Why you should go: Enjoy a thick forest scene, great vistas, and amazing views at the top of this popular trail. Cairns and survey tape can be found in spots by previous hikers to aid in finding the way. If you have hiked in the northern Colorado area before, you’ve probably been warned about frequent afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months. Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park, near Allenspark, Colorado, on May 25, 2018. This gain brings you high into the Rockies and provides vast 360-degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park, Big Thompson Canyon, the Cache La Poudre Canyon, and the meadows below. Lily Lake has a short, mellow trail that loops around the lake. After a long day of hiking, enjoy a burger (or gyro) at Boss Burgers & Gyros. But for anyone who is looking for safe hiking options that are outside of the park, there are hundreds of trails to choose from. It's no surprise that Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular parks in the country. To access the 1/2 mile loop hike around Sprague Lake, cross the bridge near the parking area. Chasm Lake is a 9.5-mile hike with over 2,500 feet of elevation gain. Why you should go: What better way to find some solitude than in a place called Hermit Park? Located south of Estes Park in Rocky Mountain National Park, this trail is easy to access directly along Highway 7. Even when you are in town you can enjoy a leisurely nature walk around Lake Estes. More popular among rock climbers than hikers, this trail is a lightly traveled local secret. The trail gains 1,000 feet in elevation with the highest point of the hike being 8,860 feet. Boulder Hardwood Flooring provides... Find the top appliances from Frigidaire, Maytag and Whirlpool right now at J. Day’s Appliance in Loveland! It has since been mostly restored, but the trail can be difficult to find at times, especially in snow. The Bulwark Ridge and Indian Trails will take you to Miller Fork Trail which will then take you to Donner Pass. You will enjoy great amenities, like a playground,... Are you remodeling your home? Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. Hike up through thick forest, listen to trickling waterfalls, then walk through high alpine meadows until you find yourself at the famous Walker and Griffith homesteads. These bears live close to humans and are pretty comfortable with being close to us; that doesn’t mean you should take a selfie with them. One of the most common mistakes made by hikers this time of year is not preparing for the elements. Parking for this trail can be tricky. Bierstadt Lake Trail. Although not in the park, Lily Mountain appears in the official park map. The hike to Calypso Cascades is a beginner hike that offers impressive views of a cascading waterfall. – Lily Lake: This easy, 0.8-mile hike is located at the Lily Lake Trailhead near Estes Park. This level, fully accessible trail with a parking lot is perfect to take young ones as it gently meanders around the lake. Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. Sprague Lake is a 13-acre lake named after Abner Sprague, an early resident of the Estes Park area who ran a game lodge on the this property which is now part of Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is frozen right now and can be carefully walked on. Expect some scramble as you approach the summit. This trail is in Roosevelt National Forest, so it is open year-round and is a popular winter trail here if you have micro-spikes or something similar. It was breathtaking.”. Short hikes, Tundra hikes – Throughout RMNP there are scenic overlooks, parks and picnic areas that have short hiking trails to walk on. Hiking safety and popular trails outside RMNP, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Trail Ridge Road Closes To Through Travel For The Season, Some help is on the way for small businesses, View from the top of the Estes Cone in Rocky Mountain National Park — VIDEO, Inside Arts: Local author James Kaiser combines writing and photography. Estes Park: the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park is a small mountain town packed with history and charm. To avoid getting caught in a thunderstorm, the easiest solution is to begin your hike in the early morning, so you are hiking out by the time these storms have a chance to show up. Meeker and Longs Peak, the two highest peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. Lumpy Ridge is a massive granite rock outcropping just to the north of Estes Park. Views at the top will make for great sunrise/sunset hikes, and the wildflowers during the spring and summer months are certainly a sight to see. Some that I recommend are Hidden Valley, Alluvial Fan, Moraine Park, and the Tundra Trails near the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. A new wood floor will transform the interior like nothing else. If you'd like to hike with your pets, there are nearby trails outside Rocky Mountain National Park, including trails in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, multi-use trails around the Town of Estes Park… Dogs, unfortunately, are not allowed on trails. If you’re looking to trade in the sleeping bag for a king size bed, then take a look at our top picks for the best glamping in Colorado. J Day’s Appliance... Tyler is the Trail-Gazette's managing editor. 2.5 mi. Note: this list is not comprehensive. “These are pretty important and that’s what a lot of people have failed to do that have got in trouble and then didn’t get rescued because nobody knew where they were at.”. Through Black Canyon, descend into Cow Creek lined with thick aspen groves, and continue on to gain views of the distant Mummy Range and Mount Ypsilon. Some homesteads were burnt down in wildfires over the years, but most remain. While this paved trail isn’t the most extreme or doesn’t take you up an iconic summit, Lake Estes still makes the cut for this article because it’s just fun. A pass is needed for accessing any of the trails in the park and dogs are not allowed. Alberta Falls Alberta Falls in Estes Park, CO. Photo: Bert Cash Alberta Falls is reached by a short, 0.8 mile hike on a gentle, easy trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.This spectacular waterfall on Glacier Creek is one of the most popular hiking spots in the park. Based on many years of hiking throughout the park we've developed a list of our personal favorite top ten hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Old Fall River Road is a one-way dirt road that winds all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center. Another important precaution that can save lives: don’t be afraid to turn around. Lily Mountain Trail. Additional forest access can be found at Hermit Park Open Space (entrance fees apply); and the Lily Mountain Trailhead, 5.8 miles south of town along Highway 7. The apartment you’ve been looking for in Boulder is at Habitat Apartments! It gains 990 feet in elevation with the highest elevation point being 8,815 feet. “A lot of people, especially tourists, think that it’s a lot more straightforward than it actually is. – Gem Lake: This moderate, 3.5-mile round trip hike begins at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead along Devils Gulch Road. Here are the best waterfalls near RMNP and Estes Park, CO, in no particular order:. Emerald Lake Hike Rocky Mountain National Park. It provides spectacular views of Longs Peak and the Estes Park valley. Sprague Lake. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. Nate Protsnan, an employee at the Estes Park Mountain Shop, said that this is one of the main mistakes hikers make, especially tourists who aren’t familiar with the area. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. Lake Estes. Cow Creek trailhead is near the historic McGraw Ranch, at the end of McGraw Ranch Road, which can be found north of Estes Park off Devils Gulch Road (Limited parking). President Trump says he will not attend inauguration of President-elect Biden, Guest Op Eds: Current state of EPH Living Center alternatives evaluation, U.S. unemployment claims slip to still-high 787,000, Colorado Rep. Jason Crow recounts being trapped in House chamber as pro-Trump mob attacks Capitol, Jeep of woman thought to be missing in RMNP found near Poudre Canyon, VIDEO OF THE DAY: Geese flock on Lakes Estes, TIME LAPSE VIDEO: Clouds roll over RMNP peaks in winter, Video of the Week: SOUND ON- The undisturbed wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, RMNP announces winter pile burning operations on both sides of Park, Brought to you by Prairie Mountain Publishing, Photo Gallary of the week - Winter in RMNP, Inside People: Dr. Zehr is new EPH Chief of Staff, Video: Congressman Neguse issues statement on today’s breach of the U.S. Capitol, Larimer County still seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, Colorado unemployment FAQ: How to apply, details about missing PINs and more. We suggest trying these trails out: Lily Lake: The Lily Lake Trail encircles the pristine Lily Lake for 0.8 miles with very little grade, or incline. If you plan to do any of these hikes, lookup trail information online and know what equipment and clothing you need before embarking on them. Trails below 8,700 feet (2,700 m) make great winter hikes, sometimes without the aid of skis or snow shoes. 1. Enjoy the pleasantries, because after these meadows, you’ll be heading straight up a few steep sections through a forested mountain up to Kruger Rock.The view at the top will absolutely be worth the haul. Photo: Brendan Bombaci. Quite often I think about how fortunate I was to grow up near to such a beautiful place. This hike can be completed all year long, but requires the use of snowshoes and possibly crampons in the winter months. Hike .8 mi at elevation 8,690’ Iconic views across the lake of the Continental Divide peaks above Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National ... Bear Lake. Tips: Download the Rocky Mountain National Park Map (pdf), for a helpful overview and be sure to check the Shuttle Bus Route to get around if needed. Moose are also very abundant in this area and are known to become aggressive when they feel threatened. You won’t find the Lost Dutchman’s gold, but you will get luminous views of Weaver’s Needle, Four Peaks, Battleship Mountain and Canyon Lake. The Walker and Griffith homesteads and cabins will be the first that you come to; you can go further and find the Irvin homestead and sawmill, Laycock, Hill, and Boren Homesteads. Cub Lake. It is open to vehicles seasonally. “Any entry to the park during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk,” said Rocky Mountain National Park Public Information Officer Kyle Patterson in a statement following the shutdown. The weather could be really nice and sunny in town, but a couple thousand feet in elevation change could make for blizzard conditions. There are plenty of lodging options in Estes Park, but renting a cabin is the way to go for a truly authentic Rocky Mountain experience. 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. Emerald Lake is one of the most accessible hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since this trail does take you into Rocky Mountain National Park, you will have to follow Park rules. “Be familiar with where you’re going, don’t go alone and let somebody know where you’re going,” he said. The mountain will always be there, and if the trail is questionable, it’s OK to turn around and try again another time. The hike gains 1,180 feet in elevation with the highest point being 9,786 feet. More in the need of a classic cocktail? Veteran and new visitors alike can use this tool as a starting point in trying to decide where to hike during your upcoming visit. Backpacking or dispersed camping along this trail will also require a Parks camping permit and reservation that can be obtained here. Special OP/Ed - What exactly is the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nymph Lake. Why you should go: Experience true solitude and adventure on this all-encompassing loop that takes you through Rocky Mountain National Park’s untouched northeast corner. The Gem Lake Trail is a relatively short hike that starts just outside the town of Estes Park. Climb through aspen and pine to reach the beautiful views of Estes Park and the majestic peaks of RMNP. then L on McGraw Ranch Rd. This trail can receive horrible weather all year round. This park does close in the winter due to seasonal moose and deer migrations. The “free-entry” aspect is what makes this area popular among climbers, but they leave the trail after the first 3-4 miles to scramble up to the rock faces. Here’s our list of the top hikes in RMNP if you’re just looking for in-park options. This trail is quite shady and great for hot summer days. Now do keep in mind that the trailhead to this beginner hike is about 13 miles from Estes Park at the southeast corner of the park at the Wild Basin Trailhead. I’m a Scientist and I plan on Taking a COVID Vaccine: Here’s Why. This infamous hotel is said to have inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining,” and is one of the top places to visit during your stay in Estes Park. Be sure to pause at the bridge to look for trout. Find the best hiking and backpacking underwear options for men, including one brand the author hiked in for 3,000 miles. If you want a trail that has it all, Cub Lake is a great option. I did a lot of hiking on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Best hiked in March-September, Lily Mountain Trail is a great way to start or end a day exploring Estes Park. It's a great destination to bring the family and those who aren't familiar with hiking in the snow. Kruger Rock. Know your limits and the equipment you have. No matter where you end up adventuring in Estes Park, please enjoy, be safe, and practice Leave No Trace principles! Boulder Brook to Granite Pass to Storm Pass, past the Estes Cone. The Estes Park Visitor Center is also right along this pathway, so take some time to stop in! Why you should go: Go back in time as you hike up through pristine alpine country to the remains of 8 homesteads that date back to 1889. Our favorite hikes include everything from family-friendly trails to challenging summit attempts, offering a scenic feast of high-altitude lakes, waterfalls, and of course, spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. This hike is very manageable for hikers of all ages and experience levels. Bierstadt Lake is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or afternoon snack before your hike back. Dog Friendly Hikes near Estes Park, Colorado. There is a trailhead named Miller Creek/Fork Trailhead that is where this trail begins; but currently, you can’t park at this trailhead unless you have a resident pass. The trail crosses this creek several times, so come prepared with waterproof hiking shoes or Chacos! But be prepared, this trail gets fairly steep towards the end. Not only do you get to visit a pretty lake but you also get sweeping views of Estes Park with Longs Peak in the distance. The steep elevation gain is what deters most people, but don’t be discouraged! Located just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in the Roosevelt National Forest, Lily Mountain is one of the few dog-friendly hikes in the area and is included on RMNP trail maps. Lumpy Ridge – Twin Owls Loop. These experiences are best for hiking trails in Estes Park: Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver; Private Hiking Tour to Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder Best traveled between May and October, the Donner Pass Trail is a lightly trafficked out-and-back trail. Homestead Meadows is now home to many moose and elk herds that just love roaming through this tucked away alpine wonder. With mountain views, a pristine lake, wildflowers, and wildlife we’re not ... Lily Mountain. While viewing wildlife might be your reason to travel to Estes Park and hike, always be cautious and keep your distance. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. And when in doubt, head out! With several people having gone missing in the park just this year alone and with limited emergency services currently operating, it’s more important than ever to be careful, said Charley Dickey, the president of the Estes Valley Partners for Commerce. After guiding several trips through the Western Slope Desert, Daniell fell in love with climbing desert towers and overnight canoe trips down the Colorado River. This loop trail is short on the mileage, but all of the potential side hikes make the distance and difficulty of the trip extremely variable. The hike follows a creek through Lion Gulch then ascends and brings you up to Homestead Meadows. A map and compass is highly recommended on this trail. I was such a lucky kid to have many memories hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park and other areas near Estes Park, Colorado. With its spellbinding coastal views and funky bohemian history, it’s impossible not to be charmed by the woodsy quirks and forested mountains of Big Sur. You can even fish around Lake Estes! With the risk of going missing or getting injured while hiking in the park being marginally increased with the lack of emergency services operating right now, those that do choose to enter the park are encouraged to take the above precautions into account. She has had the privilege of working for Colorado’s most experienced climbing guide service as an Office & Marketing Manager and an Outdoor Climbing Guide. A pass is needed for accessing any of the trails in the park and dogs are not allowed. As part of the Hermit Park open space, the hike to Kruger Rock is spectacular and one of our favorite accessible hikes outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. R off US34 on MacGregor Ave. 3.5 mi. This is my type of hiking. Estes Park is packed with its own epic trails and peaks. Allowing you to find yourself some complete mountain solitude on this trail. Sign up for our free email to join thousands of readers getting epic travel, hiking, camping and gear ideas every week. Hikers can get their feet wet and learn their own program and equipment which will help them stay on the trail and be safe doing so. Daniell is a freelance writer based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. From the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, you’ll ascend the southeastern portion of Lumpy Ridge — a giant granite rock outcropping sculpted by 1.8 billion years of wind and water erosion. Lake Irene. Winter brings deep snows to Rocky Mountain National Park west of the Continental Divide, but the lighter snowfall on the east (Estes Park) side of the park often leaves low elevation trails open for hiking. There is a small entrance fee you will have to pay, and dogs are allowed in the park on leash. Moose especially love this lakeside spot to search for food. Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. Gem Lake is a short but strenuous hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Explore an adventure playground full of 14ers, alpine lakes, and over 300 miles of trails. Bierstadt Lake offers amazing alpine lake views and abundant chances to see wildlife up close without venturing too far. Both Dickey and Protsnan said that there should never be any shame in asking someone who is more experienced for help and advice. Gem Lake is on the north side of Estes Park … With campsites deep in the Rocky Mountains, camping here will provide ample solitude and recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. While it is always important to check the weather before you leave for a hike, unfortunately weather forecasts don’t mean a whole lot in Colorado. Dogs are allowed (on leash) on this trail. The elevation gain is just 10 feet, with the highest elevation point being 8,940 feet. Dickey has summited every 14er in the state at least twice and has bagged over 500 peaks in total. These were my favorites: 1. And as always, please practice Leave No Trace Principles while on the trails of this beautiful Colorado mountain town! This trailhead is free to park and enter, but it is just a small pull-off on Highway 7 so parking can be limited. Kruger Rock Trail. This hike features sweeping fields of wildflowers in the spring. The 7 Best Hikes in Estes Park, Colorado. Keep your distance, use the zoom on your camera if you want a picture, then move along. Check out the Stanley Hotel. Some parts of the trail are icy right now, but with a little caution, it’s an easy trail to navigate even without microspikes. Not only have wildfires damaged homesteads in this area, but the trail was also taken out in 2013 by flooding and was reopened in 2017. The homesteads are well marked with information plaques, and you will see markers to other homesteads down shorter trails. You must go down Dunraven-Glade Road and park at the Dunraven Trailhead. If you are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, I encourage you to explore outside the park as well! Kruger Rock Trail is an out-and-back trail that is very popular among locals. Why you should go: Hike up to one of the most accessible alpine lakes in the Estes Park area! – Bridal Veil Falls: This 6.2 mile round trip trail is located at the Cow Creek Trailhead near the Northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. Parking and entering is free, and dogs are allowed on leash in the area. See why our list of the trails in the country the interior like nothing else to become aggressive they! Trail – it is a small pull-off on Highway 7 so parking can be limited we May commissions! The area state at least twice and has bagged over 500 peaks in.... Official Park map cremation options spot to search for food, fully accessible with. Up to the alpine Visitor Center is also right along this pathway, so take some time stop... 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