During the 15+ miles of hiking, you will ascend more that 5,000 feet. This is the shortest, most popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. 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. Don't like ads? This hike has a little bit of everything…waterfalls, alpine lakes, high mountain views, and fun river and stream crossings. Once at the waterfall, you can explore the short trails along Glacier Creek to find your favorite view of the waterfall. Looking back at the Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Road. With waterfalls, abundant wildlife, pristine rivers and creeks, crystal clear lakes, tree-studded ridges, and soaring alpine peaks, there’s abundant world-class scenery to hold our attention. Difficulty: Strenuous You will get occasional glimpses of Longs Peak early on during the hike, but for the most part, you will have to wait until you reach the summit for the best views. This challenging hike starts at Bear Lake and rapidly gains elevation once you are on the Flattop Mountain Trail. 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. Nymph and Dream Lakes are beautiful, so you will have a wonderful hike if you choose to turn around at Dream Lake. Difficulty: Extremely difficult It was founded back in 1915 in northern Colorado, north of Boulder, and the state’s capital Denver. If this sounds like a hike you would like to do, it will take some planning and patience. Note: Many hikes start at or near Bear Lake: Emerald Lake, Lake Haiyaha, Sky Pond, Black Lake, Fern Lake, Flattop Mountain, and Hallett Peak. Julie Last updated: December 23, 2020 United States 1 Comment. Ida. Glacier Gorge. Ida, so you will really feel the altitude. Black Lake looks similar to Chasm Lake, as both of these alpine lakes are surrounded by jagged mountain peaks. On the Keyhole Route, the hike ends with some serious rock scrambling and lots of exposure. Location: Longs Peak Trailhead, which is located at the end of Longs Peak Road on the east side of RMNP. Sky Pond is one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for good reason. You also have the option to add on a fifth lake, Lake Haiyaha, making this hike a total of 6.2 miles. The ever changing views and trail conditions really keep this hike interesting. 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. Difficulty: Moderate However, it only runs daily from May 25-September 13. Difficulty: Easy to moderate 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 trail might be my favorite of all the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Difficulty: Moderate As an amazing day trip near Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a hiker’s paradise. Bear Lake Loop: Short 0.6-mile, family-friendly loop around Bear Lake in the heart of the park. Mt. These are the best places for couples seeking hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park: Which places provide the best hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park for travelers on a budget? Take advantage of the shuttle and park at the Park and Ride, and then shuttle up to the start at Bear Lake. Distance: 7.5 to 10 miles, depending on the route you choose Location: Glacier Gorge Trailhead on Bear Lake Road. Yes, the views from the summit are beautiful, but this hike is a bit boring at times since it is a constant uphill climb through a forest. Distance: 3.4 miles We provide detailed information on more than 80 hikes in the Rockies, including trail descriptions, photos, key features, difficulty ratings, maps and elevation profiles. With 355 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes make up a long, long list. Lake Helene and Two Rivers Lake. The hike to Odessa Lake and onward to Fern Lake is a relatively low-traffic trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. 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. For summer hiking, be sure to be down from mountain summits in the early afternoon to avoid summer thunderstorms. This is one of the easier lake hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. 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. This hike feels tough, a combination of the high elevation with the long stair climb. Distance: 9 miles Editor's note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rocky Mountain National Park is completing a phased reopening that began on May 27. But narrowing it down and finding an east hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that is also kid friendly can be a chore. Easy Hikes. Your email address will not be published. You spend very little time below the tree line, so the views are incredible for most of the hike. To learn more about Rocky Mountain National Park, visit www.nps.gov. This schedule and map can be viewed here. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc. The Emerald Lake hike is a family friendly hike and it also makes a great intro to hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. From Nymph Lake, filled with water lilies, to the incredible views at Lake Haiyaha, each of these lovely spots has its own character and unique beauty. It gets even better once you reach the summit of Mt. Get an ad-free experience, support The Outbound, and snag a bunch of other perks by subscribing for only $29.99/year. 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. Mills Lake. Alpine Ridge Trail Ida, you really feel like you are walking on top of the world. You’ll find that lots of the hikes on this list start along Glacier Gorge. They range from flat lakeside strolls to steep mountain peak climbs. On the way there, you will pass Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake. These five beginner hikes in the park are sure to please, as they provide both great scenery and easy terrain. On our way to the trailhead, we encountered a small herd of elk. 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.. Flattop Mountain & Hallett Peak You’ll be glad you did. By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List. 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. There are three ways to hike to Fern Lake. Alberta Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked to Odessa Lake and Fern Lake as an out-and-back hike from Bear Lake. Alberta Falls If you are looking for a short, easy hike with spectacular views of Rocky Mountain National Park, put this hike at the top of your list. But this is a tough hike. Test your hiking abilities in the 265,461 acre (107,428.3 hectare) Rocky Mountain National Park, USA. 1. However, if you want to hike a lower-traffic trail that is just a short drive from Estes Park, this is a nice one to consider. For the entire hike, you are walking along the alpine tundra, with unobstructed views of Longs Peak, Forest Canyon, and the Continental Divide. This is a great hike for almost all ages and ability levels. To get to the peak, it’s an almost constant uphill walk through an evergreen forest. However, it’s a great warm-up hike for those who want to do Hallett Peak or Longs Peak and it’s a great hike for those who are looking for a less crowded trail that offers great views of the area. Bluebird Lake. This is a tough fourteener and many people who attempt it never make it to the summit, turning around early because of storms or the difficult conditions. This is an essential hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a flat, beautiful easy walk in the park…literally. Emerald Lake is often regarded as the very best hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Which experiences are best for hiking trails 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. Continue for two more miles until you reach Black Lake. Length of Time: 10 to 15 hours They can provide advice about trails which are appropriate to different fitness and experience levels. Bear Lake, the heart of the East side - known for easy access with great views & lake hikes. The Emerald Lake hike is one of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Guide to the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) Colorado. 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. 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. The entire hike is less than a mile in length, making it great for all ages and ability levels. During this time, you get to enjoy panoramic views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Take your pick from 50 of the world's best travel adventures. Spend several days in the park, hiking the other trails, to acclimate yourself to the higher elevation. The summer gets very busy in the park. Location: Eastern Rocky Mountain National Park, near Lily Lake, Read More: How to Hike the Twin Sister Peak Trail. 522 reviews. This scenic hiking trail to Emerald Lake from the Bear Lake Trailhead is a popular route in Rocky Mountain National Park. 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. Rocky Mountain National Park - Ecology Rocky Mountain National Park ranges from 7,860' - 14,259' across 5 ecosystems and sub-systems. 15 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park 1. Hallett Peak is a good warm-up hike for those who plan to summit Longs Peak. Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park. There are numerous hiking trails across Rocky Mountain National Park, some of which are quite challenging. Emerald Lake hiking trail is inside of Rocky Mountain National Park near the town of Estes Park, Colorado. You are now standing at 12,718 feet, with 360° views, which makes this one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. 700. Longs Peak. Length of Time: 4 to 5 hours 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 you are staying in Estes Park, it is a 20-minute drive to get here. It is literally full of wonders. Chasm Lake is one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. 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. Not only is this a scenic walk around a lake, but this also can be a learning experience. It doesn’t take long until you get see amazing views of Longs Peak and Keyboard of the Winds. Glacier Gorge. Guide to the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) Colorado. 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). 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). Best time to visit: April to November. Expect lots of wind and cold temperatures, even during the summer months. Whether you're strolling around a peaceful lake trail or climbing a 14er, the perfect trail awaits! The hike here begins at Lumpy Ridge. 43 degrees, 7:26am. Bear Lake Distance: 10.4 miles Like Bear Lake, it is an easy hike to get here. Discover the best of the fall season in Colorado with these fall hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. If the parking lot is full, park in the large parking lot at the end of Bear Lake Road. Distance: 10 miles Hikes around Rocky Mountain National Park offer you the chance to experience the park at your own pace. Whether you're strolling around a peaceful lake trail or climbing a 14er, the perfect trail awaits! Length of Time: 30 minutes It’s a big place, so to help you find your way, here are some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes. The 11-mile Mills-Black-Frozen Lakes round-trip hike is considered by some to be “the most beautiful hike in the park.”. 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