Explore the most popular backpacking 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.

We did four days in Rocky Mountain this spring - two nights at the Andrew's Creek site and a night at Glacier Gorge. I thought both regions of the park were incredible, but Andrew's really blew me away.

So much water everywhere. Not only will you be well hydrated, but you'll be spoiled with some of the best tasting water I've ever had.

The last leg of the hike up to the glacier is a tough one, especially in early June. Signage is lacking and the footprints of previous hikers led me to a dangerous scramble up the gash. Unless you're hiking in late summer, I'd suggest you either really study up or take your time with a topographic map and compass.

I shouldn't complain though, because the final destination was breathtaking - endless wildflowers and little critters surrounded the tarn and made for a perfect lunch break.

Highly recommended.

As others have said, very tough parking depending on that day you attempt your hike. Also, you are very exposed so don't get stuck too far out if any storms are in the area. At 2 miles out, it gets pretty steep and really rocky. That might be the point to stop with kids. Stunning views.

A really cool hike with wonderful views. It's not an easy hike so be prepared to work! From the trailhead it's straight up...no warm up!

You access this trail by going up about 8 miles on Old Fall River Road. It's hard to miss the trailhead if you're looking for the standard RMNP trailhead marker/board.

Some additional notes:
-Per GAIA GPS App: 8.28 miles, 2919' ascent, 4:39 hours (26 minutes stoppage time)
-Had a tough start so I didn't hit the trail until 7am... only three other cars at that time but no parking left when I returned (around noon)
-I summited Ypsilon with five others around 930am and saw probably 20 others on descent
-The path up Ypsilon is (kinda) marked with cairns but they're not great
-The Chiquita Moubtain Bypass trail is rarely marked...I was glad to have GPS for my descent to stay somewhere near the intended trail
-My GPS track: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/WVXW9aBjqS5I9mQst1j0Jdkf

I don’t know why the app says this trail is easy. It’s moderate-hard and the end is very steep. A beginner can do it, but still.
Great views though. I would do it again.

Just hiked it yesterday. Given the crazy amounts of people on the trail, we somehow had the lake to ourselves for the whole time we stayed up there. Maybe it was due to the late hour of our hike (we got to the lake around 5 pm) or maybe because it’s an extra mile-long spur off from the main trail. The lake was pretty and peaceful, not too spectacular, but definitely worth checking out.

Made this trip on 7/27 as the way down from Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. Was hard to pick a line to glissade down so spent the trip down the glacier slipping and sliding on foot and on my rear end. Took me about 7 hours round trip. Great trip but route down from the tarn was more rock climbing (descending) than hiking. Add this to your list and do it.

We used this as our exfil after traversing from Hallett Peak and glissading down Andrews Glacier. Makes about a 12 mile loop and it was amazing. Andrews Tarn is like an infinity pool.

Right off road to alpine visitor center, parking can be tough.

Saw elk across the way at the start. Saw numerous marmots.

Views were great from the get-go. Just different being in the tundra. If you go to RMNP then do one tundra hike, this may be true easiest trail option. . Don't even have to do the whole trail, as the views might be the best in the beginning.

Did this on the way back from Sky Pond on the morning of August 2. In contrast to that trail, we had the trip to Andrews completely to ourselves. This is by no means an easy hike -- the trail is poorly marked and eventually peters out, there's a ton of boulder scrambling, and the final approach to the base of the glacier is very steep -- but the adventure, the views, and the solitude were all outstanding. Would definitely recommend for serious hikers interested in a worthy challenge.

A 4 outta 5. The lake and Bridal Falls made it worth it. The back part of the loop is indeed hot but it's a little ridiculous to complain about it!

I got a late start with my 19 month old daughter - left the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead at 830am on a Monday (7/30/18) and did the loop counter clockwise. I ended around 330pm. I gotta be honest, it was tough sledging on the last ascent on the backside of the loop. Mostly because I was carrying my daughter in a pack which weighed ~47 pounds and I was getting worn down.

A few things:

-Per GAIA GPS: 13.08 miles, 2,790' ascent, 7:18 hours (1:36 of stoppage time - lunch at the falls, water filtration, diaper changes).
-I was surprised at the lack of people. Saw ~8 people between TH and Gem Lake. Probably ~5 between Gem Lake and Bridal Falls area. ~12 around the Falls. ~10 from Falls, around back part of loop, and TH (mostly within a mile of TH).
-Water is pretty much everywhere. I refilled near the Falls.

We did the trail from Trail Ridge to Beaver Meadows trail head, 6.5 miles, taking the descent down. The descent was very steep and rocky, fell twice but not injured. Not for kids...

great hike, spectacular views. however, do not underestimate the difficulty. honestly, I would recommend helmets and gloves as the odds a lot of bouldering, many not stable. absolutely no trail guidance.

Favorite alpine hike so far offering fantastic vistas. We stopped before the descent choosing instead to watch the elk and explore the point just to the south of the trail decent. Parking is indeed a problem but a few small pull-out areas just below on Route 34 were clear. Be prepared for wind with a light fleece and windbreaker with another layer available just in case the temps drop suddenly. The weather up there is always in flux up there.

Tough trail. The backside of the loop has little shade so gets hot this time of year, but there are tons of wildflowers right now.

Outstanding hike.You can do this in about 4 mile round trip and 700' elevation change. The hike is much more difficult than advertised due to high elevation and high wind speeds. The return hike up hill in 40-50 MPH winds is tough! That said totally worth it! Fantastic views all around plus no crowds! To view the RMNP valley area you do need to go all the way to where the trail starts decent down (2 miles out)

Great hike. No snow. No bugs. I did see a park ranger smoking a cigarette on the trail. That was very disappointing

you can't actually Park at this destination Point. Don't follow the directions. you have to park at the North Fork trailhead. that then takes you to the Miller Fork Trail. lots of elevation gain. Beautiful views. No one else on the trail.

What a thrill! If you're planning on attempting to summit, I would arrive at the trailhead no later than 5 or 5:30 AM, and then you have to be ready for 9-10 hours of pretty difficult work. The reward is well worth it! Take your time climbing the Spearhead, the trail is often obscured. I'll definitely be going back!

Did this with Sky Pond for an epic half day adventure. Two thumbs up!

Yes! These includes all the best lakes!

Spruce lake isn't that amazing. And I would strongly suggest to start at fern lake trailhead, and walk all the way to bear lake, and take the bus from there back to your car. Same distance, more lakes.

Nice hike for sure. Please do yourself a favor and add at least skypond! As of mid june, still some snow

Hiked on 6/2. Didn’t do this hike specifically (did the Bear Lake to Fern Lake TH, with detour to Spruce), but I can say it’s a pretty consistent climb up to Fern Lake. Passing Fern Falls is a highlight; very cool. Fern Lake is incredibly beautiful. I would also highly recommend continuing to Odessa a lake if you have the time and energy. No snow the whole way on 6/2 (just a bit along the creek if you go to Odessa). In terms of Spruce Lake, the hike up isn’t too long, but it’s unmaintained and slightly difficult to navigate in some spots. I briefly lost the trail a couple times and had to backtrack. Look for the cairns when crossing the rocky sections. Spruce Lake itself is gorgeous - seems to be very underrated and under-visited. There was a little bit of snow near the lake, but otherwise it was dry. I had the trail all to myself and just saw two people fishing on the other side of the lake. If you want some solitude and great scenery that’s off the beaten path, this is a great hike.

Beautiful but windy! Full of marmots!!

Really enjoyed this hike and was very challenging!! Once I reached the base of Andrews it was hard to find the trail!! I went up the middle which was not the best route but it was tracked by others. Many boulders and very difficult to find the beaten path so pick a line and go!! Made it to the Glacier it was pretty amazing and thank god there were a few experienced hikers of this trail on top top show me the best way down. Would like to try again and summit Ottis!!

hiking
2 months ago

Easy trail with excellent views and lots of animals!

We are from Kansas and like to hike this trail first thing when we arrive at RMNP to help acclimate to the altitude faster as it's a high altitude trail but not strenuous. Stunning tundra views. Lots of elk and marmots out. The trail is rocky and above the treeline so it can get windy and cold -- bring good shoes and layers with a windbreaker or similar in order to stay comfortable, as well as sunscreen.

Recommend going early. We hit the trailhead at about 7:30 AM and by about 9:30-10:00 AM as we were leaving there were dozens of people milling around, especially near the first ~mile of the trail.

Took this trail on 6/9 and the trail was great. Fantastic views of the peaks and lakes. Saw 2 elk it was a little hard to walk the trail bc there were so many different size rocks in the path and you had to step carefully so not to twist your ankle. Stunning views to look down on the lakes from above tree line. Very windy near mid day.

Some snow starting just before Loch Lake. Lots of snow once you take the fork to Andrews Tarn. I had micro spikes and poles and that was enough to get up the snow field to the tarn. You probably could have made it without either but I wax cautious. Didn’t attempt the glacier but it looked like you would need crampons. Super gorgeous, only saw one other person on the last leg of the trail. Plenty of people hiking up to Alberta Falls the Loch Lake so I would start before seven if you’re going on a weekend. I started around 7:45.

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