There is an abundance of opportunities for hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with a staggering 355 miles of hiking trails! The park ranges in elevations from 7,500 to over 12,000 feet; there are plenty of easy hiking trails, plus many strenuous hikes where you need to know your stuff and if you’re not in the best shape you’ll probably feel the high altitude. Watch out for altitude sickness; drink plenty of water and eat properly.
Popular summer hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. We did the short loop to Bear Lake but carried on and also visited Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Emerald Lake; this walk took us a few hours but overall was pretty easy going.
For photos of moose spotted on the trail to Adams Falls check out my previous post – Moose & Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
|Bear Lake||Bear Lake||0.6 mile loop||Easy|
|An excellent interpretive nature trail circles this popular subalpine lake at the end of Bear Lake Road.|
|Cub Lake||Cub Lake||2.3 miles||Moderate|
|A park favorite, this hike to a mountain pond travels through woods that blaze with color in the fall.|
|Mills Lake||Glacier Gorge||2.8 miles||Moderate|
|The view of Longs Peak and the Keyboard of the Winds from Mills Lake is one of Rocky’s finest.|
|Bluebird Lake||Wild Basin||6 miles||Strenuous|
|Adams Falls||East Inlet||0.3 mile||Easy|
|A beautiful stream and pleasant scenery accompany hikers on this popular west side walk.|
|Alberta Falls||Glacier Gorge Jct||0.6 mile||Easy|
|Glacier Creek thunders down this spectacular waterfall that ranks as one of the park’s more popular hiking destinations.|
|Cascade Falls||North Inlet||3.5 miles||Moderate|
|The hike through forested country ends with a scenic respite beside this tumbling waterfall on the park’s west side.|
|Ouzel Falls||Wild Basin||2.7 miles||Moderate|
|Watching the falls’ namesake – the ouzel, or dipper – plunge into the rushing stream water entertains hikers at this popular spot.|
|Timberline Falls||Glacier Gorge Jct||4 miles||Strenuous|
|Scenic Loch Vale is enjoyed en route to these delicately beautiful falls on the park’s east side.|
|Deer Mountain||Deer Ridge Jct||3 miles||Moderate|
|Fine views, pleasant hiking and a picnic on top make this trip a hiking favorite. Summit elevation 10,013′ (gain of 1083′).|
|Twin Sisters Peaks||Twin Sisters||3.7 miles||Moderate|
|These two peaks sit off by themselves to the east, offering outstanding vistas sweeping in all directions. Elevation at summit 11,428′ (gain of 2338′).|
|Flattop Mountain||Bear Lake||4.4 miles||Strenuous|
|Panoramic views and access to many other great peaks lure hikers up this mountain in the middle of the park. Summit elevation 12,324′ (gain of 2849′).|
|Mount Ida||Milner Pass||4.5miles||Moderate|
|This high altitude tundra hike begins at the Continental Divide and offers views east and west. Summit elevation 12,880′ (gain of 2130′).|
If you’re looking at hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter bear in mind that heavy snow fall (particularly on the western side) can make many trails inaccessible unless you are experienced and have snow shoes or cross country skis. For a national park service brochure on popular winter day hikes click here.
For a complete list of hiking trails check out this national park service page here.
We also enjoyed the short hike in the alpine tundra from the Tundra Communities Trailhead. This is found on the Trail Ridge Road which we took to get from the western side of the park where we spotted the moose and elk to the eastern side where we did the walk from the Bear Lake trailhead to Emerald Lake and others.
On our alpine hike we spotted a pika which kept me busy for a while chasing it around trying to get a good photograph. We also spotted a lot of elk in the distance and one elusive marmot. There were a lot of beautiful alpine flowers as well. Regrettably I accidentally deleted about 4GB of photos which included photos from this alpine part of the Rocky Mountain National Park, all my photos from the eastern side of the park and half of my photos from Badlands in South Dakota where we headed next on our North American road trip.
Fore more information on the Rocky Mountain National Park from the national park service click here.
We also spotted a couple of deer on the western side with the felt on their antlers grazing in a restoration area. Naughty deer.
Have you ever done any hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park? Any favourite trails?