Rocky Mountain National Park spans 265,796 acres of delicate wilderness and majestic mountain views while boasting over 130 hiking trails. Hiking is one of the more popular activities visitors can partake in during their stay and with so many options to explore the choices are endless. Not sure where to start? Start with our list of the top hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Bear Lake Loop
This short 0.6-mile hike is a perfect trail for the novice hiker. With hardly any elevation gain, Bear Lake Loop is perfect for those looking for a leisurely mountain stroll. Dominating views of Bear Lake and Hallett Peak, mean you don’t have to venture far for picturesque mountain views. Unfortunately, you will be met with other people who had the same idea as you, so get there early to avoid major crowds.
Alpine Ridge Trail
A hop, skip, and a few huffs, is really is all it takes on this 0.6-mile hike up to the summit of 12,005 ft. Beginning at the Alpine Visitor Center, a very short hike up a paved path quickly gains an elevation of 200 ft. within just three-tenths of a mile. In the summer the alpine tundra is covered with colorful wildflowers making their appearance for the season.
Sprague Lake Loop
As one of the more popular hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake is not to be overlooked by its sister lakes. Sprague Lake Loop is a 0.9-mile highly trafficked loop around the lake. Take a moment to rest on one of the few benches located around the lake and gaze up at the cluster of peaks that make up part of the Continental Divide.
Cub Lake Loop
Don’t let the 6.4-mile length fool you, this is an easy hike with a moderate climb. Hike around Cub Lake and Fern Lake, which offer many vantage points with alluring views. If hiking in the fall, it is quite common to spot elk grazing in the meadows.
Emerald, Dream and Nymph Lake Trail
Just off the Bear Lake Trailhead, hikers have access to several more alpine lakes, such as Emerald Lake, Dream Lake, and Nymph Lake. A short walk from the Bear Lake Trailhead, this trail brings to life almost instant scenic gratification for hikers. Along the trail you will be treated to views of towering peaks including Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak, and Glacier Gorge, making this trail a favorite amongst most anyone you ask.
Lily Mountain Trail
Although not actually located within the park boundaries, Lily Mountain trail offers expansive views of the park. As a four-mile, out and back trail, it offers panoramic views of Twin Sisters Peak, Longs Peak, Hallett Peak, Flattop Mountain, and many more iconic peaks of Colorado.
Step outside the crowds and enjoy a peaceful hike in the serene backcountry of the Wild Basin southeastern side of the park. With countless waterfalls and cascades, Ouzel Falls hike in one of the best day-hikes to take advantage of. 5.5-miles out and back brings you to Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, ending at Ouzel Falls.
Starting at Glacier Gorge Trailhead, The Loch is a 5.7-mile, out and back hike that guides you to Alberta Falls, Mills and Black Lakes, and eventually leading you to Loch Vale (known as The Loch). Dominating views of Taylor Peak and Taylor Glacier sit across from the lake, which sits at a high 10,190 ft. in elevation.
Head out for a bit of a long stretch with the 11-mile hike to Chasm Lake. Starting at the Longs Peak Trailhead, arrive early to get a parking spot and to beat afternoon thunderstorms, as this hike will last a good portion of the day. Once at the lake basin, hikers will be able to take in views of Longs Peak, the highest peak in the Northern Range, toward the west.
Twin Sisters Peak
For astounding views of mountain summits like Longs Peak, Mt, Meeker, and Taylor Peak, head out on Twin Sisters Peak trail. The name comes from the twin peaks hikers encounter once they reach tree line. At a moderate distance of 7.5 miles, out and back, the challenge is added with an elevation gain of 2,516 ft.
Even in the summer, be prepared for harsh weather conditions on this mighty trek to Mount Ida. Starting at the Poudre Lake Trailhead, hikers will soon reach the open tundra after a few miles of hiking. Come prepared and start early as there is likely to be the unpredictable weather. Distance is 9.6 miles with 2,465 ft. in elevation gain.
With our accommodations, just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, book your stay at Brynwood on the River and start planning your Rocky Mountain hiking adventures today!