Deer Mountain Trail

MODERATE 379 reviews
#11 of 181 trails in

Deer Mountain Trail is a 5.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is best used from April until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1400 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Deer Mountain Trail is a great hike to Deer Mountain Peak that offers panoramic views from the top. The trail can be accessed at the Deer Mountain Trailhead off of Trail Ridge Road. The trail starts off in a valley and soon enters a steep forested area, dominated by species such as ponderosa pine. Once you enter the forested area, the trail has many switchbacks that ease into the elevation change. The trail is easy to follow until the last half mile or so. Finding the summit requires a steep little jaunt up to the top. Once at the Deer Mountain summit, you are rewarded with gorgeous views of Longs Peak, Moraine Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, and Estes Park. This is one of the many popular hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National park and there is limited parking in the parking area. It is advised to get there early to secure a parking spot. Many people on this trail underestimate it - make sure to bring plenty of water and hiking boots!

hiking
6 days ago

We did this in 3 hours total. Get there first thing to get a good parking spot. We got to the trailhead at 6:00 AM and were the first people to the top, which meant we got the view to ourselves for a little while. The trail is mostly a lot of wooded switchbacks with nice views at the ends and a gorgeous view of the park and Estes at the top.

hiking
9 days ago

This was a nice hike with a great view at the end. We did this without acclimatizing from Dallas and didn’t have any issues with altitude. Also saw some cool llamas on the way!

10 days ago

Nice for a short hike. Good views throughout the hike. Wasn't able to see the view; it was cloudy when we went. Parking is limited, but spots do open up throughout the day. Be sure to bring water there are vault toilets at the trailhead.

hiking
10 days ago

We have hiked several trails in Rocky and while the first mile had spectacular views of the mountains to the south, the end view was very similar to Gem Lake Trail views. Also, the signs stated this is a 3 mile trail after you hike a tenth of a mile and it certainly felt more like 6.2 than 5.6 miles. Lake Helene Trail (from Bear Lake) is similar in elevation gain and length and offers more interesting terrain. My thoughts are if you want to hike a mile or so and capture the initial views and wildflowers go for it. The first part of the hike is open views of the Mountains. The second half provides regular shade. But if you want a longer trail that takes you away from civilization, Lake Helene is a much better pick.

hiking
15 days ago

A moderately difficult trail but it's worth all the climbing - the views from the summit are spectacular. Took us about 4 hours round trip. Go early in the AM and you'll have the place to yourself.

17 days ago

Quite the hike up! Little longer than expected but hey nothing to worry. Just all up hill and a beautiful view of the valley. Well recommended moderate hike.

hiking
23 days ago

This hike offers a lot of spectacular views. It’s on the lower side of moderate but we did have some difficulty with the climb since we aren’t acclimated to the elevation yet. Lots of wildflowers along the trail. Recommend starting early as we passed many hikers on our way back down. The parking was quite crowded when we left.

hiking
23 days ago

Went on 5/24. Loved it. We got there at 8:00am and parked on the street as there is no parking lot. At 8am there was only one other car. There was no snow along the trail and the views are fantastic. Fairly steady incline on the way up but then it levels out nicely for awhile. In fact it goes downhill for a spell near the summit and I was afraid I had missed a turn off, but keep going and summit is right past the downhill section. Would recommend this trail to all.

Also: at the summit are a lot of chipmunks who will boldly come up to you for food, please don’t feed them.

hiking
24 days ago

I logged 6.4 miles round-trip from trailhead to summit and back. It’s a steady climb, but doesn’t go above treeline so it isn’t too difficult. Beautiful views almost the entire distance.

hiking
25 days ago

Great hike! First time in the Rocky’s and at this high elevation so was perfect first hike to get use to the climate and elevation. Great views, and not too busy which was a shock.

29 days ago

Just finished this hike! Beautiful views. Be sure to follow the horse poop we got lost for over an hour

1 month ago

Great view at the top and several points along switchbacks. Very easy to follow and good for acclimation to higher elevations. If you get lost, just follow the horse manure

walking
1 month ago

My first moderate rated trail hike. Took my time getting used to altitude since coming in from 800 ft and less the day before. Arrived early but parking was getting scarce. Trail in great condition with only negligible snow. Wonderful scenery, startled by a noisy landing of a peregrine nearby on the descent back to vehicle! A wonderful experience overall.

hiking
1 month ago

Best hike of my RMNP visit so far. For a couple of active 23 year olds with Michigan lungs, the hike was of moderate difficulty for us. Being our second day in elevation higher than 600 feet, we took it slow, and stopped very frequently to drink water, rest, and catch our breath. The final push to the top was tough for us, but we made it with no problems. Parking was very limited- we ended up having to park up the road where there wasn’t actually any real spots. The trail was easy to follow, and not snow-covered in any spots. It was a beautiful, sunny 70 degree day. We brought plenty of water, and were glad we did. Saw lots of people with no water- would advise against doing that, for sure! The view at the top was unlike anything that I’ve seen thus far. Breathtaking views that never seem to end. This hike is absolutely worth every minute of the climb.

1 month ago

Beautiful view of the valley and still beneath some of the highest peaks. A gorgeous ascend to the top and easy enough trail to navigate. Quiet, gradual hike. One I would easily recommend to my friends for a few 3 hours hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail with not too many steep sections, just long stretches of them. I recommend this for families and people new to the area that are still adjusting to the altitude. The views from the top are great. Tons of wildlife when I went. Some snow on the route, but nothing too difficult to get around.

hiking
1 month ago

5/10/18 Nice weaving in and out of trees with beautiful views of the mountains. Last 1/4 mile is more challenging then the entire hike. The vista at the top is beautiful. No snow on trail. I have done this hike many times and will do again. I enjoy the wide open views at the top.

1 month ago

Great trail with awesome views all along the way. Coming from the flat lands, it was a good elevation gain to get the lungs working. I had my 8 month old on my back and it took us 4 hours round trip with stops to feed him and take pics. As of Saturday, microspikes were nice to have on the upper half, but not necessary

2 months ago

hiked this morning 4/16/18, some snow and ice accumulated on the upper half of the trail, microspikes would have been helpful but was doable without. beautiful as always!

hiking
2 months ago

Great Hike! Great views! Right now (Mid-April) there’s still a lot of snow - packed on the trail -about a mile from the summit. Crampons are recommended for that section but it can be done without - trekking poles were very useful as well. There’s some good uphills but it’s never too strenuous. If you’re in decent shape this will be a great hike! Please bring water! Saw so many tourists without water! It’s a 6 mile RT hike!

hiking
2 months ago

This trail will reward you with fabulous views and a particularly rewarding view of Estes Park as you crest the summit. I carried micro-spikes for the snow and ice but found I did not need to use them. The trail got busier as the day wore on, but the views are worth tolerating the traffic.

2 months ago

Great trail for getting grand views of most of the northeastern side of RMNP. For those acclimated and in good shape this will be a nice leisurely hike to the summit with just a little push the last 10% or so. For out of state visitors not acclimated this will be challenging, but doable with a good pace and some perserverence.

The good news is that you do not need to do the entire trail to benefit from all of the views. Even doing half of the hike will get you a lot of payoffs!

Currently the trail is a mix of mud and intermittent snow/ice. Traction is not essential but you would probably be glad to have it, especially on the descent. We wore yak trax for the first half of the way down, and after taking them off I did slip a good number of times.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike on Saturday, March 24 at 9 am. The first mile was relatively dry dirt, the second mile was patches of snow, and the third mile was snowy. We originally brought our snowshoes and spikes but we didn’t end up using either. Trekking poles definitely came in handy descending in the snow as there was ice under the top layer of snow.
Wind was mild for most of the hike until the summit push. I think the hike is perfectly rated moderate. It’s easy enough for families and novice hikers to do and tough enough to feel like you actually did a hike. The view from the top is gorgeous and great for taking a break before heading back down.

2 months ago

3/26/18. Great hike within close proximity of the Beaver Meadows Visitors Center. Great views at the top! mild switchbacks, flattens out before the final push, nice meandering trail through the pines. Summit view of the park and surrounding peaks awesome.
We brought our traction for the top 1/3 which makes it so much easier.
6. Miles, 3 hrs round with a break at the top with my wife and daughter.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail but normally lots of traffic. The views at the top are well worth the hike. Spikes are a plus on the second half.

3 months ago

Best views in RMNP in my opinion!

hiking
3 months ago

Wonderful trail, definitely moderate especially with the snow pack on the trail. It's highly recommended to use ice cleats as the second half of the trail is all packed snow which turned to ice in many spots. Beautiful views along the way and at the top. Mostly an uphill hike on the way in.
Not enough fresh snow today for snowshoes so they would be cumbersome on the packed snow but would provide better traction than plain boots.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice winter hike. A good climb and beautiful views. For pics and more details: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/01/02/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-deer-mountain-trail/

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing beginner winter hike with gorgeous views along the way. There were a few icy patches making trek poles or ice trekkers useful but not necessary. Other than that a great day hike trail.

4 months ago

It gets really snowy at the top, but we actually couldn’t find the summit unfortunately but the hike was beautiful and I totally recommend it! Prepare for 2-3.5 hours of hiking.

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