Rocky Mountain National Park's Finest Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Finest Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the vast wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the windswept tundra contains an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted in opposition to the blue sky serve as a dramatic reminder of the final ice age. Traverse this nice spine of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or spot recent bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the a centesimal anniversary of one in all America’s oldest nationwide parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, walking sticks in hand and sense of marvel restored.

It’s a giant place, so that can assist you find your way, listed below are some of Rocky Mountain’s best hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is one of the park’s hottest destinations for first-time guests, and with good reason. From here you’ll have a front-row vantage point of the dramatic glacial valleys and hulking granite summits that make Rocky Mountain such a singular landscape. With ten lakes in the space and superb vistas, you need to positively count on massive crowds.

Hikes here range from straightforward jaunts round Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more challenging excursions that observe the glacial valleys up to their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an efficient alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), 14er posters which might be prolonged to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.8 miles), each of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.8 miles) may not be the park’s greatest summit, there’s no denying its magnetic pull from down below. Use the park shuttles to get to the trailhead.

Bear Lake to Fern Lake
This dayhike is a ranger favorite and identified for its diverse scenery. On this hike you'll climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake before dropping back down by means of fields of scree and right into a forested valley. Right here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Thanks to the park shuttle system, this is a one-manner journey that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s principally downhill. You can’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing rough-cut cliffs of Notchtop and Flattop mountains. To do this hike, park at Fern Lake Trailhead (the endpoint), then take the shuttle to Bear Lake Trailhead. Shorten the journey by simply going to Lake Helene and back (5.eight miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in each method, Longs Peak is the head of RMNP and one in every of Colorado’s basic climbs. The tallest peak in the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many guests’ to-do list. The highest of this route is the crux, consisting of slim traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most individuals begin the climb by 3am with a purpose to reach the summit before noon.

The great news is that you simply don’t have to succeed in the summit or flip your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, situated at the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face where technical climbers rope up to scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of the park’s best hikes. Chasm features all of the spectacular surroundings of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. Nonetheless, at 8.4 miles round journey, you’ll nonetheless should be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
On the northeastern finish of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-year-old granite formations that have been sculpted by the elements moderately than by glaciers. This markedly totally different type of abrasion has resulted in an array of whimsically shaped boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The trail to Gem Lake is an effective way to explore the area, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way in which up to the bijou-like lake.