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.

Great hike. We completed this on 5/6/18. The current conditions are AMAZING! No ice. Spikes and snowshoes are NOT needed. There was a teeny bit of snow towards the top of the last climb, but nothing that required traction or poles. There were a few sporadic wildflowers and I think this hike will really come to life in the next week or 2!

I did this hike with a larger group of five people ... it was an awesome experience. Completed over two days, we began at Bear Lake and camped one night at Andrew's Creek. As with the Odessa Lake Via Fern Lake Trail the mosquitos were a big issue, be prepared for them if you're there during spawning season, they're hungry. Despite the rangers blasé attitude that they wouldn't be an issue, they were; a mosquito net and bug spray are light and easy to carry, just do it whether you think you'll need them or not..

Starting very early the next morning we ascended Andrew's Glacier to summit Mount Otis. Be sure to have micro-spikes and an ice axe, honestly crampons would be ideal as this is a steep hill to climb, very challenging. At one point I was having to stop often to catch my breath. The slide down is a lot of fun though.

From Andrew's Creek to Mount Otis is about 2K in elevation gain, after completing Andrew's Glacier you'll need to do some bouldering to summit. This isn't a cake walk so come prepared!

Backside has kneedeep snow the entire way, definitely need snowshoes right now! Go towards Gem Lake if you are doing the entire loop, or you'll have a bad time.

where the trail splits to go to Andrews glacier is it covered in snow. snowshoes are required at this point. I hiked maybe 1/4 mile in microspikes but the postholing was just too often so I had to abort and turn around.

It’s quite pleasant in certain spans but definitely challenging. Think I spent 2.3 miles going up hill only near the 7 mile mark of the loop. Came to a sign to continue west and chose to continue the loop and the next 3.8 miles was down hill and cut through private property, which a sign states and to stay on the trail. Great views especially if you head to Gem lake trail first. On the way you can sit out on a boulder overhang and take in the valleys of Estes Park. Great view. Gem lake was beautiful it’s just too bad some idiot decided to throw his sprite bottle on the lake ice.

This isn't an easy one but well worth the effort.

Very good trail, but somewhat overdone with improvements.

Big payoff for little effort. Tundra hiking, rocky but little elevation gain. Spectacular views. Took the advise of other reviewers and stopped as it began to descend. Steady 30 mph winds with gusts to 50. Took about 2.5 hrs stoping often for pictures.

Follow the cairns! The glacier is not visible until you reach the top but it's amazing!

Amazing hike with breathtaking views throughout the entire hike. We started at the Glacier Gorge Trail Head and headed for Alberta Falls, it was pretty crowded in the beginning but cleared out a lot after you pass this point. About 2 miles in you will get to a point where you can go left to Mills Lake or right to Loch Vale and Andrews Glacier, I would highly recommend taking a slight detour and checking out Mills Lake. Once you get to Loch Lake follow signs to Andrews Glacier which takes you all the way around the lake, there are multiple spots to hang out and have lunch while enjoying the gorgeous views. After you pass the lake you will reach a fork in the trail where you can keep going straight or go right to head to Andrews Glacier (The trail is kind of hidden so look out for signs). The climb up wasn't too difficult but took a little longer due to the high elevation. Once you get up there there are options for back country camping, would love to do that next time!

This was an amazing hike! Started at Bear Lake trailhead and hiked up to the Loch. The hike to the Loch was a little crowded but after leaving this area the crowds pretty much disappeared. Near the Andrews campsite area we saw an extremely large bear across the meadow! He saw us and worked his way up the rocks and observed the meadow for 5-10 minutes and came back down and disappeared. We continued on our hike and it was well worth it. A little bit of scrambling is required for the last 45min or so but nothing too hard for any experienced hikers. I would still rate this hike as hard but it wasn't overwhelming for me. This is one of my favorite hikes in the park and Ill be going back again before the weather changes!

Good for an easy day hike with good views!! Views are beyond amazing. Rocky, so still need to wear good shoes. Chilly because it is above the tree line. Only caution would be to watch for the trail sign, it's pretty small.

This is a nice challenging trail. Since it starts outside of the park, it was much less crowded than other trails in the park. Pretty views, although not as spectacular as some of the other Rocky Mountain park trails. I thought the falls was a little underwhelming. I did enjoy the up and down and variety of this trail. We had lots of sun and were quite exposed towards the end, so it became a bit hot. We also encountered an Elk which was pretty cool/a bit scary!

Beautiful views on this trail. We were only able to go halfway until a storm approached quickly and had to turn around. Would love to do it again!

Beautiful hike with soaring vistas.

If you don't have a lot of time at RMNP then skip this, a lot more hikes in the park worth the time and effort

Stipulations on this hike. Cut it in half for sure. As you can see from the topo, there is a very steep drop off about half way. I would say it's a park the car, take a half hour to walk out along the ridge, and then go back to your car for a different hike that day-- there's no way I would go down that decline and then turn around and come back up. We planned to connect to beaver mountain trail and had a friend pick us up down in the valley-- that's the way to do it if you want to continue.

10 months ago

Did half of this hike noon on Sunday, 7/9/2017.

As mentioned, only went as far as just before the valley. Some incline in the beginning of the hike, but nothing crazy. The trail is easy to follow, and is half dirt and half rocks. Not very crowded. Nice views of the park.

7.8.2017. We started running into snowbanks below Black Lake and up the wide chute that drains into Black Lake. Good to have microspikes. The snow was cold enough that we didn't posthole (luckily!).

It was a pretty long day, 10 hours on the trail, even though we didn't get to attempt The Spearhead itself due to rain, thunder, and lightning. Well worth the efforts, for those who make it that far into the backcountry.

First 1 mile kinda boring-the rest gorgeous. The part along creek was gorgeous with rocks and flowers. Up hill after that to lookout -so many aspens. Only saw the dirt bikes-and two hikers.

One of my favorite hikes to date. Absolutely stunning views with light traffic. Little bit of an incline at the beginning but then the trail evens out till you get to the ridge. If you're looking for an easy hike to see the peaks and captures beautiful pictures then this hike is for you. If you"re wanting a little more of a workout, head down the ridge into the valley. Remember to stay on the trail as it is all tundra!

Beautiful hike and great chance of seeing herds of elk. We stop at the large pile of rocks before the decent into the valley.

We skipped the falls and went to balanced rock instead. it's a long loop, but is very beautiful.

Beautiful views. The perfect morning hike.

Easy out and back with amazing views!! We stopped just before tree line so we didn't have to climb back up to the ridge.

Great hike with a variety of thing to see. Not many people on the trail other then from Gem lake down to the lot which is full of people.

We did this on Saturday 6/10. We woke up late and didn't get to the park until around 8/8:30am. The parking lot was full so we parked about 0.5 miles from the trailhead on the side of the road. If you go on a weekend get there early to beat the Gem Lake hikers. Once you pass a very crowded and very small Gem Lake you won't see many people on the trail until you get to the Cow Creek trail. It was crowded at Bridal Veil Falls (which is also a very small area). There was a wedding that was ending as we got there. Some people had problems on the rocks leading to the falls but the trail is decently marked and it's not too long until you are there. Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen given the lack of tree cover on this hike. Some hikers spotted a brown bear right off trail but we only saw friendly chipmunks. I found it to be more moderate than hard. You go up and down hill versus all up and all down so that made it challenging on the last half of the hike. Very beautiful views along the way.

Unbelievable views from pretty much all points on the trail. If you want to get a little ambitious, there are some good overlook points a short climb down the valley. Would highly recommend checking those out.

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