Explore the most popular Backpacking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

21 hours ago

What a beautiful hike!

Beautiful hike but we hit deep soft snow drifts on the boulders about a half mile from the glacier. Traction wouldn't help, the snow was too soft, very post-hole-y. We decided it wasn't worth the risk with such big boulders just beneath the surface and turned back. Only later did we read about a hiker who fell in the area Tuesday and had to be rescued by helicopter. Be safe out there!

Great trail for those hiking with kids. Our hike led us from the Green Mountain Trailhead to the South Meadow campground. Make backcountry reservations with RMNP at Beaver Meadow visitor center. Camp fee was $30. Our site was on the creek away from everything and everyone. Bridge crossings and a little mud, but overall a great trail.

Now this is one of our favorites in RMNP!! Beautiful views!!!! The wildflowers were stunning. We saw Marmots and Elk during our hike!! It is very rocky so wear great shoes!

Absolutely gorgeous and pristine! Trail was completely snow free and I would recommend this hike to anyone wanting to experience the upper elevations of the park but also not wanting to climb a lot.

no shade
off trail
4 days ago

Hiked into the Boulder field on Monday afternoon (July 15). Had storms that prevented me from getting an early start. Finally got a break and took off on the trail. Got stopped along the way by another Hail Storm that kept me under tree cover for 10 minutes. There is a privy (bathroom) at the junction/split of the Chasm Lake trail and the Boulder Field trail. Then continues up to the saddle on the way to the Boulder Field. Heavy fog and storms kept rolling in, that would completely cover the area, dropping visibility to 30 yards. Came upon a herd of elk around 11,500 feet (right before entering the Boulder field) and didn't even see them until they loomed out of the fog. They were just as surprised as I was!! Attached a photo, it was mesmerizing. Arrived at the Boulder Field an hour or so before dark. If you take your time there and go nice and slow, you can stay on a pretty good trail through the boulder field. If you get off the trail, its not bad, you just end up boulder hopping a bit. The entire mountain was socked in with clouds the entire day, and everyone I passed on the way up said it was nasty up there, with an inch of hail falling the night before. Right before hitting the boulderfield, the fog and clouds lifted, and the sun was out! When you arrive at the Boulder Field, and you get a look at the keyhole, your blood starts pumping like crazy. The tent spots are easy to spot, with massive rock rings. The wind whipped the tent most of the night, but nothing severe. Attempted a Summit on July 16. I decided to hold off on starting the summit until a little later in the morning, based on reports of lots of ice from the day before. I left my tent for the keyhole at 9am. The trail up to the keyhole is a LOT of boulder hopping and climbing. It is steep, and you can easily twist an ankle or hurt a knee, so take it slow. Once you hit the keyhole, the wind just knocks you off our feet. I arrived at the keyhole while several people were stopped there resting on their way back down. They were from 3 different groups who all said they turned around at the trough and decided not to attempt due to the ice and snow. After the keyhole, you just follow the bulleye marks all the way, and they are pretty easy to follow. Sometimes the next one is below or above you, so keep your eyes peeled. The path from the keyhole to the trough is not bad at all currently. There was no ice or snow, and the footing was good. There are some pretty long drops, sheer cliff, so if you fall, its not a good thing. Go slow, be smart. Arriving at the trough, there was MUCH more snow than expected. The Rangers the day before had mentioned LOTS of snow still in the trough, and they were right. I strapped on Crampons and used the ice ax and made my way up about halfway. It was not bad, but my beat up hiking boots were starting to break down, so I started getting wet feet, so I crossed over to the left side and took them off. I continued the last half of the trough by rock climbing/scrambling up the left side of the trough. Another person climbing the same time as me was doing the same. If you stay far left, you do not need the crampons or microspikes, but some of the climbing is pretty spicy, and will give you bigtime pucker factor. In my opinion, the trough was the most intimidating/roughest part. One you get to the top of the trough, you now must scurry along the Narrows. The Narrows wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, there IS a definite fall factor here, and during wet/windy weather, I would have been a little worried, but the conditions were good, no ice, and I was able to get by. The last portion, the homestretch, had a lot of water from snow/ice melt, and you had to carefully pick your route to avoid the wet. The vast majority of the homestretch was done using hands and feet, keeping 3 points of contact. Very little of it was easy to stand and walk. Once I hit the summit, the views were everything I had hoped for. I could see the campsite in the Boulder Field below, I could see Estes Park, and for MILES in every direction. It makes you smile whether you realize it or not. I started for the Keyhole at 9am, and hit the summit at 11:55, so just shy of 3 hours. My stay was short lived, as there were storm clouds forming. I notified the other 4 people on the summit that a storm was coming, and we all headed back down immediately. I felt the way down was going to be just as hairy as going up, but it actually wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be. Just TAKE YOUR TIME, and make sure you are keeping a grip on things around you, not rushing or being careless. The hailstorm hit when I was 50 feet from my tent in the Boulder Field, and by the time I got into the tent, it was an absolute monsoon of hail. It lasted a good ten minutes. Overall, it was a thrilling ride, and the pucker factor is pretty big. They do many rescues and several recoveries every year on Longs, so do NOT underestimate it. I had a helmet, crampons, and ice axe just to be safe, and glad I did, especially on the Trough. Gloves are a must, in my opinion, i used my hands nonstop on this climb. Glad I had my rain gear, though it wasn't needed (had I been 10 minutes later, I would have absolutely needed it, no question). Take your sunscreen, chapstick, and a power bar. Definitely take a water source. What a ride. Worth every bit of it!!

Camped overnight in site 2. Great spot with plenty of space for tents and hammocks. The lake was beautiful and the water inlet stream offered an easy filtering location. Very well-maintained trail with easily identified forks and stops along the way. Went in hope of catching a fish or two but ended up just relaxing. Sandbeach Lake is a perfect overnight spot with a beautiful backdrop for dinner and breakfast. Would definitely go again.

4 days ago

Hit this trail now that the old road has opened. Trailhead says start is 10.650 ft. No warm up just up up with lots of stairs. About .5 miles in you hit a fork to go right to summits. Marker says trails not maintained which was accurate. Lots of loose rock. At about 1 miles you are above tree line. At 1.6 miles you hit a cross on the main trail. Head right to hike up to Chapin. You head back down same route and pick up main trail to head up to Chaquita. Rocks and wind. Trail is not well marked once you start up Chaquita. But if you are heading up, you are going the right way. A few rock cairns mark the path. Amazing view at the summit. Look back to Chapin to see how much higher you are. There is a wind break on northeast side that you have to share with marmots. It was good to get a break from the wind for sure. We descended on northwest’s side of Chaquita across lots of loose rock. Again no clear trail. We looked west and saw some clouds building so opted out of Ypsilon. Here is where we hit a classic “Sophie’s choice.” We could either hike back up to Chaquita summit (300 ft of loose rock) or traverse across back to main trail. There is a bypass trail shown on the map but we never saw it even though GPS said we were right on it. We opted to traverse across Chaquita which left us crossing some tundra broken up by lots of rocks. Probably added .5 miles to hike. Since views are forever we could always orient toward the main trail. The “hard” rating is spot on. Wind, sun, loose rock and steep climbs at over 12k make for a great challenge. My health app said we climbed the equivalent of 157 flights of stairs without hiking Ypsilon. But the views of the divide, hidden mountain lakes, green fields, etc are worth it. I am glad we took some time on the summits to soak it in. Recommend: 2x water, sunscreen, snacks and packing wind gear/extra layers. It got a bit chilly at the summits. Poles are not necessary but help on descents over loose rock. Couple of snow patches but no need for spikes.

Hiked on 7/14, trail is mostly dry all the way up. Amazing views and a lot of wildlife. GPS showed 14.2 miles

4 days ago

I hiked this today, Sunday, at 3pm and had no issues finding parking at all. Heavily trafficked for the first 2 miles but after Ouzel Falls there were only a handfull of people. Up until the falls it's just a casual stroll through mostly shaded area along the river with a very mild incline. After the falls there are some incredible vistas, especially the last 2 miles of the trail. You're up walking through a flat, open area high up surrounded with 360 views of surrounding mountains. It was spectacular. Ouzel Lake is scenic as well and made for a nice spot for lunch. The entire hike to Ouzel Lake and back is about 10 miles, however, much of this is flat or easy incline.

Hikes this 7/14 starting at Bear Lake, heading up to Flattop, and finishing at Grand Lake. This route was 18.67 miles, and took 7.25 hours, 2-3 liters of water. I’m 44 yo m, 155, relatively good shape. Poles and crampons are still a MUST. I didn’t have poles as I hiked it on a whim. After the portion due south from the intersection with Flattop trail, this route turns west and there are a series of switchbacks down a steep slope above tree line. There are snow fields running across the switchbacks in the steepest section. Even with Yak Tracks, I had to catch myself from sliding down the face with my knife at one point, which was more excitement than I bargained for. Also, I offset to get around snowfields on Flattop as I was sinking in knee to thigh high. Other than the steep, snowy section, great hike. Beautiful waterfalls. The three miles + from Grand Lake heading East were a little flat/boring. Although, I was tired at that point, so it could be more enjoyable than my perception.

Summited Longs Peak on Saturday July 13. Trail was mostly clear of snow and ice in the final stretches. We hiked up the day before and camped at the boulder fields. What few of these reviews convey is just how steep the boulder scrambling is up to and after the keyhole — nearly vertical like climbing a ladder. Took us 4 hours from the boulder fields. Some sections were extremely tricky to find a hand or foot hold with potentially life threatening consequences. A 30-year-old was airlifted out the day before after falling 75 feet in the trough section. Some climbers used short ropes. Crampons and ice axes were not necessary though good to carry just in case. Extremely challenging terrain and so worth the accomplishment.

Excellent hike, the trail that "keeps on giving". It is not for the person who wants a simple stroll, this is a calorie burner. Up, up, and up some more, then around the corner, and up some more. Finally, you are at the top, and down, down, down you go to get to Finch Lake. 4 miles in, gorgeous views, very light traffic both ways. parking was great at 730. Took me 4 hours round trip. Trailhead at Allenspark Trail entrance is not closed. Ample parking if you get there before 8:30 a.m..

I lost a black and white patterned Chaco sandal on this trail on 7/14, near the Fern Falls switchback! If you come upon it, please return it to any visitor’s center within the park!

I lost a black and white patterned Chaco sandal on this trail on 7/14, near the Fern Falls switchback! If you come upon it, please return it to any visitor’s center within the park!

Really well maintained forest trail and a pretty easy hike to the lake. The lake itself is gorgeous. We tried to find the half mile spur trail off the lake, but whatever looked like a trail dead ended with fallen trees and over growth so we just turned back.

6 days ago

Another stunning hike and well worth the effort to get there early. The trailhead parking lot was full by 0645 on Saturday 7/13/19. Rangers turned cars away and showed us where to park further away from the TH. We got there at 0745 and ended up parking about 0.6 miles away from the TH. Prior reviews are accurate; Trail is very busy up to a Ouzel Falls. After that traffic drops by at least half. Do not expect solitude at the lake, though. It’s mostly marshy near the lake’s edge, and not a lot of places to sit. PLEASE respect other’s desire for quiet! We had a group of twenty-somethings sit right next to us and proceed to play music and talk/laugh very loudly; it was hard to enjoy the serenity of the lake with that kind of noise going on. Next time I’ll take a day off from work and hope to have a little more peace. Definitely a beautiful hike with lots to see along the way!

Great hike for the serious hikers. Beautiful scenery at every turn. Brutal but well marked trails take you thru Forests, Mountain Flowers, Boulder Fields, Steep Ledges with 100ft plus drop offs, and views waterfalls hundreds of mountain peaks, some reaching over 14 thousand feet.

7 days ago

The main attraction of this trail is the views. From the trailhead to Deer Mountain (3 miles) it is heavily trafficked, but for the remaining 7 miles I didn't see a soul. The last part of the 3rd mile is the most difficult, with stair-stepping for about .25 miles to the summit of Deer Mountain. Other than that, the grade is very gradual and relatively flat in many places. I give this 3 stars due to the heavy use at the start and that most of the other trails in RMNP are better, in my opinion.

9 days ago

This can be done as a day hike but I did it as an overnight hike with a 30 lb pack on my back. The trail starts fairly flat and with soft dirt as the surface but then it turns steeper, rockier and wetter as you hike in. Not a lot of views on the trail but there are several streams and waterfalls that are nice to look at. Lake Verna, my destination for the night, is nice with several campsites available and lots of solitude (at least the night I was there). Saw one deer, one moose, and one fox.

Amazing trail, water levels are super high and switchbacks still had enough snow to make the way down a little sketchy but all totally worth it!

Hiked this 7/6-7/8. Completed this in three days starting from north inlet trailhead and staying the first night in July and the second in granite falls. The hike from North inlet trailhead to July was not particularly challenging and took us around 7 hours. However, currently, July to Granite poses some difficult challenges. Half of the switchbacks after July were covered by snow. An early start is recommended to pass them safely and cutting some of them may be necessary. Snow fields are plenty with potholing frequent but some of them avoidable by hiking around them and looking for the rock stacks as guidance for the trail. A half mile or so after timberline group camp is a plethora of debris with snow from a recent avalanche. Much of this won’t apply in a couple weeks when the snow has completely melted. We were able to reach timberline from July in about 6 hours and reached granite falls in another hour and a half. Granite falls to tonahutu trailhead took us 5 hours as it was a steady descent. We were able to spot a few moose along Big Meadow! Either way this hike is highly recommended, just be careful when going through the snowfields as the snow is getting softer with the warmer weather. Beautiful views are endless, particularly above the tree line.

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