Best Hikes In The Rockies – A park favorite, the hike up this mountain range takes you through forests that are ablaze with color in autumn.
The view of Long’s Peak and Keyboard of the Winds of Mills Lake is one of the best on the Rock.
Best Hikes In The Rockies
Glacier Creek thunders beneath this spectacular waterfall, making it one of the park’s most popular hiking destinations.
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The walk through the forest ends with a scenic rest at this cascading waterfall in the western part of the park.
A dip in the waterfall’s namesake – the mud or the bear – is what entertains hikers at this popular spot.
Beautiful views, pleasant hikes and picnics at the top make this tour a tour favourite. Summit elevation 10,013′ (elevation 1,083′).
These two peaks sit by themselves in the east, offering spectacular views in all directions. Summit elevation is 11,428′ (elevation 2,338′).
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Panoramic views and access to many other great peaks attract hikers to this mountain in the middle of the park. Summit Elevation 12,324′ (Elevation 2,849′).
The information office is open all year round: 8.00 am to 4.00 pm. every day in the summer; at 8.00 am. – 4:00 p.m. Mondays – Fridays and 08:00 – 12:00 Saturdays – Sundays in winter. Registered Trail Ridge Road Status: (970) 586-1222. Barefoot Theory / Outdoor Adventure Blog / Day Trail Blogs / Best Day Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park
On my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, our goal was to hike as much as possible and experience the amazing scenery and wildlife this place has to offer. We spent a total of 10 days in the park, focusing most of our time around Bear Lake, Fern Lake and Long Peak on the east side of the park. The trails in these areas take you faster into the high alpine than on the west side of the park and give you fantastic panoramic views.
All day trips are centrally located so you can spend less time driving, and many are accessible via the free Rocky Mountain National Park shuttle bus. They are all under 10 miles, well signed and easily completed in a day. There are obviously more tours than those listed in this blog post, but if you are visiting for the first time, these will keep you very busy and give you a taste of the park’s diverse environments and ecosystems. For more tips for your first visit to RMNP, check out this blog post.
Hiking In The Canadian Rockies
Note: From 27 May to 10 October 2022, advance reservations are required to enter RMNP, which you can purchase here.
Are you ready to get there? Here are some of the best day trips in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Since this applies to all destinations shared on Barefoot Theory, remember to leave no trace. This means picking up any litter you find on the trail, practicing good road etiquette and being respectful of other hikers.
For me, this was the hardest, but also my favorite hike we did during our time in Rocky Mountain National Park. Chasm Lake sits at an elevation of 11,760 feet and puts you at the base of RMNP’s highest mountain, Longs Peak. Most of this walk is above the tree line, so an early start is a must to beat some afternoon thunderstorms.
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The trail begins at the Longs Peak Ranger Station at 9,405 feet and goes through the forest for the first two miles of the Kasmo Lake Trail. About 1.2 miles you’ll come to the Lightning Bridge, a footbridge covered by two signs warning hikers of the danger of lightning strikes. Pause here to put on an insulated jacket or windbreaker before entering the tundra ahead. Here the view really starts to open up and you can see across the valley to Longs Peak.
Along the way, you’ll pass through Chasm Junction, 2,130 feet high behind you, and as the Rockies unfold before you, relax and unwind from one of nature’s most scenic mysteries. Continue until you reach Chasm Meadows with its flowing streams and beautiful green grass. About 3.8 miles of the route here can have snowy and icy conditions that won’t melt until mid to late June. Take it slow and easy as there is also a steep drop to the left. This is another great place to rest and appreciate the view before heading out – just remember not to break the trail to protect the alpine vegetation.
Look for the cairns here and walk straight across the meadow to where you will see the waterfall cascading from the rocks into Chasm Lake. At the end of the trip there is a steep part and a short climb. The best way to climb is to follow the broken and broken rocks that mark the footpath worn by past hikers.
When you finally reach Chasm Lake, you’ll have a full view of Long’s Peak and the high alpine lake that rests your feet. Go through the exit and go to the right side of the lake to the mountain and find a private place to sit and take them all.
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From the park’s east entrance, take Highway 7 inland and turn left on Longs Peak Road, a short drive to the trailhead and easily accessible parking lot.
Black Lake Trail and Sky Pond are tied for my second favorite trail because they both have all the features (waterfall, scenic views, and alpine meadow) you want in one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best hikes. The most noticeable difference is that we found Black Lake to be less crowded and a little easier overall. If you want to check them out for yourself, you’re in luck because they both depart from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
Start here at Glacier Gorge and walk a quarter of a mile through Chaos Creek until you see the trail split. Keep left and continue to Alberta Falls, passing aspens against a backdrop of beautiful pine forests.
Less than a kilometer away you will come to Alberta Falls. This is a beautiful waterfall that is easily accessible, so be aware that it can get crowded due to its popularity. Many also consider it one of the best waterfalls in the park. It’s a great stop for a short break at the waterfall or to avoid the crowds and move on.
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See beautiful Mills Lake from a different angle on the rocky area surrounding the east side of the lake and above the water. As you reach the end of the lake, enjoy views of Chiefs Head Peak across the lake behind you in the distance. Enter the wooded area and you’ll quickly reach Jewel Lake.
As you continue, the road becomes a narrow boardwalk that takes you through swamps, then into a wooded area with remnants of felled trees from a devastating storm. Watch your step and take it slow. Allow some extra time to get through this section as the trail is not well maintained here.
After you cross the Glacier Gorge Bridge on the right there is a series of steep climbs. The view of Chiefs Head Peak sparkling in the distance is worth it, so stay there and rest when you need to.
Continue walking to Black Lake, where you will come across a meadow. When you get to the end, take the path to the end on the left side of the lake. There you will find a cascading waterfall with a short, rocky path that leads you to a truly unique vantage point. Go there for solitude and enjoy all the amazing views of the lake, valley and peaks that surround you.
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From Estes Park, take Highway 36 to Bear Lake Road until you reach the road and parking lot. Due to the popularity of the route, this is a great time to use the shuttle.
Start at the Glacier Gorge trailhead, enter and follow the same directions as before, where after a quarter of a mile you will turn left at the fork and go to Alberta Falls. You can pass Alberta Falls (one of the most popular and beautiful waterfalls) or stop for a quick break and enjoy the view.
About half a mile past the falls you will come to the North Longs Peak trail junction. Turn right here, cross the exit at Mills Junction and go straight on to the Loch Vale Trail. During the ascent, the road gradually increases and you take many turns. It offers spectacular views of the canyon below as well as Icy Brooks Falls