Explore the most popular birding 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.

This trail is a hidden gem! We stumbled across it because the park and ride bus heading for Emerald Lake was very crowded. This trail ended up being great and we were so happy to end up there! Basically had the trail to ourselves. Amazing views on the climb, caught some shade in the trees at the top, and the views of the lake with the mountains behind it were gorgeous. We couldn’t be happier with this hike!!

Mid 30s, mostly fit, carrying a toddler, took less than 2 hours. We went at 6:30pm (two hours before sunset) and had the trail totally to ourselves. Wish we had brought bug spray, the mosquitos around the lake were horrendous.

8 hours ago

Did this today, and the conditions were fantastic! There is a tiny patch of snow right where the trail forks off from Dream, but this is all that was left. The trail had been rained on all night, but it was just fine with hiking boots. The streams are beautiful, they are at a nice running level right now. The trail was fairly busy, but nothing like that of the trail coming up to Dream from Bear Lake.

8 hours ago

Hiked in July and didn't think we wanted to get to the summit. Were so close decided to push to the top and got stuck near the top during a thunderstorm. Listen to the rangers and get below tree line by 1pm. Scary time running down the trail in rain and hail with lightning striking in the nearby mountains. Great views from the top, despite not staying too long to appreciate them!

10 hours ago

6/18/18 - lovely hike filled with wild flowers at this time. Hike starts with nice wide open mountain views. Trek through the forest seeing beautiful wild flowers along the way. Cub lake is uniquely filled with lily pads with yellow flowers. Past the lake you will see rock formations and the flowers continue while hiking downward to the Pool. As you walk to the Fern Lake TH you will hear and see beautiful water streams throughout the remaining hike. Love this nice,easy stroll through the RMNP.

Happy we added this walk before getting back on the shuttle. Really beautiful views!

One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced! Spectacular!

Overall great views along the entire hike! Little snow but very manageable.

On our way out, we had the trails almost completely to ourselves. Balanced Rock was worth seeing, but definitely an uphill climb back to Gem Lake. And, once we made it back to Gem Lake, it was later in the day and more crowded. Overall, it was a beautiful hike that I'd definitely recommend.

12 hours ago

Great hike great views and very good fishing for cutthroat at tail waters of Dream Lake and the inlet.

13 hours ago

Hands down the most beautiful trail I've ever seen. Mid 30, mostly fit, carrying a toddler, took about an hour to get to the top. We went at 630pm, two hours before sunset, parked in the front row and had the trail to ourselves.

16 hours ago

Great hike. Stunning views throughout the whole trail. Not overly difficult, great for showing people the beauty of Colorado.

This has to be my new favorite hike in the park. I did this hike on Saturday 6/16 and hiked as far as black lake. I got to the park at 6:30 and the Glacier Gorge lot was already full so I had to park at the bear lake TH. It barely added any distance. The trail was completely snow free until about the last mile before Black lake and even then it was only covered in a few spots and was easy without spikes or trecking poles. Scenery the whole way up was great with lots of waterfalls. I passed by Mills lake but that would be a worthwhile trip on it's own.

The fishing at Black Lake was excellent. Lots of mayflies hatching and the brook trout were hitting on nearly every cast. I will definitely be hiking back to this lake.

21 hours ago

Trip dates:: 6/15-17. You want to enjoy lakes in close proximity to each other? Do this hike. We enjoyed a two night three days backpacking trip here. Stayed at the Solitaire campground. From here all the lakes from Verna lake n on is accessible all the way to Fifth Lake which is the very last lake on the map. Its marshy and about a foot deep in but if u don’t mInd then by all means head up towards the Fifth Lake- it’s gorgeous!! Lots of downed trees and the trail is not maintained after Verna Lake and you will see a sign that will indicate that. Lots of water and gushing falls. Bonus: a few actual man made steps makes the uphill hike a beautiful photo op. Lots of vista points as well. Very busy trail head but thins out and it’s just you and the wild as you go higher. A bear crossed our path on the way out. Never happened to us in our 12+ years of backpacking. Reminder that this is CO and is there’s very much “wild” left in the wilderness.

Really laid back hike with beautiful views the entire way. Heavy traffic to the falls, but if you keep heading to the lake, the number of people decreases a lot.

1 day ago

I try to visit RMNP every time I'm in Denver and was looking for a dry trail since I didn't pack my waterproof boots this time. As a flatlander, I was worried I wouldn't fare very well, but most of the grade is gentle and there are plenty of places to rest. Start as early as possible because the trail gets hot and exposed to direct sun. Early to mid-June seems to be the perfect time to hit this trail if only for the wildflowers. Didn't see any wildlife of note, but greatly enjoyed the scenery. This trail was less traversed compared to St. Vrain, but there was a pretty steady trickle of hikers stopping at the lake after 11 a.m. on a Friday. Also, parking was filling up by 7:15 a.m. One hiking group recommended making the extra trip to Bluebird Lake, but my hiking companion wasn't enthused about tacking on the extra 2 miles, so maybe next time. Common sense prevails - make sure you have more than enough water, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen. This is a rocky trail and I highly recommend footwear with extra protection on the toes and thick soles to protect from stone bruising. Rating 4/5 because other trails in RMNP are a bit more stunning and offer easier photo opportunities of mountains at the final destination.

The lake was beautiful and worth taking the shuttle from the Park and Ride. However, it was very, very crowded.

The Cub Lake Trail Loop was a nice, easy hike. Cub Lake was very beautiful, and the bridge at the Pool over the river was also very scenic.

My first hike to that altitude and it did not disappoint. We hiked up from the west side of the park. There was quite a bit of snow around some of the switchbacks but nothing unmanageable. The views along the way were absolutely amazing. The top was a little barren but still a great view and we had a little lunch before hiking back down. It was astonishingly warm at the top. We hiked up rather late in the afternoon, probably not the smartest idea but we got to see the sunset at the top of the mountain and that was incredible. We made it down before it got dark, but I still wouldn't recommend unless you have headlamps and extra water! I recommend the trail overall, especially hiking up from the west.

a great hike via "the pool".

1 day ago

Beautiful hike. The lake is gorgeous

This was such a beautiful trail. We went yesterday 6/16 and had a great time. I do have to say almost 9 miles is difficult especially if you are just getting into it. It is a lot longer and more difficult than I expected it to be. The last stretch of incline before the lake can be brutal. But the view was sooooo worth it. I would absolutely recommend this just make sure you take your time and be careful on the slippery rocks if it rains like it did with us. I would ease on the side of caution if you aren’t experienced . This was only the second trail I have done since trying to get into hiking this summer and I could hardly walk last night. But I did it! It is possible and the view is totally worth it.

Great family trail! Parking is limited so consider parking at the park and ride and grabbing the shuttle. Trail can be busy so remember your hiking manners!

Less trafficked gem. Hopped on this trail from Bear Lake. It was about 2 miles from Bear Lake to Bierstadt Lake and then we hiked down to our car which was another 1.7 miles or so. It was a good way to do it and after Emerald Lake Trail it was much quieter in this area. Although the lake wasn’t as breathtaking as Emerald, the 180° views on the switchbacks along with the wildflowers and trees were amazing! I would recommend this trail if you’re looking for some extra trails in that area.

1 day ago

Lake is really pretty. Nice short hike. Parts through forest are beautiful. Switchbacks through elevation are exposed-thankfully we had a cloudy day. Views are great from the top. I wouldn't rate this moderate-its easy- even the beginning switchbacks aren't that hard. I did it in Chaco flip flops. Not crowded which was wonderful. It could qualify for 5 stars but it's not as sublime as other hikes in RMNP.

Crowded trail, but beautiful views! All three lakes that you hit on this trail are different in their own ways and stunning. GET THERE EARLY. Very busy! Luckily RMNP offers a free shuttle service if you have trouble finding parking. Many families hiking this trail especially with small children, everyone was extremely polite and aware! We spotted an elk, birds, and chipmunks along the trail.

An awesome hike. A great mix of settings- meadows, a mountain side climb, a wooded walk through woods...we saw 2 baby moose! The most waterfalls I've ever seen on a hike. It is on the harder side of moderate in my opinion, as the way up to the lake is quite the elevation gain, but the way down is an enjoyable walk downhill.

Warning this hike is very crowded. Lots of kids and no hikers. This hike is basically a nature walk, so very nice views, but if you want something more substantial go up. Also if you plan on going to Alberta falls go here first and head down to the falls. Up is a pain with little payoff.

Nice hike. Easy with a great payoff. The falls were really flowing yesterday and it wasn't super crowded. I would recommend it to anyone who wants an easy hike or with are with a flatlander.

The signs are a little off and we had a detour for about a mile. Lots of mesquites but it was a beautiful hike. We saw a total of 9 moose including 2 mommas and their babies. We had the trail pretty much to ourselves. Highly recommend.

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