hiking

views

no dogs

wildlife

forest

wild flowers

nature trips

walking

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.

Packed snow so no snowshoes necessary. Microspikes were helpful but probably could have managed without since it was mostly level. Beautiful day for a great hike!

Completed this on 12/15/18. Spikes will get you at least halfway at which point snowshoes become necessary. Trail can be tough to follow at times so GPS was very helpful.

on Fern and Spruce Lakes

9 hours ago

Great hike to beautiful campsite on Spruce Lake. Last mile or so of trail can be tough to follow.

Nice quick hike! Great in winter....

One of my faves!

hiking
14 hours ago

We completed this hike 12/15. We started at 9:30am and there was plenty of parking at the TH. First one third of the hike is mostly clear of snow. We used microspikes the remainder, although they were not necessary. The trail has a good number of switchbacks and breaks up the elevation. We took 1.5 hours to summit— my recording had the summit at 3.0 miles, my total recording was 5.9 miles. Trail is well marked and well trafficked.

great hike. had a little waterfall 2 lakes and pretty easy. I will be doing it again.

This was one of those uphill both ways kind of trail. It's not easy. There was some snow on the trail about .4 miles from Gem and more from Gem to Balanced Rock. I wore micro spikes, it was nice but I don't think necessary at this point. It was windy and 40s today, no snow was in the forecast for the next few days. Trail is clearly visible in all areas. I was alone from Gem to the rock, then at the rock for an hour or so. As I was coming back I only came across 6 other people, then a few more at the lake back to the parking lot.

snowshoeing
2 days ago

Beautiful trail! We rented snowshoes and the terrain was perfect for them. Yaktrax were fine, but would’ve been more work over all. The trail was easy to follow and ascends a fair amount but the grade was never too bad. Also, the falls were frozen, but we could see and hear water under the ice. I’d love to come back in other seasons and do more!

When the higher powers give you 50 degree days with little wind in December, you take advantage of it. Repeat hike on 12/14 up Deer mtn. Left around 2:45 which was later than planned so the last 1/2 mile to car was pretty dark. Wore thermal and fleece which was unzipped most of the way. Put on gloves and ski cap for route back. Going up I had only my trail shoes and was fine. But the snow has melted and the water has turned to ice. Definitely needed spikes for most of route down which I had in my pack. Wish I had more time at the top.

hiking
3 days ago

Went up yesterday 12/12/18 and although it was quite windy it wasn't to bad with the trees shielding the wind. Really easy hike with a very good snow pack conditions, all I needed was crampons. I have trouble breathing at altitude but this hike didn't leave me to much out of breath. Didn't go on to Dream Lake since I would need snowshoes and didn't bring any with me.

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
5 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
6 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
7 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
7 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
9 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;)!

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