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Best Fall Hiking Trails near Estes Park

Fall. That time of year when the air is crisp, cozy sweaters are needed and the trees become vibrant paintbrushes, coloring the scenes around us. One of the best places to see this colorful connection between the seasons is right here in Estes Park. So, grab that cozy sweater and head out on one of the best fall hiking trails near Estes Park. You and your camera will not be disappointed.


Stay at Brynwood on the River for quick access to these trails during your Estes Park vacation.


Gem Lake

Starting at the Lumpy Ridge trailhead, this 3.4-mile trail has it all; a lake, plentiful aspen groves and sweeping views of Estes Park and Longs Peak. If you choose to add on you can at Gem Lake; either to Balanced Rock Trail or Cow Creek Trail. To avoid crowds on this popular hike it is best to arrive as early as possible.


The Pool

No this is not your typical pool but rather where the Big Thompson River and Fern Creek meet at the end of the hike. Follow the rushing sounds of the Big Thompson as you gaze up at the whispering yellow aspens on this 3.4-mile trail.

image of big thompson river near Estes Park

Estes Cone

At the Long’s Peak Trailhead, the hike to Estes Cone is 6.5 miles round trip, with most of the hike in lower elevation. Hikers will encounter varied terrain such as pine forests and of course colorful aspen groves, ideal for all leaf peepers alike. The trail makes you work for it with a short steep section at the end, but hikers are quickly rewarded with views of Long’s Peak, Mt. Meeker, and the Continental Divide.


Mills Lake

Also located inside Rocky Mountain National Park is the 5.3-mile moderate trail to Mills Lake. Start at Glacier Gorge Trailhead and head past the turnoff for Bear Lake. Less than a mile in hikers will encounter Alberta Falls. Though a major draw in the spring and summer, this hike gains attention in the fall with the colorful aspen groves that surround it. 

Sprague Lake

Located inside Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake is one of the most popular hikes in the park. This easy 0.9-mile walk around the lake offers instant gratification for hikers with views of mountain peaks, endless aspen groves and a lake as its centerpiece. Due to its popularity, this is another hike that is best to get there early if you want to beat the crowds.

image of fall trees at Sprague Lake

Ouzel Falls

Beginning at the remote Wild Basin Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park is the trail to Ouzel Falls. Along the way hikers will pass Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades, all the while walking through a canopy of painted yellow and orange aspen trees.


For even more suggested fall hikes near Estes Park, visit the Rocky Mountain National Park’s website.


There are many things to do in Estes Park in the fall so when booking your stay consider Brynwood on the River. Where guests can enjoy budget-friendly accommodations and with our proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park your hiking adventures are not far away!