Explore the most popular birding 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.

one of the most beautiful and fulfilling hikes i’ve ever done - every step was truly so worth it. definitely get started early to avoid the crowds. it was nice to have the lakes to ourselves for a little while before a lot of people started showing up. if you want a great “rocky mountain experience” this is definitely the hike for you. couldn’t recommend highly enough.

Very easy and beautiful. Keep walking for more of a challenge and an even better view.

If you're willing to climb up some rocks along the waterfall, you'll be rewarded with a great view. The trail itself is very short, but it would be challenging for anyone who was not very sure-footed.

Horses clearly come through here, because we were walking around their droppings the whole time. The dry dirt circular path is underwhelming compared to the other paths in the park, but it is very easy to walk.

hiking
20 hours ago

I've done this trial two years in a row now, and I legit think I’m doing it next year too. It’s such a peaceful and refreshing view, and it’s a moderate hike that is worth it. Through, in parts this year the trail was hard to follow/find, but still ridiculously fun.

Good hike. Loved the massive boulders. My 10 year old did this with me and we were probably the third hikers to Balanced rock this morning. We had the lake all to ourselves with a few friendly chipmunks. It rained on our way back to gem lake TH but we saw more people climbing up to the lake. The rain helped cool us down as there were a few steep climbs on this trail.

hiking
21 hours ago

Amazing trail with plenty of water view and river trail!

Was a great trip

Do you like rolling your ankle? Do you like busy trails? This is the trail for you then. The trail is clearly visible until the scramble to the top on the near peak, I stayed on the northwest side and found a route suitable for me without any issues. The worst part of the trail, other then being really rocky, was a stretch right after the washed out area. Lots of incline there. For me slow and steady wins the race. Great views from the top. I wanted to go to the second peak but I could see storms moving in so I left.

hiking
23 hours ago

Great trail, rained on us but other than that it was awesome!!!

Was warned about the crowds, so we left the Bear Lake parking lot at 6:45 AM. Hike was peaceful and spectacular. We stopped 3-4 times to catch our breath. We hiked at a modest pace and finished in two hours.

Beautiful hike... Well-marked and easy to follow. It will fall between easy to moderately-difficult depending on the person. The last bit of the trail leading up to Emerald Lake is the most challenging portion: a steep incline with LOTS of stairs. Dream Lake and Emerald Lake are breathtaking and well worth it, though. I gave it four stars because of how heavily trafficked it was. If you are looking for a peaceful wilderness experience... this may not be the choice for you. Lots of people, loud voices, and cell phones at every turn.

This was a great hike with breathtaking views... My partner and I started around 7:45 AM and reached the summit just after 9:30. We spent about an hour at the peaks before heading back down, and we reached our car around 12:00. We traveled at a brisk pace with a few stops to hydrate and catch our breaths. The air is thin and dry, so take your time, and (as always) bring more water than you think you’ll need. As many of the previous reviewers have stated, I would rank this hike as more moderately-difficult than hard. The trail has a slight incline most of the way with a few steep portions in between. It is rocky/jagged towards the end, at the summit, and on the way back down, so wear footwear that have protective soles lest you hurt your feet. The majority of the hike is in the forest- very shady and peaceful... Overall, this hike is a great choice for inexperienced hikers. Very doable, and the views will definitely not disappoint!

mills lake was awesome...hike is fairly crowded, but a lot better once you get past Alberta falls...the lake and landscape is a must see!

So beautiful

hiking
1 day ago

Climbed Longs Peak to celebrate my 50th birthday. Had a great group of friends and my son along. It was my first 14er and was an awesome experience.

hiking
1 day ago

A must do, but patience is needed. We did a lot of stopping along the way to explore and enjoy the incredible views. Rained a bit while we were on this trail, but it just made things more beautiful. We saw a herd of elk about a mile before the rangers station. Incredible day!

hiking
1 day ago

Very peaceful and good place to have an impromptu lunch.

This was the perfect hike for my wife and I’s first time being in Rocky Mountain National Park! Get there between 6:00 and 6:30am. We arrived around 6:45 and there were no more spots to park. However, we found a small parking lot for about 10 cars a 1/2 mile before the trail head so we just walked up to the trial head. Scaling the waterfall is not as hard as some people say it is if you are in good shape. It’s fairly easy, but I see how it could be difficult for those who aren’t in great shape. The view from the top was breathtaking. All Trails says it is 8.1 but it around 9.8 according to the map at the start of the trail. Also, if you are worried about being the only one on the trail with all the wildlife in RMNP then this is the perfect trail for you! I think there were in sight of my wife and I almost the entire hike. It took us about 2.5 hours to go up and 1.5 hours to come down. We highly recommend this hike!

Definitely quite the trek going up, the switchbacks were a little difficult as I hadn’t adjusted to the altitude yet. Great views of the park on the way up. Once at the top there are a lot of options to go to other areas such as bear lake and Hollowell Park. The lake has ducks that are super friendly and cute, and it is a super scenic lake, very peaceful.

A little difficult to find, but very few people. Good hike.

Beautiful scenery at every turn, and very, very crowded. I would rate this hike as Easy-Moderate. Half the trail is literally paved and the second half is well maintained stair steps. Our 5 year old tackled this with no problems.

Beautiful hike! I’d say moderate. “Hardest” part was climbing the waterfall. Get there early!

hiking
2 days ago

Gets slightly tougher towards the summit but the views are totally worth the hike. Moderate difficulty for some stunning views.

First time hike for my brother and I both. We went June 20th 2018 and the weather couldn't have been better. We took our time and really enjoyed the trail and everything along the way. The rock scramble at the top may seem discouraging but do not let that stop you, the amazing 360 view at the top is worth every bit of effort!!! Highly recommend this trail!

took our young children and really enjoyed it! challenging but doable for them. plenty of shade and places to stop. breathtaking scenery.

Crowded, but beautiful. Enjoyed the beauty!

2 days ago

Not dog friendly, wanted to hike it but was under the impression dogs were allowed. Once we got there and wanted hike there was a big sign that said NO DOGS ALLOWED. Least to say we didn't get to hike. what a big disappointment. Please, update your information.

Thanks,
Misty Neal

Once you get past the scramble, finding the path to Sky Pond is very difficult. Walk along the lake & it will bring you to Sky Pond!

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