Rocky Mountain National Park Favorite Hikes

Alberta Falls

This lovely, 25-foot-high cascade in Glacier Creek is a popular waterfall in RMNP. A moderate, well-maintained trail serves this scenic spot which is a great 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 

Dream Lake

This gorgeous subalpine lake lies in the shadow of majestic Hallett Peak and is a wonderful 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

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 a nice family destination. 

Distance: 5.9 miles
Trailhead:  Wild Basin
Trailhead Elevation: 8,500 feet
Elevation Gain: 950 feet
Rating: Family/Moderate 

Mills Lake

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

Cub Lake

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

The Loch is the lowest of three spectacular lakes in 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 

Flattop Mountain

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 

Longs Peak

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 difficult 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 easiest 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


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