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

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kid friendly

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waterfall

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Estes Park, Colorado Map
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My husband and I have been on soooo many hikes. Not only inside the RMNP but all over Colorado. This one is by far my favorite one! Make sure you go during the summer time, last year we tried going up there several times,as early as April and we lost the trail under about 6 feet of stiff snow! We thought we were on the trail until we checked in AllTrailsApp... we were way off. The trail itself is pretty moderate. A little rough at times, so not so many people once you get up there. Which we actually love, we take our lunch up there and enjoy the quietness. It’s definitely not crowded like the surrounding lakes (Bear, Emerald)... the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the lake no matter where you stand! It’s so beautiful. Can’t wait to be back this year!

Had a beautiful hike today! I made it to black lake and it was great. Started at the trailhead at 8:45 and got back about 1:15. I would’ve liked to take more breaks but I was racing a storm so I had to hustle. The trails were completely covered with snow but packed well enough that you weren’t falling through every other step. I had crampons which were a huge help. After Mills Lake the trail levels out for a bit but the final push to Black Lake is pretty steep. I was very lucky that I had the whole trail all by myself.

Hiked it April 21 and snowshoes or skis are a must, unless you want to sink in the snow, especially at the higher elevations. It was very windy above the treeline and I lost the trail, but just keep heading up. Spectacular views, although the clouds were rolling in, but the sun split through the clouds. I want to do this trail again.

I did this trail on 4/22/18 with no spikes and a walking stick. Parts of this trail got really sketchy without spikes. I got through it but would definitely not recommend going with just hiking boots, it got real dangerous but the view at the top is really amazing. Took me 4hrs to go there and back

Did this today. Perfectly clear, warm morning which was wonderful. The first 2 miles were great with hiking boots and micro spikes, but the last .75 had lots of post-holing and wet socks. Can be done without snowshoes, but I would recommend them if you're looking for a trouble free hike. Super easy (no hard climbs or switchbacks) and lots of fresh mountain air!

Started at 7:00 AM with one other car in the parking lot. About 1" of fresh snow on the ground. Need to walk up the closed road about 1/2 mile to get to trailhead. The trail was easy to follow and packed. Had 1-2" of fresh snow for the most part with hardpack and ice below. As you got close to the scree field near the summit, larger snow drifts. No snow shoes required, spikes highly recommended due. Trail easy to follow up the scree to the radio tower. Gorgeous 360 degree view on top as well as into RMNP, Meeker and Longs Peak. Headed down around 11:00 and met fairly heavy traffic going up.

hiking
2 days ago

We had a friend in town from Sweden and after coming in Moab for a weekend- we hit the mountains for a quick hike. This was well trafficked for a mid week early June visit.

Not the prettiest hike in RMNP but easy to get to an manage if you have a short amount of time. It is a great drive up, take a hike, and drive out destination.

The Waterfall is very pretty.

4/21/18 Drop dead gorgeous views at every step! It has moderate steepness but the rewarding views are worth it! Definitely need microspikes! Some spots were a bit slippery/on edge!

Simple circle around the lake. Is a bit icy/muddy but not too bad. Has a few picnic tables around for use.

backpacking
2 days ago

A few friends and I hiked this trail about 2 weeks ago right after it snowed about 3 feet. It was the most beautiful and breathtaking hike I’ve ever done.

Nice hike! We went a week ago and the trail was still snowy. Deep snow if you leave the trail but if you stay on it’s packed down enough to walk. None of us wore spikes (very slippery, especially coming down) but we learned our lesson and will def rent or buy some for next time! It was a beautiful hike with views at the top.

Attempted this hike 2 times before in January and February but failed due to not having snowshoes and hiking through extremely dangerous winds, but finally finished the entire hike to Sky Pond on 4/15 with the proper equipment. The trail from Glacier Gorge should be 9.8 miles RT (rather than 8.1 miles according to this site) since it’s 2.2 miles to the split point between Loch Vale and Mills Lake, and then another 2.7 miles to Sky Pond from the split point.

By far my favorite hike I’ve done so far! Views throughout the entire hike were very scenic, rather than just one nice view at the end of the trail. The canyon and basin views were amazing throughout the hike and the frozen lakes (Loch Vale, Lake of Glass, and Sky Pond) were all extremely breathtaking. The first 2.2 miles of the trail were moderate with some slippery snow so I used my yaktrax. Once you pass Loch Vale you will definitely need snowshoes as the snow can get knee deep. The hike up to Lake of Glass from the basin area above the tree line was extremely steep and slippery, definitely the most difficult part of the trail, so take your time with this part (snowshoes not recommended for this part.) It took me 6.25 hours to finish the trip because of the snow and ice, it probably would have only taken me about 4 hours to complete if the trail was clear. Will definitely come back in the summer to hike it!

Hiking in the snow! Great scenery along the way! Many folks had skis or snow shoes, but I was just fine with crampons and poles. I had a really hard time with the lungs of flatlander, but you feel awesome when you come off that last ridge.

We started at Nymph Lake, intending to go to Alberta Falls and beyond, but we’re clearly unprepared as the trails were so packed they were like ice. So we came to try Cub Lake trail’s lower elevation and were not disappointed! It’s fairly flat in the early going but before too long it climbs and affords some great scenery. The lake itself is gorgeous and we had it all to ourselves, probably due to some light snow/sleet but it was no problem. This is a great first-day hike for people looking to acclimate before taking one of the more challenging hikes at higher elevations.

This was my first hiking experience in Colorado and I’ll never forget it. There are several scenic places along the trail that would each be worthy destinations. The last of the lakes on the trail, Emerald Lake, is a generous reward for a moderate half-day hike.

hiking
5 days ago

The trail up until about half mile to the falls was clear, the falls themselves are still covered with snow. I didn’t wear my spikes on the way up to the lake and didn’t have any problems. I love Fern Lake it’s beautiful. Just be careful, it looks frozen but don’t take your chances on it.. I wanted to go to Odessa Lake but started post holing around the boulder field.

hiking
5 days ago

What an amazing view at the top! This is a great hike to take visitors to. It's not too long, not too hard, and such an amazing payoff at the end!

As always, start early!

Only made it to Mills Lake, but it was beautiful. The weather can still be incredibly cold in the morning, but warms up significantly during the day. The trail conditions were a little sketchy at parts if you're not wearing crampons or snowshoes, but it's doable. Just prepare to sink into some soft spots. Especially once you get to the higher elevations.

hiking
5 days ago

Easy, but not just a walk. Great views of surrounding mountains, wildlife, and the falls. Saw elk, mule deer, and wild turkey. The cross trail from Black Canyon Trail to MacGregor Trail is NOT marked. I ended up going past a little, followed map back to spot... there is a signpost at the intersection shown on the map referencing the clearly visible turn to ‘Pear’ climbing area and also possible, very faint evidence of a social trail where the trail is supposed to be. I crossed there... it felt more like crossing a field, but it quickly connected to MacGregor Trail (starts out as dirt road which leads to additional trail to the falls).

Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Spikes were essential up to the Loch, and poles were helpful after the trail splits to Hiyaha. Wind was brisk at the Loch but calm enough to break for a snack. We’d made good time and decided to try for Sky Pond. Definitely a good decision, but snowshoes would have been helpful. Wind was pretty calm at Sky Pond, and the views were fantastic. Definitely recommend doing the full hike in the winter if you haven’t!

Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Spikes were essential up to the Loch, and poles were helpful after the trail splits to Hiyaha. Wind was brisk at the Loch but calm enough to break for a snack. We’d made good time and decided to try for Sky Pond. Definitely a good decision, but snowshoes would have been helpful. Wind was pretty calm at Sky Pond, and the views were fantastic. Definitely recommend doing the full hike in the winter if you haven’t!

An easy, pretty trail. I particularly enjoyed the wildflowers around the lake.

This trail starts out going downhill so it's harder to come back than to get to the falls. It can get really busy and the views of the falls aren't really great. You can't get far enough away to really see well. I think the hike is worth the effort but not something I'm dying to do again, like Mills Lake.

Extremely popular trail. We started at 6:30 in the morning and didn't have to share Emerald Lake with too many people, so going early will earn you a little more serenity. It's gorgeous all the way there.

Only went as far as Mills Lake, but we hope to go farther next time. This hike is amazing. We saw bighorn sheep on the mountaintops above us, so don't forget to look up while you're there.

RMNP is one of my favorite places. This hike was beautiful from beginning to end, I was unable to see the actual falls because of the packed snow. We hiked in a Blizzard the entire time and also lost the trail because it covered peoples footsteps. You can actually climb up to the falls because it is frozen and covered in snow. The sign for Alberta Falls is very small, so you can pass it if not attentive. Bathrooms on the trail head : )

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked on 4/17/2018. Left Long's Peak Ranger station at 9:15am and reached Chasm Lake at 12:00pm. Did the whole trail with micro-spikes only. Trail is well traveled and well packed. Micro spikes a must. Weather was perfect on the way up, clear and a little windy. On the way back around 1:30pm it got really windy and started snowing. I made a hustle to get back to the treeline as fast as possible. Made it back to the Ranger station at 2:15pm.

Love it. Amazing views!

Hiked this on a Monday, 4/16 ~0930. Only shared the trail with 1 other couple but the lot was filled by the time we left. Microspikes absolutely needed, gorgeous hike! Can be difficult to find the trail at first, just take a left at the huge boulder after Nymph

hiking
7 days ago

We hiked this with 4 kids aged 5 through 9. We made many stops along the way but was delightfully enjoyed by all. We were there in July, the trail was crowded but less so as we passed the first two lakes. We swam in the lake, it was wicked cold, and then basked in sun on the large rocks to dry off. Great times by all.

hiking
7 days ago

We hiked with our young kids. Very family friendly.

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