#4 of 40 Outdoor Activities in Rocky Mountain National Park "Bear Lake Trailhead is the starting point for many of RMNP’s most popular hikes including the easy 0.5 mile (0.8k) loop around Bear Lake, the 3.6 mile (5.8k) roundtrip hike to Emerald Lake that also passes by Nymp..." If you get to Flattop, do yourself a favor and do the extra little bit up to Hallett Peak. Pictures of Granite Falls... Because the trail disappears in the marshes of Long Meadows (it's swampy), it's termed by the Park Service a "cross-country experience". It should also be obvious that those fantastic hiking trails up to high mountain lakes and waterfalls will not be accessible. But with deep snow reported on the far end, we skipped the full loop in favor of a 3.5 mile out and back. ... A beautiful stream and pleasant scenery accompany hikers on this popular west side walk. Accessible. Below is a list of suggested hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Fascinatingly, of all Rocky Mountain National Park hikes, this is the only day hike that takes you from the east side to the west side of the park. The drive over Trail Ridge Road alone is worthy of any mountain-lover's bucket list.. The Green Mountain Trail once was a wagon road used to haul hay from Big Meadows. Here you’ll find Bear Lake, the Mummy Range, Wild Basin and Longs Peak. On the way there, you will pass Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park was once one of America’s most underrated national parks.This is most certainly no longer the case. The geology formations like The Sharkstooth combined with arguably the prettiest mountain lake, Lake of Glass, make this hike quite the content for best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since 2012, we have traveled the U.S. while living and working from our renovated 25-foot Airstream. Big Meadows is a sea of grasses and wild flowers rimmed by hills. Lone Pine Lake is past East Inlet meadows and Adams Falls on the East Inlet trail. The Onahu, Tonahutu, and Green Mountain trails intersect to form a circle route with a few steep sections of short duration. But that was early in the week and the strong sun must have done its job because, by the time we got there on Saturday, only a few piles of snow remained near the lake. Which turned out to be the perfect length for an after work hike. This trail ends at the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. But we managed to find three suitable west side trails to quench our desire for some rocky mountain hiking. Answer 1 of 3: Have half a day to visit the park on Sunday June 5th. Cascade Falls is 3.5 miles up this trail. 2 backcountry sites. You pass multiple beautiful lakes and waterfalls along the hike. Beautiful falls and views of surrounding peaks. The hike to Timber Lake travels through dense forest and crosses several creeks, and uses the flank of Jackstraw Mountain. Picnic tables. Look for moose (especially during the early morning and early evening hours), songbirds and wildflowers. ... Do's and Don'ts When Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park; Parika Lake lies outside of the park boundary and is one of the classic tundra lake hikes. 3 backcountry sites. 1 h 20 m This scenic hiking trail to Emerald Lake from the Bear Lake Trailhead is a popular route in Rocky Mountain National Park. No matter if you’re looking for a scenic lake […] I think we ended up hanging out by the river, soaking up the sun, and admiring the scenery for nearly an hour. Keep an eye out for moose. Pass through Summerland Park and North Inlet Meadow on the way to the falls. Hike length: 3.5 miles out-and-back The Bear Lake Road corridor, and the Bear Lake parking area in general, is the most popular place in Rocky Mountain National Park, according to park officials. Sky Pond. More on the Continental Divide trail... Flattop Mountain can be accessed from either side of the Park, thus provides a cross-park route from Estes Park to Grand Lake. Summit of Green Mtn is at 10,313 ft. Ida, and Tombstone Ridge are the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for your list. The remains of this short-lived town are scarce — there is reported to be an old cabin, some old mine shafts, and a few scattered artifacts. Best Easy Hikes in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park Coyote Valley — Region 1 - West Side, known for moose & big meadows South of Bowen/Baker and north of Onahu Creek trailheads on Hwy 34, about 5.6 mi. Even though the big meadow is rumored to be a good place to spot moose and elk, we only saw a single moose way, way on the other side of the meadow tucked up against some trees. It’s a big place, so to help you find your way, here are some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes. 2. This hike has become very popular but is very easy to see why. The hike to an 1800s mining camp called LuLu City is another easy, low-elevation trek that makes for a good choice early in the year. Follows an easy grade upstream on Tonahutu Creek after skirting the upper end of Big Meadows on the Tonahutu Creek Trail. Find out about up to the minute special offers. If you want to leave the crowds behind, Twin Sisters, Mt. I remember that Lone Pine Lake being a long one…but so pretty! A wide, roaring waterfall with great picnic spots on the flat rocks. Picturesque trail nestled among surrounding peaks including Flattop Mountain, you will pass Nymph Lake and Dream Lake before arriving at the majestic Emerald Lake. 1 backcountry site up Skeleton Gulch, and 2 near trail junction. Follow us on our crazy journey in search of beautiful scenery, fun adventures, interesting people, tasty foods, and more…, @2017 - PenciDesign. The hike is short and easy and one of the most scenic hikes in the park. Not much remains now, but this historic area is written up in a trail booklet available at visitor centers for a nominal price. 5.75 miles. Big Meadows Trail. The summit of Flattop Mountain, located 4.4 miles from the trailhead, lies on the Continental Divide Trail and offers fantastic panoramic views. For summer hiking, be sure to be down from mountain summits in the early afternoon to avoid summer thunderstorms. There was not many, and only a single one met the “hike to an alpine lake” criteria. Fortunately, the scenery along this trail is absolutely stunning and helped distract us from the lack of oxygen and relentless uphill climb. Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder. A long, gradual climb through thick forest to the lake. A quiet loop highlighted by Big Meadows. You’ll visit Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake along a scenic trail that offers views of Glacier Gorge, Flattop Mountain, and Hallett Peak. Rocky Mountain National Park. I saw a photo of the “lake” in the meadow near the start of the Lone Pine hike taken later in the year and it simply wasn’t there. All Right Reserved. Here are the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park of northern Colorado, USA based on their scenic beauty, the physical challenges and the overall hiking experience in the Rockies.. 210. ... Best Seller. Chapin, Mt. Spur trail off the CDT to a high mountain lake at the base of Andrews Peak. The trail follows a gentle grade along the Colorado River for nearly four miles before reaching the old town site. Bluebird Lake: Rounding out the top 10 hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park is Bluebird Lake. We saw none of that, but it didn’t really matter because the trail by itself was gorgeous with views of snow-capped Shiply Mountain following us nearly the whole way. After realizing how many of the trails were still not passable, we stopped by the visitor center where a helpful ranger highlighted a map with all the trails that were reported to be snow-free. It can be reached by either the Baker Gulch trail, or from just before Parika Lake by contouring NE to the Pass. The path is paved for the first 0.5 miles and provides excellent views of nearby peaks, including Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. With trail ridge closed should I go to the east or west side? Follows a gentle grade to the site of the old 1880's gold mining camp of Lulu City. Lake Nokoni is a glacial tarn surrounded by beautiful landscape, including great wildflowers. This 11-mile round-trip hike with 1,955 feet in elevation gain is not the hardest hike we’ve ever done, but the length combined with the high altitude (the lake resides at nearly 10,000 feet) and strong, hot sun really challenged us. 2 backcountry sites. The 30 miles of trail looping through RMNP pass through beautiful alpine tundra and scenery. Strollers permitted. The East Inlet Trail leads to Lone Pine Lake and subalpine forest before reaching the soggy ground around Lake Verna. The summer gets very busy in the park. Discover the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for all ages and experience levels to tackle on your adventure in Colorado. But sometimes, after spending the winter in Florida and the spring crossing the sweltering middle of the country, you forget about all that cold white stuff and just want to go hiking in the mountains. These five beginner hikes in the park are sure to please, as they provide both great scenery and easy terrain. It is interesting to see so much water in your meadow shots compared to when we were there. The ranger said the trail was snow-free to a mile before Lone Pine Lake. Past Lulu City, follow Lulu Creek to junction with Thunder Pass trail. It can be hiked as a  7+ mile loop by combining a few trails. All 3 of these pristine mountain lakes culminate the true beauty of the park – be sure to bring your camera! 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. This trail offers a barren and rocky landscape, and the last section is difficult to access. Bowen Pass is part of the Arapaho National Forest, and is a steep, short hike from Bowen Lake. The most popular walk in the Grand Lakes region - a short and easy stroll thru aspen and lodgepole pine forest, passing beautiful out-croppings of grey-black rock and river scenery. 5 backcountry sites along the Timber Lake trail. 0.6 mile. Learn how your comment data is processed. Pro Tip: The west side is the best side. With its expansive glacier-carved valleys, easily accessible tundra, abundant wildlife and thunderous waterfalls, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the American West's must-see places. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The east side of the park sees more visitors than the west. This easy hike wanders through the forest for a few miles before opening up to a large meadow circled by snow-capped mountains. This schedule and map can be viewed here. Emerald Lake is often regarded as the very best hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) operates a timely shuttle schedule in the summer. .9 mile beyond is the Little Yellowstone trail that heads to Poudre Pass near the north boundary of the Park, the Neota Wilderness, and Long Draw reservoir. Watch out for those sneaky tourists though. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which stretches north to south from Canada to Mexico, also travels through Rocky Mountain National Park. There was not many, and only a single one met the “hike to an alpine lake” criteria. The 9 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park to See Fall Colors During the fall, Northern Colorado turns green and gold (and no, we’re not just talking about CSU football). The trails on this list cater for people with a range of experience, so whether you are looking for a grueling, full-day trek or a pleasant stroll with unbeatable views, there will be something here for you. Elev. Amazing how all that snow melt really changes the landscape. But narrowing it down and finding an east hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that is also kid friendly can be a chore. Here are five hikes to consider for your visit: 1. It should be obvious that when you visit Rocky Mountain National Park at the beginning of June, there will still be snow in the higher elevations. Features educational exhibits along the trail. The first few miles of the trail were pretty crowded (the waterfall is a very popular spot for families) but as soon as we started climbing uphill we left the crowds behind. Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park can be quite challenging, and hiking a trail above your fitness level can make for a less than enjoyable day while out on the trail. Alberta Falls. Our Colorado front range, mountain towns and open spaces are famous destinations for foliage seekers thanks to our impressive groves of aspen trees. Rocky Mountain National Park Vacation and Travel Information, Photo Credits:  Michael Hodges, Jim Osterberg. From Nymph Lake, filled with water lilies, to the incredible views at Lake Haiyaha, each of … 6 Secret Places in Rocky Mountain National Park. Editor's note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rocky Mountain National Park is completing a phased reopening that began on May 27. This is the story of Tim & Amanda. ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK • At the trailheads on the west side of this national treasure, Henry David Thoreau is honored. The beginner hikes listed below are under five miles roundtrip and are considered fairly easy. It can be reached by either the Baker Gulch trail, or from just before Parika Lake by contouring NE to the Pass. Must be because all the other moose and elk were hanging out near the road where even the non-hikers could get a good look :). Make a left turn to follow the road all the way to the trailhead and parking lot. It then continues along the edge of east meadow before turning into the forest and beginning the ascent to the lake and beyond. But we managed to find three suitable west side trails to quench our desire for some rocky mountain hiking. Indeed, some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes can be found right near the town of Grand Lake. However, Bluebird Lake, which fills a deep cirque beneath Ouzel Peak along the Continental Divide, is definitely the star attraction. The trail passes through lodgepole pines and follows North Inlet Creek. Once used by stage coaches, Thunder Pass is now an excellent trail, with the Michigan Lakes beyond it a must see. The trail starts at Glacier Gorge Junction trailhead, and heads south, paralleling the creek. 2 backcountry sites. In the winter, an easy choice to test those skis or snowshoes. Some parts of the park may remain closed. There are plenty of photo worthy pull offs and short hikes along the way. Heads north, following the Colorado River to the Lulu City site. Reflections on Lake Irene on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, July 13, 2019. We’ll cover a few hidden gems on both the eastern and western side of Rocky Mountain National Park to find the perfect secluded hike during your next stay in the Rockies: Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls – Off the Wild Basin Trailhead is the easy 5.4-mile hike with stunning waterfall views. Branches south off of the Green Mountain trail through Big Meadows, and connects to the Kawuneeche VC. His quote is posted: “In wilderness is the preservation of the world …” With the crowds smaller here than on the east side, wilderness does seem more at hand. Mt. Nymph, Dream and Emerald Lake Hike: This beautiful route is one of the best hikes in the Rocky Mountain National Park, taking you to five stunning and unique lakes. If you prefer to drive take Old Fall River Road or Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center. Here in the heart of the Rockies, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Ida on day 3. Easy loop through the Kawuneechee Valley. This easy hike wanders through the forest for a few miles before opening up to a large meadow circled by snow-capped mountains. Makes a gentle ski tour in the winter. The entire Continental Divide National Scenic Trail corridor is approximately 3,100 miles (4,988 kilometers) long, from the Canadian border in Montana to the border of Mexico in New Mexico, ranging from 4,000 ft to over 13,000 ft in elevation. This is another outstanding hike that offers several attractions along its route, including three waterfalls. The rugged terrain of the lake hides the summit of Mount Ida. With more 355 miles of hiking trails there are a ton of options for hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park – from easy, flat lakeside strolls to VERY difficult mountain peak climbs. Rocky Mountain National Park is the obvious choice with 350 miles of trails. Baker Pass in the Never Summer Range crosses the Continental Divide into the Michigan River drainage to the west of Mount Nimbus. he trail follows the bank of the Colorado River with views of the Never Summer Mountains. Sure does feel good to be in the mountains. 3 backcountry sites. The lake contains a rock island that once housed a single lodgepole pine in a crack. When you reach the top you get views of the east and west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Below is a list of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park based on difficulty rating, and ranked from easiest to hardest hikes. This area has unique geological features, and resembles the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Glacier Gorge Jct. Hiking is the perfect way to experience Rocky Mountain National Park. Take a one minute vacation from your computer. Long, beautiful hike on a trail mostly used by backpackers. Designed and Developed by PenciDesign, Exploring Big Bend: Desert, Mountains, River. On the east side of the park lies the Beaver Meadows Entrance, the most direct entrance from Estes Park, which lies right outside Rocky Mountain National Park.An hour’s drive from Boulder and two hours from Denver, the lively Estes Park is the closest town to the park on the east side of the park. We’ve done every one of these hikes, just later in the summer. One of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, it can be quite crowded. 3 backcountry sites near the lake. Arguably the most popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Emerald Lake Trail is a relatively easy hike for all skill levels. After our “warm up” 8-mile hike to LuLu City we felt ready to tackle some elevation and find that alpine lake. Llamas allowed, but no other stock. 3 backcountry sites. Kawuneeche, the Arapaho word for coyote, was the name given to this gentle valley of the Upper Colorado River. It's hard to narrow it down, but here are a few ideal day hikes that will give you a great introduction to Rocky Mountain National Park. Visitation has … Hiking at these high elevations is not for the faint of heart! Eagle Cliff Mountain Trailhead: Moraine Park Museum Distance: 0.5 miles Difficulty: Easy What you’ll see: Views of the Continental D… Come take a hike! Like to do some moderate hikes. The East Inlet Trail starts on the edge of Grand Lake and follows a short trail up to Adam’s Falls. Gain 2389 ft. Baker Pass in the Never Summer Range crosses the Continental Divide into the Michigan River drainage to the west of Mount Nimbus. 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. Bear Lake Loop: Short 0.6-mile, family-friendly loop around Bear Lake in the heart of the park. How to get there: The most direct route is to take Highway 36, from Estes Park, to Bear Lake Road. 17 backcountry sites. 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. Watch for an early morning rainbow shining through the falls spray. north (east) of the Grand Lake Entrance Station. At the town site, we found a perfectly placed log next to the river to sit and take in the view while eating lunch. Length: 3.3 mi • Est. Guide to the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) Colorado. Glacier Creek thunders down this spectacular waterfall that ranks as one of the park's more popular hiking destinations. The trailhead, and ranked from easiest to hardest hikes fortunately, the Arapaho word for,! 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