Favorite Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes
Finding the Perfect Rocky Mountain National Park HikesIf you are new to Rocky Mountain National Park hikes (RMNP) or a return visitor looking for RMNP hikes that will suit your group, below is a list of recommendations. These hikes are day hikes and offer amazing views and destinations.
This lovely, 25-foot-high cascade in Glacier Creek is a famous waterfall in RMNP. A moderate, well-maintained RMNP hiking trail serves this scenic spot, which is an excellent place for picnicking. This is a good hike for children and anyone desiring a short, rewarding hike.
Distance: 0.8 mile Trailhead: Glacier Gorge Trailhead Elevation: 9,240 feet Elevation Gain: 160 feet Rating: Family
This gorgeous subalpine lake lies in the shadow of the majestic Hallett Peak and is a beautiful family destination. The mythical, dreamlike setting with magnificent mountain scenery no doubt inspired the name. This is a nice area for a picnic.
Distance: 1.1 miles Trailhead: Bear Lake Trailhead Elevation: 9,475 feet Elevation Gain: 425 feet Rating: Family
Ouzel Falls is the most popular destination in the Wild Basin area of RMNP. It plunges dramatically over a granite cliff. The trail to Ouzel Falls passes two other waterfalls and travels through part of the prominent burned-out area from the 1978 Ouzel Fire. This is an excellent family destination.
Distance: 5.9 miles Trailhead: Wild Basin Trailhead Elevation: 8,500 feet Elevation Gain: 950 feet Rating: Family/Moderate
Considered by many to be the prettiest lake in RMNP, Mills Lake lies in Glacier Gorge, a strikingly beautiful U-shaped valley carved by repeated glaciation. Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain, and Chiefs Head Peak provide an impressive backdrop to this lovely high mountain lake. This is a moderate hike, suitable for adventurous families.
Distance: 2.8 miles Trailhead: Glacier Gorge Trailhead Elevation: 9,240 feet Elevation Gain: 750 feet Rating: Family/Moderate
The short, pleasant hike to Cub Lake is a great family destination that leads through a shady forest and offers abundant wildflowers, river scenery, and excellent bird-watching opportunities. The lake is famous for the striking yellow pond lilies that bloom in July and August, as they colorfully cover most of the water’s surface.
Distance: 2.3 miles. Trailhead: Cub Lake Trailhead Elevation: 8,080 feet Elevation Gain: 540 feet Rating: Family/Moderate
The Loch is the lowest of three spectacular lakes in the scenic Loch Vale. A moderate approach and magnificent mountain scenery make it one of the most popular destinations in RMNP. This hike is suitable for adventurous families. For those wishing for more excitement, the trail continues more strenuously to Lake of Glass and Sky Pond.
Distance: 3.1 miles Trailhead: Glacier Gorge Trailhead Elevation: 9,240 feet Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet Rating: Moderate
Because it offers a well-maintained trail all the way to the summit, Flattop Mountain is one of the most popular peaks to hike in RMNP. The trail is also very popular because it is one of the easiest ways to reach the Continental Divide. The grand, flat summit area that inspired Flattop Mountain’s name is the largest of any of the peaks in RMNP. The views from the top are breathtaking, encompassing both the east and west sides of the Continental Divide. This strenuous hike is suitable for fit hikers.
Distance: 4.4 miles Trailhead: Bear Lake Trailhead Elevation: 9,475 feet Elevation Gain: 2,849 feet Rating: Strenuous
The name Longs Peak is recognized all over the world. It’s the highest mountain in RMNP and the 15th highest in Colorado, and more notably, the northernmost 14,000-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains. It is the only fourteener in RMNP and is one of the most sought-after summits in Colorado. Any ascent of Longs Peak is a challenging endeavor and should not be taken lightly. Climbers and hikers travel great distances to attempt a summit bid on the peak, and in ideal conditions, the most accessible routes up Longs Peak are lengthy, exposed scrambles, but in adverse weather or the presence of snow and ice, all routes become technical. Even in the summer, a clear, cloudless morning can quickly turn into a violent storm. Ask rangers for current conditions on the peak before attempting to climb this regal mountain.
Distance: 8 miles Trailhead: Longs Peak Trailhead Elevation: 9,400 feet Elevation Gain: 4,885 feet Rating: Strenuous/Advanced
Hike descriptions and information provided by Lisa Foster, author of Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide. Available at stores throughout Estes Park and on Amazon.com