hiking

views

no dogs

wildlife

forest

wild flowers

nature trips

walking

birding

lake

river

waterfall

snowshoeing

trail running

horseback riding

kid friendly

camping

backpacking

fishing

cross country skiing

partially paved

rock climbing

wheelchair friendly

stroller friendly

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in north-central Colorado contains some of the most popular hiking trails in North America. Situated between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake, the park hosts 76 mountains over 10 thousand feet high within its 412 square miles. The national park service runs five visitor centers with the headquarters at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center— just off highway 36 in Estes Park. In addition to amazing hikes, the park has some great scenic drives, including Trail Ridge Road, which takes visitors along the continental divide on the highest paved road in the country, and Old Fall River Road, a challenging dirt road that takes you to the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass - the highest national park visitor center in the United States at almost 11,800 ft. The park has four distinct ecosystems: montane, subalpine, alpine tundra, and riparian where lucky visitors can see wildlife such as mule deer, bighorn sheep and cougars. The high country of the park features many crystal clear alpine lakes, fantastic summits, and stunning views. The Estes Park Shuttle provides service from Denver International Airport to downtown Estes Park, and many shuttles run between the various trailheads, the Moraine Park Visitor Center and even the Glacier Basin Campgrounds. Many visitors use Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge as their starting point into the park.

hiking
closed
22 hours ago

The road was closed about a mile from the trail head but we expected that. It was such a great hike! Definitely dress warm for this time of year and bring good snow shoes. The water was beautiful through the ice and thick trees! I am so excited to see this place in the spring and summer!

hiking
2 days ago

Great weather yesterday at Chasm Lake! micro spikes from trailhead to lake and I was glad to have my ice axe for the last half mile. Be careful and enjoy!

A beautiful peaceful day on the trail. The trail was snow packed so no need for snowshoes even after freshly fallen snow 2 days prior. Parking is a challenge since the lot has not been plowed due to the furlough :0(. Could not make it to calypso cascades since the trail disappeared shortly after the “Y”. Therefore backtracked and went to Finch Lake instead. I was the only soul on the trail today. Of course it is Monday. Beautiful views of Mt Meeker and Longs about half way up. Sweet little creek crossing that had amazing ice crystals

hiking
2 days ago

Did this hike in mid November and it was amazing. We got hit by a decent amount of snow throughout the entire hike which just added to it. The silence walking on Dream Lake with nothing but the snow falling was stunning! Definitely rent spikes.

trail for the most part was clear and easy to complete. Nice relaxing hike

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful trail, outside of RMNP gates. First visit 1/13/19 - snow on most of the trail, well packed and well traveled. Sunny skies and warm rocks to relax on. I left my snowshoes in the car - a few slippery spots where crampons would be helpful but not bad. Lake frozen solid. Well maintained trail allowed for trail running on the way down.

hiking
4 days ago

Broke a new trail past the ridge to the lake after the most recent snow. Definitely slick and exposed, but manageable with microspikes. Beautiful winter hike!

hiking
5 days ago

Great day out. Very few people, but trail was well packed. Boots and microspikes all the way to the lake, but snowshoes to cross the lake as the margins are pretty wet and soft.

on Emerald Lake Trail

5 days ago

I tried to go there today but the road is closed during government shutdown

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike with beautiful views along the way. Steady increase the entire way up. There were all ages and levels of experience doing this hike. As others have mentioned, a few slick spots but I was able to get up and down easily without microspikes.

hiking
5 days ago

We were there on 1/9. The trail had some slick spots but we were able to conquer it without microspikes and they probably aren’t needed since most of the trail was dry. The lake was frozen over and absolutely beautiful. Due to the government shut down, the garbage cans at the trailhead had a bag taped over them. The bathrooms were also closed. There is an outhouse near the top, be sure to bring some toilet paper with you!

Hiked Sunday January 13th

Trail is packed snow. We wore microspikes as did most others we saw. The last half mile is a little less packed but not worth bringing snowshoes for. The parking lot was nearly empty around 9 AM but completely full upon our return in early afternoon.

hiking
6 days ago

Surprisingly good short hike that we could access before the RMNP road closures. Did it in boots. A few spots micro spikes may have been nice but definitely not needed for today’s conditions. 1/12.

Hiked/trail ran this 1/10/19. Snow is mostly packed so microspikes recommended, although I think more snow is changing that today. You’re in the trees with occasional peeks of Longs etc and more at the path were the flood came through. It’s fairly steady steepness in the switchback until the last mile before the saddle & then it has a few more fluctuation in flat/steep sections near the tree line & scrambles at the top. From the parking lot, it was about 3.5ish miles to the saddle between the twin sisters. I went to the West most sister first since it’s not much scrambling to get up there. Just rock scrambled up the other side. The tops are somewhat jagged/uneven & narrow so go cautiously, especially in windy conditions. Beautiful views though! I stopped to take a lot of photos but I left my car about 11:35 and got back at 3:58 (after running sections on the way down).

hiking
7 days ago

Easy loop trail. The lake is frozen so it was very beautiful from the upper ridge. Steep climb when you go to the right first initially but short lived.

A must do

Great trail, it's mostly uphill at first so that was exhausting but felt alot better coming back down. There was lots of snow and a couple of trees down on the trail, but thats nothing to hold against the trail since the parks have been running on bare bone with the goverment shutdown. The trail itself had great views and the lake was frozen.

hiking
10 days ago

Did this hike a couple days ago due to RMNP being closed. Not nearly enough snow for snowshoes but the trail was packed snow and ice pretty much the whole way so microspikes are highly recommended. Consistently steep pretty much the whole way. The last mile or so is completely exposed so be sure to pack some layers as the weather at the top can be drastically different than the bottom. Views from the top make the effort worth it!

on Ouzel Falls Trail

hiking
10 days ago

Quite possibly my favorite hike. The river was so full you could feel the power of the water rushing by. At points the water is overhead. Just amazing.

Late review. We went late summer 2017.

hiking
11 days ago

Snow packed, well used, and a bit of ice so ice spikes were definitely helpful. Nice hike. Some nice scenery along the way.

Hiked this trail in mid-September. Probably my most favorite trail ever. Well worth the scramble up the waterfall. Spectacular lakes set in a backdrop of towering mountains. And the colors were amazing. Definitely worth the effort to get there. Make sure to take the time to stop and enjoy the many views.

hiking
11 days ago

In this side of the park, Alberta Falls is the entrance location to most trails. It’s very pretty, but there’s definitely a lot of foot traffic.

Whenever I go hiking, I zoom right by because there’s always so many people. The further back you get into the mountains, there’s (obviously) less and less people.

It’s pretty, but if you’re not into touristy, I’d stray.

nice hike, mostly dry on 1/6.

Super dope Hike! A little snow still on the ground but still amazing visual hike. Plenty of places to stop and take some great pics. The lake is frozen at this time but still awesome visually.

hiking
12 days ago

This is currently open but the parking lot bathrooms are closed due to the government shutdown. There is an outhouse 3/4's the way up. It's uphill the entire way to the lake, there were all ages and abilities making it to the top. Most of the trail was dry/dirt but there were sections that had snow and crampons/spikes were not needed up or the way down. Made it the top in an hour.

Beautiful views! Some up hill followed by flat spots. Moderate seems like a fair rating. There was barely any snow or ice today! A few small ice patches. Put our spikes on for 2 short areas only. Beautiful day today! Temps in the 50s! And we could still walk on the lake! (very tiny lake that is)

Really fun trail with wonderful scenery!!

hiking
14 days ago

I have completed this hike about 6 times over the past 12-years, most recently on 1/1/19. Starting point is at the YMCA of the Rockies' Boone Family Mountain Center, and the ending point is the scenic-overlook on the south-west side of the mountain (not the summit). This hike is mostly off-trail, and therefore open to modification, including summiting or looping, rather than out-and-backing.

Despite being just 2 miles, this hike took 3 hours and 45 minutes, including a 30-40 minute stop at the top for pictures (definitely leave time for this) and a proposal :) <3 (she said yes!). This hike is at least hard, with about a 1000ft elevation gain in just 1 mile. The steepness may require you to use your hands a few times. Of the 6 times I've hiked this, I've fallen twice, once onto a yucca (ouch!) and once scraping my leg a little on a rock.

To begin the hike, proceed on-foot down Lower Cookout Road, and join the well-marked Lower Cookout Trail, which will take you across two bridges (over Glacier Creek and the Big Thompson River). After crossing Glacier Creek, you will be in RMNP. When the trail comes to a "T" at the base of the mountain, this is when you leave the established trail. Essentially, look up and find your-own path of least resistance. CAUTION: Venturing too far east (right) leads you towards private homes and private property - this hike does NOT require you to access any private property, other than the YMCA where you start.

The views are spectacular, and worth the trouble. Would recommend! However, I do not recommend attempting this hike without prior hiking experience, or going with someone who does. Using poles would be beneficial year-round. Our microspikes were a must-have given the snow on the ground.

hiking
14 days ago

Completed this hike with my fiance' on 1/2/19. We originally hoped to do Dream / Emerald Lake, but could not due to the RMNP road closures resulting from the 2018/19 government shutdown.

Moderate is an accurate description, but only because of the first half-mile, which is quite steep. Past the turnoff for the Emerald Mountain ascent, the trail becomes easy. Trail is well-marked, even despite the snow. It took us 66 minutes to reach Sprague Lake, but made the return trip in 52 minutes. Total time, including 30 minutes of pictures at the lake, came in around 2.5 hours.

Although the RMNP road closure was frustrating, there was a silver-lining: my fiance' and I sat on a bench at Sprague Lake for over 30 minutes without seeing a single other person! Round trip, we saw about 12 people, and 4 deer right off the trail. Views at Sprague Lake were great! Views along the trail to the lake were minimal, but there was a decent variety of plant-life and terrain, given its short length.

Next time, we would prefer to do this hike with chains or microspikes. Snow was minimal at first, but the incline made it a little hazardous. Along the campground, snow was relatively deep, though well trafficked and packed-down - microspikes would have prevented many near-falls.

Overall a good hike that I would recommend, especially if you're hiking with kids, under a tight time schedule, or unwilling / unable to drive into RMNP.

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