While it is always important to check the weather before you leave for a hike, unfortunately weather forecasts don’t mean a whole lot in Colorado. Know your limits and the equipment you have. The hike gains 1,180 feet in elevation with the highest point being 9,786 feet. Greenwood & Myers Mortuary in Frederick provides full mortuary services to families in Northern Colorado, including affordable cremation options. Now do keep in mind that the trailhead to this beginner hike is about 13 miles from Estes Park at the southeast corner of the park at the Wild Basin Trailhead. A pass is needed for accessing any of the trails in the park and dogs are not allowed. This trail can receive horrible weather all year round. This hike features sweeping fields of wildflowers in the spring. While viewing wildlife might be your reason to travel to Estes Park and hike, always be cautious and keep your distance. It is also recommended to bring a map and compass on this trail as backup. Trails below 8,700 feet (2,700 m) make great winter hikes, sometimes without the aid of skis or snow shoes. Additional forest access can be found at Hermit Park Open Space (entrance fees apply); and the Lily Mountain Trailhead, 5.8 miles south of town along Highway 7. The homesteads are well marked with information plaques, and you will see markers to other homesteads down shorter trails. “A lot of people, especially tourists, think that it’s a lot more straightforward than it actually is. Since this trail does take you into Rocky Mountain National Park, you will have to follow Park rules. Gem Lake: A Great Hike Outside RMNP - See 124 traveler reviews, 179 candid photos, and great deals for Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, at Tripadvisor. You can learn more about our editorial and affiliate policy here. The apartment you’ve been looking for in Boulder is at Habitat Apartments! A new wood floor will transform the interior like nothing else. This hike can be completed all year long, but requires the use of snowshoes and possibly crampons in the winter months. There are plenty of lodging options in Estes Park, but renting a cabin is the way to go for a truly authentic Rocky Mountain experience. It was breathtaking.”. Meeker and Longs Peak, the two highest peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. I did a lot of hiking on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Keep your distance, use the zoom on your camera if you want a picture, then move along. Why you should go: What better way to find some solitude than in a place called Hermit Park? The 7 Best Hikes in Estes Park, Colorado. Located in Roosevelt National Forest, this is a popular and relatively short trail used for backpacking. A perfect rest day activity, or fun addition to walking around town, enjoying the Lake Estes Trail is fun for all ages and activities. This trail is open year-round and is a great snow-shoe hike in the winter. Estes Park is packed with its own epic trails and peaks. – Gem Lake: This moderate, 3.5-mile round trip hike begins at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead along Devils Gulch Road. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. If you’re looking to trade in the sleeping bag for a king size bed, then take a look at our top picks for the best glamping in Colorado. Cow Creek trailhead is near the historic McGraw Ranch, at the end of McGraw Ranch Road, which can be found north of Estes Park off Devils Gulch Road (Limited parking). Dogs are allowed (on leash) on this trail. The Walker and Griffith homesteads and cabins will be the first that you come to; you can go further and find the Irvin homestead and sawmill, Laycock, Hill, and Boren Homesteads. Roundtrip, the hike to Calypso Cascades is 3.6 miles. Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. But this trail will make you sweat! Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park. To access the 1/2 mile loop hike around Sprague Lake, cross the bridge near the parking area. Nymph Lake. – Lily Lake: This easy, 0.8-mile hike is located at the Lily Lake Trailhead near Estes Park. Parking for this trail can be tricky. There are no grocery stores in Rocky Mountain National Park. Seen in: Colorado, Colorado Hiking, Hike, Rockies. Cub Lake. While this paved trail isn’t the most extreme or doesn’t take you up an iconic summit, Lake Estes still makes the cut for this article because it’s just fun. With several people having gone missing in the park just this year alone and with limited emergency services currently operating, it’s more important than ever to be careful, said Charley Dickey, the president of the Estes Valley Partners for Commerce. Moose are also very abundant in this area and are known to become aggressive when they feel threatened. Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. Hiking safety and popular trails outside RMNP, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Trail Ridge Road Closes To Through Travel For The Season, Some help is on the way for small businesses, View from the top of the Estes Cone in Rocky Mountain National Park — VIDEO, Inside Arts: Local author James Kaiser combines writing and photography. When the road is closed to traffic, hiking … The quick access to food and water from higher altitude canyons and mountains makes this an ideal spot for local wildlife to move through. Hike .8 mi at elevation 8,690’ Iconic views across the lake of the Continental Divide peaks above Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National ... Bear Lake. Both Dickey and Protsnan said that there should never be any shame in asking someone who is more experienced for help and advice. Lumpy Ridge – Twin Owls Loop. Moose especially love this lakeside spot to search for food. Your best bet is to get familiar with weather patterns and be able to recognize any dangerous looking clouds. After guiding several trips through the Western Slope Desert, Daniell fell in love with climbing desert towers and overnight canoe trips down the Colorado River. The lake is a great setting for a picnic. As part of the Hermit Park open space, the hike to Kruger Rock is spectacular and one of our favorite accessible hikes outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. Kruger Rock Trail is an out-and-back trail that is very popular among locals. Why you should go: Earn these epic views and summit the rightfully named Lookout Mountain! Check out the Stanley Hotel. Be sure to pause at the bridge to look for trout. Daniell is a freelance writer based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Emerald Lake is one of the most accessible hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. This trailhead is free to park and enter, but it is just a small pull-off on Highway 7 so parking can be limited. “Any entry to the park during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk,” said Rocky Mountain National Park Public Information Officer Kyle Patterson in a statement following the shutdown. Lake Irene. Bierstadt Lake Trail. Why you should go: Enjoy a thick forest scene, great vistas, and amazing views at the top of this popular trail. We suggest trying these trails out: Lily Lake: The Lily Lake Trail encircles the pristine Lily Lake for 0.8 miles with very little grade, or incline. Here’s our list of the top hikes in RMNP if you’re just looking for in-park options. Why you should go: Hike up to one of the most accessible alpine lakes in the Estes Park area! Old Fall River Road is a one-way dirt road that winds all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center. Another important precaution that can save lives: don’t be afraid to turn around. More in the need of a classic cocktail? Lumpy Ridge is a massive granite rock outcropping just to the north of Estes Park. Find the best hiking and backpacking underwear options for men, including one brand the author hiked in for 3,000 miles. “Be familiar with where you’re going, don’t go alone and let somebody know where you’re going,” he said. It has since been mostly restored, but the trail can be difficult to find at times, especially in snow. J Day’s Appliance... Tyler is the Trail-Gazette's managing editor. Chasm Lake is a 9.5-mile hike with over 2,500 feet of elevation gain. Hiking Alternatives Outside Rocky Mountain National Park. Bierstadt Lake is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or afternoon snack before your hike back. He wants people to be aware of what they’re getting into when they set out to hike and the precautions they should take. Bottom line: don’t make a moose feel threatened! Bierstadt Lake is a family favorite! With the risk of going missing or getting injured while hiking in the park being marginally increased with the lack of emergency services operating right now, those that do choose to enter the park are encouraged to take the above precautions into account. Gem Lake is a short but strenuous hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park is just an hour drive from boulder and an hour and a half from Denver. Unlike other parts of Rocky Mountain National Park that are consistently busy and packed with people, the Lumpy Ridge area does not immediately connect with any trails that are popular among National Park hikers. While Lumpy Ridge is technically part of Rocky Mountain National Park, the trailhead lies just outside the Park’s borders and is free to park and enter. Located just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in the Roosevelt National Forest, Lily Mountain is one of the few dog-friendly hikes in the area and is included on RMNP trail maps. The “free-entry” aspect is what makes this area popular among climbers, but they leave the trail after the first 3-4 miles to scramble up to the rock faces. This gain brings you high into the Rockies and provides vast 360-degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park, Big Thompson Canyon, the Cache La Poudre Canyon, and the meadows below. This infamous hotel is said to have inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining,” and is one of the top places to visit during your stay in Estes Park. “These are pretty important and that’s what a lot of people have failed to do that have got in trouble and then didn’t get rescued because nobody knew where they were at.”. Around the lake, you’ll get views of Rocky Mountain National Park, the valleys that make up Estes Park, the infamous Stanley Hotel, and you can even catch a glimpse of the Lumpy Ridge rock formations to the north. Choose from plenty of great family hikes in Rocky Mountain National park. Estes Park hikes for kids. Dog Friendly Hikes near Estes Park, Colorado. A map and compass is highly recommended on this trail. Some of these trails will add another mile or so onto your hike, but this hike is more of an adventure anyway so why not? The trail crosses this creek several times, so come prepared with waterproof hiking shoes or Chacos! Boulder Hardwood Flooring provides... Find the top appliances from Frigidaire, Maytag and Whirlpool right now at J. Day’s Appliance in Loveland! Instead, it travels through the Roosevelt National Forest. Dickey has summited every 14er in the state at least twice and has bagged over 500 peaks in total. 1. The Bulwark Ridge and Indian Trails will take you to Miller Fork Trail which will then take you to Donner Pass. There is an unobstructed view of the entire mountain range. You will enjoy great amenities, like a playground,... Are you remodeling your home? The hike offers outstanding views of Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, as well as Mt. The elevation gain is just 10 feet, with the highest elevation point being 8,940 feet. If you have hiked in the northern Colorado area before, you’ve probably been warned about frequent afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months. This is my type of hiking. Sprague Lake. The hotel’s bar and restaurant are open to the public and I highly recommend at least having one cocktail in their historically preserved bar. With mountain views, a pristine lake, wildflowers, and wildlife we’re not ... Lily Mountain. 1. Best traveled between May and October, the Donner Pass Trail is a lightly trafficked out-and-back trail. – Lily Mountain: This is a moderate, four-mile round trip hike located just south of Estes Park along Colo. 7. Here are the best waterfalls near RMNP and Estes Park, CO, in no particular order:. If you're seeking trails that explore deeper into the backcountry of the park, check out our list of the Top 10 Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park . Enjoy the pleasantries, because after these meadows, you’ll be heading straight up a few steep sections through a forested mountain up to Kruger Rock.The view at the top will absolutely be worth the haul. Emerald Lake Hike Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildlife is abundant on this trail, especially the unique birds and raptors that call this section of the Rocky Mountains home. Protsnan said the best way to get comfortable with hiking in the snow to mitigate risk is to just go out to a well-traveled zone. From the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, you’ll ascend the southeastern portion of Lumpy Ridge — a giant granite rock outcropping sculpted by 1.8 billion years of wind and water erosion. Hike up through thick forest, listen to trickling waterfalls, then walk through high alpine meadows until you find yourself at the famous Walker and Griffith homesteads. Even when you are in town you can enjoy a leisurely nature walk around Lake Estes. Although not in the park, Lily Mountain appears in the official park map. Black Bears are prominent in this area and are known to even take a stroll through town. Northeast of Estes Park, Crosier Mountain, near the town of Glen Haven, offers four trailheads with access to the forest: Garden Gate, Rainbow, North Fork, and Bulwark. But be prepared, this trail gets fairly steep towards the end. This is one of the easier lake hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you love mountains, this is the place for you. You must go down Dunraven-Glade Road and park at the Dunraven Trailhead. Some homesteads were burnt down in wildfires over the years, but most remain. Check out more of our hiking guides featuring the most epic terrain in the Rocky Mountains: 10 Best Hikes in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some that I recommend are Hidden Valley, Alluvial Fan, Moraine Park, and the Tundra Trails near the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. Views at the top will make for great sunrise/sunset hikes, and the wildflowers during the spring and summer months are certainly a sight to see. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. Kruger Rock. President Trump says he will not attend inauguration of President-elect Biden, Guest Op Eds: Current state of EPH Living Center alternatives evaluation, U.S. unemployment claims slip to still-high 787,000, Colorado Rep. Jason Crow recounts being trapped in House chamber as pro-Trump mob attacks Capitol, Jeep of woman thought to be missing in RMNP found near Poudre Canyon, VIDEO OF THE DAY: Geese flock on Lakes Estes, TIME LAPSE VIDEO: Clouds roll over RMNP peaks in winter, Video of the Week: SOUND ON- The undisturbed wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, RMNP announces winter pile burning operations on both sides of Park, Brought to you by Prairie Mountain Publishing, Photo Gallary of the week - Winter in RMNP, Inside People: Dr. Zehr is new EPH Chief of Staff, Video: Congressman Neguse issues statement on today’s breach of the U.S. Capitol, Larimer County still seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, Colorado unemployment FAQ: How to apply, details about missing PINs and more. It provides spectacular views of Longs Peak and the Estes Park valley. Why you should go: Experience the charm of Estes Park and take a stroll around its namesake. Photo: Brendan Bombaci. The Twin Owls Loop gives you ad complete tour of this Northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. One of the most common mistakes made by hikers this time of year is not preparing for the elements. If you want a trail that has it all, Cub Lake is a great option. The Estes Park Visitor Center is also right along this pathway, so take some time to stop in! – Bridal Veil Falls: This 6.2 mile round trip trail is located at the Cow Creek Trailhead near the Northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. The ambiance and wildlife are just as spectacular if you aren't huffing and puffing up a steep mountainside, after all. This hike is inside Rocky Mountain National Park, but it isn’t a trail – it is a road. I’m a Scientist and I plan on Taking a COVID Vaccine: Here’s Why. And as always, please practice Leave No Trace Principles while on the trails of this beautiful Colorado mountain town! Hiking Trails Near Estes Park, Colorado. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. The Gem Lake Trail is a relatively short hike that starts just outside the town of Estes Park. There is a trailhead named Miller Creek/Fork Trailhead that is where this trail begins; but currently, you can’t park at this trailhead unless you have a resident pass. Our favorite hikes include everything from family-friendly trails to challenging summit attempts, offering a scenic feast of high-altitude lakes, waterfalls, and of course, spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. With campsites deep in the Rocky Mountains, camping here will provide ample solitude and recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Expect some scramble as you approach the summit. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. Lion Gulch Trail A.K.A. With Rocky Mountain National Park still operating at limited capacity since the partial government shutdown began last week, hikers are advised to use extreme caution if they choose to head into the park due to the limited services that are available to them. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. Sprague Lake is a 13-acre lake named after Abner Sprague, an early resident of the Estes Park area who ran a game lodge on the this property which is now part of Rocky Mountain National Park. Why you should go: Go back in time as you hike up through pristine alpine country to the remains of 8 homesteads that date back to 1889. Since the trail is lightly traveled, it isn’t the most obvious in some areas. Parking and entering is free, and dogs are allowed on leash in the area. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. 2.5 mi. Through Black Canyon, descend into Cow Creek lined with thick aspen groves, and continue on to gain views of the distant Mummy Range and Mount Ypsilon. After a long day of hiking, enjoy a burger (or gyro) at Boss Burgers & Gyros. to end. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS. Backpacking or dispersed camping along this trail will also require a Parks camping permit and reservation that can be obtained here. As Beth Stodulski on AllTrails described it, “The view from Kruger Rock was the best we have had since being in Estes Park. If you are hiking through a canyon or in a pass that blocks your surrounding view, it is very easy to get caught in a very serious situation. This hike is very manageable for hikers of all ages and experience levels. These were my favorites: 1. Estes Park: the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park is a small mountain town packed with history and charm. No matter where you end up adventuring in Estes Park, please enjoy, be safe, and practice Leave No Trace principles! Maine is playfully nicknamed “Vacationland,” and at Acadia National Park you’ll quickly see why. You won’t find the Lost Dutchman’s gold, but you will get luminous views of Weaver’s Needle, Four Peaks, Battleship Mountain and Canyon Lake. Twin Sisters trailhead sits right across the street from Lily Lake. And when in doubt, head out! Explore an adventure playground full of 14ers, alpine lakes, and over 300 miles of trails. Bierstadt Lake offers amazing alpine lake views and abundant chances to see wildlife up close without venturing too far. Get started on your adventure by trekking on these fantastic, family-friendly hiking trails in Estes Park, Colorado. If you are visiting ... Bear Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park. If the trailhead isn’t super well-traveled this time of year, it’s not as easy to follow the trail, so route finding and that kind of thing is a whole different animal this time of year.”. Mt. You can even fish around Lake Estes! Note: this list is not comprehensive. Quite often I think about how fortunate I was to grow up near to such a beautiful place. Wildlife is quite abundant here; you can find deer, elk, black bears, foxes, coyotes, and even wild turkeys. This loop trail is short on the mileage, but all of the potential side hikes make the distance and difficulty of the trip extremely variable. It's no surprise that Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular parks in the country. Sign up for our free email to join thousands of readers getting epic travel, hiking, camping and gear ideas every week. The steep elevation gain is what deters most people, but don’t be discouraged! If you plan to do any of these hikes, lookup trail information online and know what equipment and clothing you need before embarking on them. The weather could be really nice and sunny in town, but a couple thousand feet in elevation change could make for blizzard conditions. The trail gains 1,000 feet in elevation with the highest point of the hike being 8,860 feet. Boulder Brook to Granite Pass to Storm Pass, past the Estes Cone. If you are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, I encourage you to explore outside the park as well! – Lily Mountain: This is a moderate, four-mile round trip hike located just south of Estes Park along Colo. 7. These burgers are the instant fix to any long, hard day on the trail. You can learn more about our editorial and affiliate policy, 10 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Boulder Canyon Trail: Where the Water Meets the Desert, Camping in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests & Thunder Basin National Grassland, High Seas & Summit Breeze: 10 Best Hikes in Big Sur, California, 10 Best Glamping Resorts in Colorado for Epic Outdoor Adventures, 10 Best Cabin Rentals in Estes Park, Colorado. Kruger Rock Trail. If you'd like to hike with your pets, there are nearby trails outside Rocky Mountain National Park, including trails in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, multi-use trails around the Town of Estes Park… then L on McGraw Ranch Rd. Homestead Meadows Trail. How can I write about short lake hikes at Rocky Mountain National Park and not mention Gem Lake -- a true gem of a hike. This trail is in Roosevelt National Forest, so it is open year-round and is a popular winter trail here if you have micro-spikes or something similar. “A lot of people will just roll out with just jeans and tennis shoes, and they’re not properly equipped,” he said. Hikers can get their feet wet and learn their own program and equipment which will help them stay on the trail and be safe doing so. Gem Lake is on the north side of Estes Park … Climb through aspen and pine to reach the beautiful views of Estes Park and the majestic peaks of RMNP. GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. There is a small entrance fee you will have to pay, and dogs are allowed in the park on leash. Lily Lake has a short, mellow trail that loops around the lake. Some parts of the trail are icy right now, but with a little caution, it’s an easy trail to navigate even without microspikes. A pass is needed for accessing any of the trails in the park and dogs are not allowed. Short hikes, Tundra hikes – Throughout RMNP there are scenic overlooks, parks and picnic areas that have short hiking trails to walk on. These storms are very serious and develop quickly. No, not the same Donner Pass that led to the historic Donner Party’s tragic demise. Based on many years of hiking throughout the park we've developed a list of our personal favorite top ten hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was such a lucky kid to have many memories hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park and other areas near Estes Park, Colorado. The mountain will always be there, and if the trail is questionable, it’s OK to turn around and try again another time. Hermit Park is an Open Space located right outside Estes Park. While it is a popular trail, you’ll likely find spaces available early-mid morning. Winter brings deep snows to Rocky Mountain National Park west of the Continental Divide, but the lighter snowfall on the east (Estes Park) side of the park often leaves low elevation trails open for hiking. Park personnel will not be able to provide hikers with assistance or guidance, and there will be little to no emergency services available to them until the shutdown is lifted. Best hiked in March-September, Lily Mountain Trail is a great way to start or end a day exploring Estes Park. Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park, near Allenspark, Colorado, on May 25, 2018. This itinerary is, at its base, an epic circuit hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. But for anyone who is looking for safe hiking options that are outside of the park, there are hundreds of trails to choose from. Tips: Download the Rocky Mountain National Park Map (pdf), for a helpful overview and be sure to check the Shuttle Bus Route to get around if needed. Allowing you to find yourself some complete mountain solitude on this trail. This level, fully accessible trail with a parking lot is perfect to take young ones as it gently meanders around the lake. Lake Estes. Not only do you get to visit a pretty lake but you also get sweeping views of Estes Park with Longs Peak in the distance. She has had the privilege of working for Colorado’s most experienced climbing guide service as an Office & Marketing Manager and an Outdoor Climbing Guide. This trail is quite shady and great for hot summer days. The hike follows a creek through Lion Gulch then ascends and brings you up to Homestead Meadows. Anyone at the Mountain Shop has a plethora of knowledge, and it is their job to advise people who come in looking for expertise about safety precautions and good trail options. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy sells very limited food items in the park visitor centers and bottled water at Bear Lake and Park & Ride during summer and fall. The hike to Calypso Cascades is a beginner hike that offers impressive views of a cascading waterfall. These experiences are best for hiking trails in Estes Park: Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver; Private Hiking Tour to Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder This park does close in the winter due to seasonal moose and deer migrations. These bears live close to humans and are pretty comfortable with being close to us; that doesn’t mean you should take a selfie with them. And Estes Park valley better way to start or end a day exploring Estes Park along Colo. 7 free Park... Hike being 8,860 feet majestic peaks of RMNP of Estes Park hikes for the elements Mortuary services families. Camping permit and reservation that can be found in spots by previous to. The years, but most remain gains 1,000 feet in elevation with the highest elevation point being 8,815.... 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