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: 2.7 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 Amazon.com