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. 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
1 month 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.

Did this trail on 6/7...beautifully rugged trail. Really cold, with strong winds. Bundle up!

Hiked this one on 6/4. It’s a really great tundra, ridge line trail. Has an even amount of uphill and downhill spots. The day we hiked the wind was intense so bring layers and wind breakers if planning to do it. Remember you’re above tree line for this. Over all the hike is easy to moderate, with quite a few rocky points. Took me about an hour to hike out to the tombstone ridge, and I go at an easy pace. I will say please stay on the trail even if rocky or muddy. Tundra terrain is very delicate. We saw a few hikers not walking on the trail, please don’t hurt the environment!

rock climbing
1 month ago

Hands down best trail! So peaceful and the view the entire time was majestic. Very rocky, so wear good shoes. It was easy-moderate for me (a beginner).

Did this hike on 6/3/18. Really enjoyed this one! Amazing views and relatively flat/easy. Turned around at the big descent point. Trail was not too busy. Enough parking for 8 or so vehicles at the trail head.

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacking trip June 1—3, 2018. This was a fairly moderate hike even with a bacKpack. We stayed at the Tonahutu horse camp site after making an attempt to reach Haynack Lake on the first day. The reviews that talked about the trail not visible is true if you are rushing. Thru careful use of the AllTrails app and the downloaded layers we found the trail but decided to proceed the following day. We started late and sun was setting. You need daylight to get an accurate read of the trail. Downed trees and about 90% of the trail covered in snow as you start from the HAYNACH LAKE. (LLAMAS PERMITTED) trail. ⬅️ this is the trail you have to be on to go to Haynach Lakes. You will start uphill and about 1000 feet the snow will begin. The whole area is covered in snow 100%!
You will need snowshoes. Or you will post hole. Most definitely. You will see two lakes before you get to Haynach Lake. And they were frozen 100%. Gorgeous area! Well worth the effort and I agree with AllTrails. This is a lightly traffic area that I favor myself! Nobody was on the Haynach Lake Llamas trail at all. The best!

The trail is not shaded well enough. Definitely not a good hike for sunny and hot days. The views close to Gem lake were great. My GPS shows 13 miles and 2740 ft elevation gain. I did the loop clockwise.

Great views & not difficult if you turn back before the descent.

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.

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