Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours Ida Trail. Difficulty: Easy This hike has a little bit of everything…waterfalls, alpine lakes, high mountain views, and fun river and stream crossings. Editor's note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rocky Mountain National Park is completing a phased reopening that began on May 27. A park favorite, this hike to a mountain pond travels through woods that blaze with color in the fall. Hallett Peak is a good warm-up hike for those who plan to summit Longs Peak. If you have plans to hike one of these trails, adding on Bear Lake is quick, easy, and won’t take up much of your time. Ute Trail to Tombstone Ridge Expect lots of wind and cold temperatures, even during the summer months. It’s a flat, beautiful easy walk in the park…literally. Best Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park 1. Location: Longs Peak Trailhead, which is located at the end of Longs Peak Road on the east side of RMNP. Length of Time: 30 minutes Location: Alpine Visitor Center on Trail Ridge Road. Note: Many hikes start at or near Bear Lake: Emerald Lake, Lake Haiyaha, Sky Pond, Black Lake, Fern Lake, Flattop Mountain, and Hallett Peak. Location: Bear Lake Trailhead, at the end of Bear Lake Road, Learn More:  How to Hike to Nymph, Dream & Emerald Lakes (+ Add on Bear Lake and Lake Haiyaha). 1. Earth Trekkers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising & linking to Amazon.com. There is a large parking lot here but it can fill up by 9 am, so get here early, not only to get a parking spot, but to also avoid the large crowds on the trail. These five beginner hikes in the park are sure to please, as they provide both great scenery and easy terrain. Nomad Family Log: July 22nd - 28th I can't believe it's been so long since we visited the epic Rocky Mountain National Park. Length of Time: 4 to 5 hours This hike has a little bit of everything…waterfalls, alpine lakes, high mountain views, and fun river and stream crossings. Alberta Falls is just half of a mile from the trailhead and is a perfect spot to give your lungs and legs a chance to get used to the high elevation. If this sounds like a hike you would like to do, it will take some planning and patience. This 6.4-mile out-and-back hike is the perfect introduction to Rocky Mountain hiking for those who want to sample some of the area’s highlights without putting in too much effort. Bear Lake, the heart of the East side - known for easy access with great views & lake hikes. Difficulty: Easy Editor's note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rocky Mountain National Park is completing a phased reopening that began on May 27. Once at the waterfall, you can explore the short trails along Glacier Creek to find your favorite view of the waterfall. To get a parking space here, plan on arriving no later than 6:30 am, but even earlier is better. Length of Time: 4 to 6 hours Mt. 3D views of the hiking area give you a good feel for the terrain. Flattop Mountain Trail. This vast park spans 415 square miles , is home to several different biomes, including tundra, and has trails for hikers of all experience levels. If the parking lot is full, park in the large parking lot at the end of Bear Lake Road. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list. Get an ad-free experience, support The Outbound, and snag a bunch of other perks by subscribing for only $29.99/year. For much of the hike you are walking along the Continental Divide. Location: Lumpy Ridge Trailhead. Black bears can be found in the Rocky Mountain National Park, but they are shy and avoid busy trails, so encounters with humans are very rare. This hike feels tough, a combination of the high elevation with the long stair climb. Cub Lake Trail. At just over a half of a mile, round trip, this hike sounds easy. Length of Time: 6 to 8 hours This is our favorite short, easy hike in the park. Of course, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is one of the best places in the country to experience all that the Rockies have to offer. Simply turn around when you are ready, the spectacular views start as soon as your feet hit the trail. for more inspiration and travel planning tips. The trail is very exposed to the elements and will require some scrambling as you get to the top but the panoramic views at the end make this one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Distance: 1.7 miles Those looking for a shorter, easier hike can turn around at this point. They range from flat lakeside strolls to steep mountain peak climbs. Along the trail, there are viewpoints over Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Adams Falls, a 55-foot waterfall, and the meadow that is a short walk after the falls is a must-see in Rocky Mountain National Park. Another summit hike that would best be started early in the morning to avoid afternoon storms as you near the summit. The National Park Service (NPS) operates a timely shuttle schedule in the summer. If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, visit our United States Destination Guide for more inspiration and travel planning tips. Fortunately, there are hikes for all ages and ability levels. Unlike other trails listed as accessible by the Park, Bear Lake is not entirely flat and is a more challenging route. For most of this hike you are entirely within a pine forest, so the views are rather lackluster for much of the hike. Lake Helene and Two Rivers Lake. It is literally full of wonders. Rocky Mountain National Park is brimming with a near-obscene abundance of natural beauty—including some of the highest mountains in the continental U.S., six glaciers, more than 100 pristine alpine lakes, lush forested valleys, and the kind of high-alpine terrain that hikers dream of. Some parts of the park may remain closed. Rocky Mountain National Park's 15 Best Hikes. The classic hike for first-timers in Rocky Mountain National Park is a Bear Lake and Emerald Lake combo. That is, you’ll hike past several crystal clear alpine lakes and some of RMNP’s most famous peaks. Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park. Alberta Falls "We took the Emerald Lake trail which hit every Colorado cliché: lakes (more than one), "After an easy walk around Bear Lake (reviewed separately) we took the more strenuous and rocky (3.6, "... (our favorite) - Lake Hiayaha - 4.4 miles - Bierstadt Lake - 4.0 miles - Fern Lake - 9.4 miles - Flattop Mtn - 8.8 miles The drive from, "We made this a loop by continuing on to the pools and back to the fern lake trailhead with a classic, "In the summer this trail is paved and a great area for a picnic or, "Instead of Glacier Gorge, we started from the, "After passing Alberta Falls, for the final 1/2 mile of the hike we had the option of hiking to Glacier Gorge (downhill, "Starting at Milner Pass west of Alpine Visitor Center on, "Left one car at Milner Pass and the other at the Alpine Center for shuttling at the end.The hike offered stunning alpine vistas along with a variety of, "If you take the shuttle to the Bear Lake trailhead you can hike down to the Alberta Falls, "Chipmunks and chickadees ate crumbs from my hand on the large granite outcrop on the edge of the, "Very lush trail and we enjoy immensely, We took the trail up past, "The trail itself is pretty average but the reason to hike this trail is the opportunity to spot Moose which are best found on the west side of the, "Most of the hike is through open meadows along the creek with lots of, Rocky Mountain National Park Bed and Breakfast, Rocky Mountain National Park Vacation Rentals, Rocky Mountain National Park Vacation Packages, Rocky Mountain National Park Travel Forum, Rocky Mountain National Park Travel Guide, Rocky Mountain National Park Pet Friendly Campgrounds, Hotels near Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, All things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park, Outdoor Activities in Rocky Mountain National Park, Hiking Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, Nature & Parks in Rocky Mountain National Park, Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park, Nature & Wildlife Areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, Waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park, Bodies of Water in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sights & Landmarks in Rocky Mountain National Park, Scenic Walking Areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, Spas & Wellness in Rocky Mountain National Park, Fun & Games in Rocky Mountain National Park, Traveler Resources in Rocky Mountain National Park, Boat Tours & Water Sports in Rocky Mountain National Park, Food & Drink in Rocky Mountain National Park, Nightlife in Rocky Mountain National Park, Concerts & Shows in Rocky Mountain National Park, Transportation in Rocky Mountain National Park, Water & Amusement Parks in Rocky Mountain National Park, Classes & Workshops in Rocky Mountain National Park, Twin Sisters Peaks Trail: Tickets & Tours‎, Tundra Communities Trail: Tickets & Tours‎, Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead: Tickets & Tours‎, Things to do near (DEN) Denver Intl Airport, Things to do near Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver, Private Rocky Mountain National Park Adventure, Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Boulder, See more hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park on Tripadvisor, See more hiking trails for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park on Tripadvisor, See more hiking trails for couples in Rocky Mountain National Park on Tripadvisor, See more budget-friendly hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park on Tripadvisor, See more romantic hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park on Tripadvisor. The hike here begins at Lumpy Ridge. Distance: 9.5 miles Access to the park is through Estes Park, or Grand Lake, on the western side. Take advantage of the shuttle and park at the Park and Ride, and then shuttle up to the start at Bear Lake. In fact, hikers will enjoy ... 2. For the first part of the hike, you will walk the same trail as the hikers on their way to Longs Peak, the highest point in the hike. Get all of the details on how to do this hike in our post about Fern Lake. For those with restriction of time, mobility or experience, a simple trek around a lake or meadow is a great way to experience the beauty of the park. You don’t even have to hike the entire 4 miles. The trail ends at the summit of Hallett Peak. Honestly, this is not the most exciting hike on the list. These are the best places for kid-friendly hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park: Which places provide the best hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park for couples? 2.8 miles. 1. When we did this, we saw lots of elk, some of them males with enormous antlers. Each of these hikes is a day hike, so they can all be completed in one day. So, climb those stairs, catch your breath if you need to, and enjoy the awesome view from the top. Opening up the new year (2021) with a hike to Mills Lake from the Glacier Gorge trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, USA. It’s a flat, beautiful easy walk... 2. Hikers will pass pristine alpine lakes including Nymph Lake and Dream Lakes and be treated to beautiful views of rocky peaks including Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak, and Glacier Gorge. Chapin, Mt. The hike to reach the lake is absolutely stunning, and the lake itself offers peace and quiet. 3D trail maps, descriptions and pictures. From here, at an elevation of 12,899 feet, the entire park stretches out before you. You can’t talk about the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park without mentioning Glacier Gorge. Difficulty: Moderate The entire hike is less than a mile in length, making it great for all ages and ability levels. Not only is this a scenic walk around a lake, but this also can be a learning experience. Test your hiking abilities in the 265,461 acre (107,428.3 hectare) Rocky Mountain National Park, USA. Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park | Top 10 Hikes in RMNP. If this is your first day at RMNP, and one of your first days in Colorado, be prepared to take a few breaks. I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the 12 best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for those who are looking for more challenging, adventurous and scenic outings. This is a hiker’s paradise, a playground of peaks, meadows and forests; lakes, waterfalls and glaciers, and hiking trails that get you to the best views and offer some of the best experiences along the way. Odessa Lake & Fern Lake Location: The Deer Mountain Trailhead is located on Trail Ridge Road, 3 miles west of the Beaver Meadows entrance. The views across the park are incredible. For very little effort, the views you get are unbelievable. This is an essential hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park - Ecology Rocky Mountain National Park ranges from 7,860' - 14,259' across 5 ecosystems and sub-systems. This trail is not paved (it’s a gravel trail for most of its length) but it is considered handicap accessible. 522 reviews. Long's Peak and Wild Basin - known for waterfalls & back country. We hiked to Odessa Lake and Fern Lake as an out-and-back hike from Bear Lake. Your email address will not be published. This park is one of the most well-known and well-traveled National Parks, and with VERY good reason. Difficulty: Strenuous Distance: 7.5 to 10 miles, depending on the route you choose Parking in the lot at the end of Bear Lake Road adds roughly .4 miles to the hiking distance above. Accessed most commonly from Estes Park, CO, the National Park itself is a gem in Colorado and home to some of the best climbing, skiing and hiking in the state. From the Bear Lake Trailhead, follow signs to Alberta Falls. Thanks for sharing!!! Easy Hikes. It starts at 10,800 feet and tops out at 12,899 on Mt. Rocky Mountain National Park, though traditionally more of a summer hiking destination, also boasts many wonderful snowshoeing routes, with trails that are well marked and generally well trodden. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. However, if you only have the time for one hike, and the thought of a tough, 9-mile hike isn’t a deal breaker, we recommend Sky Pond. If you have been hiking in Glacier National Park, this hike looks very similar to the Grinnell Glacier hike. This is one of the easier lake hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. You spend very little time below the tree line, so the views are incredible for most of the hike. The summer gets very busy in the park. You’ll find that lots of the hikes on this list start along Glacier Gorge. These distinct but interconnected life zones support elk, moose, mule deer, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain lion and mountain goat among hundreds of animals: 15 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park 1. Gem Lake: A Great Hike Outside RMNP - See 124 traveler reviews, 179 candid photos, and great deals for Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, at Tripadvisor. If you have limited time, I recommend driving Trail Ridge Road and hiking Tombstone on day 1, Sky Pond on day 2, and then Chasm Lake or Hallet Peak or Mt. 43 degrees, 7:26am. As you ascend higher, the trees disappear, as you enter the subalpine region. It was founded back in 1915 in northern Colorado, north of Boulder, and the state’s capital Denver. This national park is known for its sightings of wildlife such as deer, moose, bison, birds, and, as the name suggests, elk. Rocky Mountain offers something for every hiker, from easy strolls to big mountain ascents. Don't like ads? Let us know in the comment section below. This is a wonderful hike to add onto your drive along Trail Ridge Road, and from the trailhead, it is just a 15-minute drive to the Alpine Visitor Center. For those with restriction of time, mobility or experience, a simple trek around a lake or meadow is a great way to experience the beauty of the park. Bear Lake Trailhead. All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. This trailhead is located just north of Estes Park. Ida By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List. Ida, and Tombstone Ridge are the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for your list. Some parts of the park may remain closed. Driftwood larger than Tucker At the time of this article being written, timed entry passes for the park are required from 6am-5pm. Length of Time: 4 to 7 hours This challenging hike starts at Bear Lake and rapidly gains elevation once you are on the Flattop Mountain Trail. From short, easy strolls around lakes, to ridgeline trails with panoramic views, to challenging but epic climbs to the tallest mountain peaks, there truly is something here for everyone. Difficulty: Strenuous Looking back at the Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Road. The hike up Deer Mountain is one of the easier hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that offers high mountain views. Distance: 10 miles It is literally full of wonders. For much of the hike you are walking along the Continental Divide. You’ll be glad you did. Difficulty: Strenuous Pets are prohibited on ALL Rocky Mountain National Park trails, tundra, and meadows. I'll link a picture of her below. Hiking is a popular activity in Rocky Mountain National Park. This park is one of the most well-known and well-traveled National Parks, and with VERY good reason. This hike has a little bit of everything…waterfalls, alpine lakes, high mountain views, and fun river and stream crossings. Top Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Trails: See reviews and photos of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado on Tripadvisor. Location: Poudre Lake/Milner Pass on Trail Ridge Road, 4.5 miles south of the Alpine Visitor Center, Learn More: How to Hike the Continental Divide Trail to Mt Ida. This is a great hike for almost all ages and ability levels. This is a great hike for newbie hikers who want to summit a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. For very little effort, the views you get are unbelievable. Glacier Gorge. Over 60 people have died attempting to summit Longs Peak. Location: Ute Trailhead on Trail Ridge Road, 7 miles east of the Alpine Visitor Center, Read More: How to Hike the Ute Trail to Tombstone Ridge. Rocky Mountain National Park has 355 miles of hiking trails. For about $1, you can purchase the interpretive guide at the trailhead, which takes you through 30 marked spots along the trail that teaches you about the Bear Lake area. Of course, you don’t have to hike all of the way to Emerald Lake. Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours Enjoy Trail Ridge Road, which crests over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds, along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. Location: Glacier Gorge parking lot on Bear Lake Road. Mt. The hike to Odessa Lake and onward to Fern Lake is a relatively low-traffic trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park is in many ways the heart of Colorado’s stunning rocky mountains. Gem Lake Emerald Lake Trail. Its nearby neighbors of Bear Lake, Emerald Lake, and Dream Lake get a lot more visitors, so if you are looking for a relatively uncrowded trail with the chance to visit multiple alpine lakes, this is a nice hike to consider. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sky Pond is one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for good reason. To get to Sky Pond, you will rock scramble up a waterfall, which can be refreshing when the weather is warm and downright cold in chilly conditions. Distance: 3.4 miles This schedule and map can be viewed here. But this is a tough hike. Home to towering Longs Peak (14,259′), which stands guard over the rest of the Park, Rocky Mountain is a Colorado hiking and backpacking paradise. This is a great hike for newbie hikers who want to summit a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. It also makes a nice acclimatization hike if you just arrived in Colorado and want to warm up your legs and cardio system, before tackling hikes like Chasm Lake, Flattop Mountain, or Mt. Bear Lake First, you will pass lovely Alberta Falls. It’s a big place, so to help you find your way, here are some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes. Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park is an absolutely WONDERFUL experience. Are there bears in Rocky Mountain National Park? This is the shortest, most popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Length of Time: 4 to 6 hours Hiking is one of my favorite and all-the-time go-to activities during my trip abroad. Alberta Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park. Yeah, neither do we, but it keeps the lights on. To get here, take Highway 7 south from Estes Park. Ida), Chasm Lake (another gorgeous lake hike), and Tombstone Ridge (it’s short, it’s easy, the views are amazing, and most people can handle this hike). Difficulty: Strenuous Distance: 0.6 miles round-trip See photos, reviews, and availability. Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park: On a Map. 20 Epic Day Hikes in the US National Parks, 15 Great Hikes to do in Big Bend National Park, The Complete Guide to Hiking the Zion Narrows, How to Hike the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, 14 Best Things to do in Acadia National Park, 10 Best Things to Do in Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary: 1 Day to 1 Week in RMNP, Gem Lake Hike, Rocky Mountain National Park, Nymph, Dream & Emerald Lake Hike (+ How to Add on Bear Lake & Lake Haiyaha). Our Rock Mountain National Park hiking tours include Colorado backpacking trips, porter and llama supported treks, a basecamp Rocky Mountain hiking tour, inn-based Colorado hiking tours, and Rocky Mountain National … Top Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking & Camping Tours: See reviews and photos of hiking & camping tours in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado on Tripadvisor. Location: Bear Lake Trailhead. Distance: 7.4 miles Ida. On the hike to Mt. Julie Last updated: December 23, 2020 United States 1 Comment. Glacier Gorge. At 14,259 feet, the only fourteener on this list, the trek up Longs Peak is one of the most epic hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. In the morning, this can be a beautiful place to watch the sunrise. If you have more than a few days in RMNP and need some “warm-up” hikes, good options are Emerald Lake, Deer Mountain, and Twin Sisters. 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