Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to discover the vast wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, the place the windswept tundra comprises an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted against the blue sky function a dramatic reminder of the last ice age. Traverse this great spine of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or spot contemporary bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the one centesimal anniversary of one of America’s oldest nationwide parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, walking sticks in hand and sense of wonder restored.

It’s a big place, so to help you find your manner, listed below are some of Rocky Mountain’s greatest 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 should positively count on large crowds.

Hikes right here range from easy jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that follow the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an efficient choice, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which can be extended to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.eight 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 finest 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 recognized for its numerous scenery. On this hike you'll climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake earlier than dropping back down by fields of scree and ski town posters into a forested valley. Right here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Because of the park shuttle system, this is a one-way journey that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s mostly downhill. You can’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing rough-minimize 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 (5.8 miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in each way, Longs Peak is the top of RMNP and considered one of Colorado’s classic climbs. The tallest peak within 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 narrow traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most individuals start the climb by 3am as a way to attain the summit before noon.

The good news is that you simply don’t have to reach the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, positioned on the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face the place technical climbers rope as much as scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of the park’s finest hikes. Chasm options all the spectacular scenery of the height with out the risk and arduous ascent. Nonetheless, at 8.4 miles spherical trip, you’ll still have to be in superb shape.

Gem Lake
At the northeastern end of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.eight-billion-year-old granite formations that have been sculpted by the elements slightly 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 a good way to discover the world, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way up to the bijou-like lake.