This trail offers a barren and rocky landscape, and the last section is difficult to access. Look for moose (especially during the early morning and early evening hours), songbirds and wildflowers. I think we ended up hanging out by the river, soaking up the sun, and admiring the scenery for nearly an hour. Arguably the most popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Emerald Lake Trail is a relatively easy hike for all skill levels. Like to do some moderate hikes. But with deep snow reported on the far end, we skipped the full loop in favor of a 3.5 mile out and back. Rocky Mountain National Park Vacation and Travel Information, Photo Credits:  Michael Hodges, Jim Osterberg. 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. 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. 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. Once used by stage coaches, Thunder Pass is now an excellent trail, with the Michigan Lakes beyond it a must see. Learn how your comment data is processed. One of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, it can be quite crowded. 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. This easy hike wanders through the forest for a few miles before opening up to a large meadow circled by snow-capped mountains. Hiking is the perfect way to experience Rocky Mountain National Park. Makes a gentle ski tour in the winter. Come take a hike! 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. Indeed, some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes can be found right near the town of Grand Lake. Follows a gentle grade to the site of the old 1880's gold mining camp of Lulu City. 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. Rocky Mountain National Park was once one of America’s most underrated national parks.This is most certainly no longer the case. 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. From Nymph Lake, filled with water lilies, to the incredible views at Lake Haiyaha, each of … he trail follows the bank of the Colorado River with views of the Never Summer Mountains. This trail ends at the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. These five beginner hikes in the park are sure to please, as they provide both great scenery and easy terrain. The trail passes through lodgepole pines and follows North Inlet Creek. The lake contains a rock island that once housed a single lodgepole pine in a crack. 3 backcountry sites near the lake. Parika Lake lies outside of the park boundary and is one of the classic tundra lake hikes. 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. Visitation has … 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. It can be hiked as a  7+ mile loop by combining a few trails. Below is a list of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park based on difficulty rating, and ranked from easiest to hardest hikes. 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. The hike is short and easy and one of the most scenic hikes in the park. The rugged terrain of the lake hides the summit of Mount Ida. Find out about up to the minute special offers. Heads north, following the Colorado River to the Lulu City site. Llamas allowed, but no other stock. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which stretches north to south from Canada to Mexico, also travels through Rocky Mountain National Park. Which turned out to be the perfect length for an after work hike. Take a one minute vacation from your computer. 2. Fortunately, the scenery along this trail is absolutely stunning and helped distract us from the lack of oxygen and relentless uphill climb. Glacier Creek thunders down this spectacular waterfall that ranks as one of the park's more popular hiking destinations. Below is a list of suggested hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is interesting to see so much water in your meadow shots compared to when we were there. 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. Alberta Falls. We’ve done every one of these hikes, just later in the summer. Branches south off of the Green Mountain trail through Big Meadows, and connects to the Kawuneeche VC. Sure does feel good to be in the mountains. How to get there: The most direct route is to take Highway 36, from Estes Park, to Bear Lake Road. #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..." 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. You pass multiple beautiful lakes and waterfalls along the hike. Cascade Falls is 3.5 miles up this trail. The summit of Flattop Mountain, located 4.4 miles from the trailhead, lies on the Continental Divide Trail and offers fantastic panoramic views. All Right Reserved. No matter if you’re looking for a scenic lake […] Easy loop through the Kawuneechee Valley. 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. It can be reached by either the Baker Gulch trail, or from just before Parika Lake by contouring NE to the Pass. If you want to leave the crowds behind, Twin Sisters, Mt. 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". 2 backcountry sites. 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. After our “warm up” 8-mile hike to LuLu City we felt ready to tackle some elevation and find that alpine lake. Reflections on Lake Irene on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, July 13, 2019. 17 backcountry sites. It then continues along the edge of east meadow before turning into the forest and beginning the ascent to the lake and beyond. The East Inlet Trail starts on the edge of Grand Lake and follows a short trail up to Adam’s Falls. 5 backcountry sites along the Timber Lake trail. Sky Pond. Discover the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for all ages and experience levels to tackle on your adventure in Colorado. The beginner hikes listed below are under five miles roundtrip and are considered fairly easy. Ida on day 3. 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. Eagle Cliff Mountain Trailhead: Moraine Park Museum Distance: 0.5 miles Difficulty: Easy What you’ll see: Views of the Continental D… The trail follows a gentle grade along the Colorado River for nearly four miles before reaching the old town site. Rocky Mountain National Park. Length: 3.3 mi • Est. Some parts of the park may remain closed. Bear Lake Loop: Short 0.6-mile, family-friendly loop around Bear Lake in the heart of the park. This is another outstanding hike that offers several attractions along its route, including three waterfalls. 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. It’s a big place, so to help you find your way, here are some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes. This hike has become very popular but is very easy to see why. There are plenty of photo worthy pull offs and short hikes along the way. Guide to the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) Colorado. 2 backcountry sites. Beautiful falls and views of surrounding peaks. 210. Elev. 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. The path is paved for the first 0.5 miles and provides excellent views of nearby peaks, including Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. 2 backcountry sites. The drive over Trail Ridge Road alone is worthy of any mountain-lover's bucket list.. Follow us on our crazy journey in search of beautiful scenery, fun adventures, interesting people, tasty foods, and more…, @2017 - PenciDesign. Hiking at these high elevations is not for the faint of heart! Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder. There was not many, and only a single one met the “hike to an alpine lake” criteria. 3 backcountry sites. 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 :). 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. 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. 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. Big Meadows Trail. But we managed to find three suitable west side trails to quench our desire for some rocky mountain hiking. Baker Pass in the Never Summer Range crosses the Continental Divide into the Michigan River drainage to the west of Mount Nimbus. .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. Ages and experience levels to tackle some elevation and find that alpine Lake ” criteria rainbow shining through forest... 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