hiking

views

no dogs

wildlife

forest

walking

wild flowers

nature trips

birding

lake

river

waterfall

trail running

snowshoeing

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.

Now I know why this trail is so popular. Did this trail on 10/25. Beautiful day. Some icy patches, but did not need spikes. I want to go back and see this place again in winter, spring, and summer.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike with several places with amazing views before getting to the summit. Last .2 miles can be a little tough if you have breathing problems at altitude, like me, but going slow is just fine since there is enough room to move out of the way for faster people.

You do need some sort of traction as you get deeper into the shady areas since there was a fair amount of snow.

Definitely would do this hike again since the views are incredible.

hiked early morning 12/9. The hike to mills lake is a nice boot pack, crampons or microspikes reccomended. After mills lake, the trail mostly vanishes and its time to pull out the snowshoes. Great snowshoeing out to black lake. The views from the frozen lakes are astounding. Mild crowding on the way out to mills, very few after that. I would highly reccomend this trail, be ready for some pretty exhaustive snowshoeing the second half.

hiked early morning 12/9. The hike to mills lake is a nice boot pack, crampons or microspikes. After mills lake, the trail mostly vanishes and its time to pull out the snowshoes. Great snowshoing out to black lake, deffinitelty exhausting. the views from the frozen lakes is amazing. I would reccomend this trail, just be ready for some pretty exhaustive snowshoeing the second half.

completed this trail on 12/10. Some icy patches on the way to gem lake, then powdery snow from that point to balanced rock.
anywhere from 2 to 8 inches of snow. I did use my gaiters and yaktraks.
overall a very nice day with temperatures in the low 40s.

Super fun trail. Beautiful panoramas at the top. Two peak hike - highest to the left with a fun rock scramble to the top. Packed snow the whole way up. I used spikes but others I saw (total of 6 people) did not even have them on. Took a total of 4 hours with a break at the top. Seems like more of a moderate hike to me.

hiking
3 days ago

First time hiking to Black Lake in winter. Trail from Bear Lake to Mills Lake was perfectly packed down, microspikes made it easy. The lake was frozen solid and it was so cool to walk straight across! Softer snow between Jewel Lake and Black -- changed to snowshoes about 20-30 min before reaching Black Lake after post-holing a few times. Luckily there were clear ski/snowshoe tracks to follow all the way. The distance between Jewel Lake and Black Lake always feels farther than it actually is. We walked around the shore of Black Lake to continue snowshoeing up to Blue Lake (used a GPS watch because we didn't see signs of a trail). SO worth it! The views from above the lake were stunning. Even better, Blue Lake was sheltered from wind making it a perfect spot for a snack break. Will definitely come back in the summer to find Green/Frozen and climb the Spearhead.
12.5 miles in 6.5 hours roundtrip

Perfect winter hike. Lots of cross country skiers and snow shoes. We hiked in our hiking boots, well packed snow. Wear lots of layers.

hiking
3 days ago

Hiked this with my sister back on October 6th. Wasn’t our planned hike. Decided to do it and Hallet since we couldn’t get to Mount Ida. Trail Ridge was already closed and under snow. We were only in the park for two days so lots of huffing and puffing but we made it. Started off around 7am in the fog and climbed above the clouds into the snow! One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Super cold and windy at the top but amazing views. Soaked socks, shoes, and legs. Didn’t plan for the snow but it was awesome. Can’t wait to do it again next summer along with Mount Ida.

Love this hike! Took off 12/9 at about 930a. I had spikes with me in case but never took them out of my pack. Wind was down and sun out so a thermal undershirt and fleece jacket was enough to keep the cold off. I had gloves and ski cap and took both off at points during hike as well. Few icy patches but lots of exposed ground in the non shady spots. Always see wildlife around the big open field before heading into trees. Some good inclines but the switchbacks keep the elevation manageable. Great views of the Fall River side of park.

snowshoeing
4 days ago

Beautiful
Doable in regular hiking boots
Went on a Sunday at 11am and was moderately traveled
Lots of available parking

Was very gorgeous and I wanted to keep moving to black lake but there was nobody going up this direction today and I was hiking alone so to be safe I turned around here as I was alone. it was so gorgeous and didn't need my snowshoes untill I got to Mills lake then I put them on to walk the parameter of the frozen lake which was fun. will upload photos. also it was super windy but I didn't mind too much... the views made it worth it.

Completed hike on 12/8. Very rewarding view of Longs and the Mummys. Add at least a 1/4 mile from parking lot to the trail head. Began at 10:30 and was on the first summit by 1. Snow pack almost the entire way- much deeper at RMNP/National Forest boundary marker. Crampons definitely recommended. Can easily summit both "sisters" within an hour (plus lunch). We were lucky to have minimal wind at the summit, but it was cold- roughly 15 degrees and colder with wind chill. All around amazing, not too difficult of a hike even with the snow. Plan to be back in the parking lot by 4:30 (sunset).

this was a fun and challenging hike for a flat lander. the snow added an extrsma challenge. I took off at about 10 AM so it was still cold. I didnt have much of a problem with footing. I only had hiking boots on, no spikes. it was ok going up, but on the way down, about 1 PM it there were some slick spots which just meant I had to slow down. the views at the summit were worth the hike. there is a great view of longs peak, the only 14er in RMNP.

Great hike and view from the top spectacular!

Fabulous! Parking spaces open when we arrived at 9 am. Spikes until the last mile and then it got deep and tricky. Super windy at the lake but lovely. Snow shoes necessary to get to the lake. Took us 3.5 hours to finish! Awesome day!

Went on a weekend in early December and the trail was packed with people. Trail was snow packed. I didn’t wear boot chains but i should have.

Great easy hike as always. The road is closed about a mile from the TH, so you’ll add two miles RT. Snowshoes would have been helpful in a few places, but certainly not necessary. The snow was loose enough that spikes weren’t needed, but packed enough that you could get by with just good boots. Gaiters helpful for missteps. There was a fair amount of traffic today and some snowshoeing behind me, and the trail was noticeably more packed on the way out from the traffic. Pack your microspikes just in case.

hiking
5 days ago

I always love this hike! Today was probably the most windy day I've had there thus far, at the lakes, but still beautiful! I started out around 9:40am, plenty of parking in the lot. I used my crimp-ons until just after nymph lake, then switched over to the snowshoes. There were quite a few people making it to Emerald lake with just the crimp-ons. That said there was a lot of post holing as well! I would recommend having your snowshoes with you. And to Arizona ( just moved here from AZ) have fun playing this winter! and maybe I'll see you snowshoeing next time;)!

Beautiful winter trail! Did this trail today and the snow was perfect. Snowshoes were definitely helpful, but can easily be done using only spikes. This took us around 4 hours round trip with plenty of photo stops and a little break up top. A good moderate hike

Great hike. Wore spikes to nymph lake then switched to snowshoes for rest of way. Trail was fairly well packed but a step off the trail and you quickly realize how deep the snow is. Got to dream lake and some hikers were ice skating. Walked across frozen lake and pressed to emerald.. some elevations getting to dream and emerald but nothing too long. Wind was down which made for a nice walk in the woods.

hiking
6 days ago

Completed this hike (+ a little extra) with my girlfriend in late summer. We did not set out with a definitive plan...got a late start, around 10am. We attempted to reach Green Lake after Black Lake, but turned around halfway (around 11,150ft) due to approaching storm clouds, and wanting to be back before dark.

Hard is an accurate rating, especially the last half-mile to Black Lake, and the extra mile we did after. I'm in moderate shape, and my girlfriend was visiting from sea level (her first hike above 10,000 ft!). We took a fair number of breaks for snacks and pictures...our Fitbits said 12 miles, 36,000 steps, in ~9 hours. The hike itself was not daunting, but we were exhausted by the end, and sore for a few days after.

Top pros were that the views were spectacular, and that the trail was mostly well marked. The exceptions are that we never saw the turn to Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. We also completely lost the trail in the bolderfield between Black Lake and Green Lake, which contributed to our decision to turn-around.

The biggest con, and reason for not giving it a 5th star, was the heavy traffic up to Mills Lake. We even got stuck behind a lady talking on her cellphone for awhile. We chose to skip a number of attractions (i.e. Alberta Falls) to avoid, and try and surpass, the crowds. Fortunately, most people stopped at, or before, Mills Lake. We saw less than two dozen people between Mills Lake and our turnaround.

Overall an excellent hike that we hope to do again, next time with an earlier start, a better plan, and hopefully in a little better shape!

hiking
9 days ago

Just up there today, winds out of the west with gusts that had to be 60 mph. Hike out past nymph lake was calm, but approaching dream lake winds really picked up.. high drifting past dream lake, without snow shoes you can’t get beyond the last hundred yards or so to emerald lake. Still a beautiful and awesome hike despite the winds. Only got up to 9F, gear held up nicely

Super easy and super beautiful.

Beautiful hike for all skill levels.

Man, this was an amazing challenge.

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked 12/3. The hike from bear lake to dream lake is our favorite in the park, regardless of the season. Today was no exception. We took snowshoes with and used them the whole time. The hike from the parking lot to dream lake could be easily done with micro spikes. From there to lake Haiyaha will require snowshoes in its current state. Less traffic on this trail and recent snow makes it loose, narrow and uneven in a lot of places. You’ll have to stay tight and inside in a lot of places to keep from sinking a falling down the ridge.

With caution, it’s very doable. We are not super experienced in snowy mountains and managed just fine. It’s worth the trip.

hiking
10 days ago

Very doable hike during winter. Water fall & streams were beautiful frozen. Took my 12,7&4yo. Only saw a few other people.

Did this hike yesterday with my friends. It was a little windy and there was a little ice near the falls but overall it was beautiful and an amazing hike.

My wife and I snow shoed Glacier Creek Trail yesterday. Light snow falling as we shuffled through the beautiful forest. Sprague Lake Trail was snow packed along the first stretch where we intersected Glacier Creek Trail. From that point on, Glacier Creek Trail was covered with light powder, with only a few foot prints. We saw only three people - two hikers and one runner. There was a rescue mission going on higher up in the range, looking for a hiker lost over a week ago, using helicopters, but saw no other people. Temperature was about 15 degrees, but very pleasant in the woods. Trail was well marked and easy to follow, with fluorescent markers on trees and timbers parallel alongside the trails. When we intersected Sprague Lake on the return, the wind was blowing hard making the last stretch around the lake bitter cold, even dressed properly with three climate coats and snow pants. We kicked off our snow shoes at the lake, as there were quite a few patches without snow, along the lake trail. Trail is generally quite flat, with gentle climbs and descents. The forest was magical, blanketed in white snow. A great hike for anyone, as we are in out 60s.

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