Southwest Ridge on our way to the top, then use Meeker Ridge on our way down. We reached the main summit slightly before midday, and stayed there briefly because dark clouds began to gather to our west. Twenty minutes later we scrambled up the east summit over Knife Edge, then quickly descended via Meeker Ridge to lower elevation. In the end, thunderstorms didn't materialize, and the sky cleared. By 3 pm, we were back on the main trail at the Hunters Creek bridge, and an hour later back at the trailhead.
This was an eleven-hours round trip from the Sandbeach Lake trailhead with about 5550 ft elevation gain. Some of the highlights of the hike were amazing views of Longs Peak, and that nice little "knife edge" between two summits of Meeker.