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Based on many years of hiking throughout the park we've developed a list of our personal favorite top ten hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Hike up through thick forest, listen to trickling waterfalls, then walk through high alpine meadows until you find yourself at the famous Walker and Griffith homesteads. Why you should go: Experience true solitude and adventure on this all-encompassing loop that takes you through Rocky Mountain National Park’s untouched northeast corner. A pass is needed for accessing any of the trails in the park and dogs are not allowed. Another important precaution that can save lives: don’t be afraid to turn around. – Gem Lake: This moderate, 3.5-mile round trip hike begins at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead along Devils Gulch Road. Lily Mountain Trail. Your best bet is to get familiar with weather patterns and be able to recognize any dangerous looking clouds. Sprague Lake. Estes Park is packed with its own epic trails and peaks. The trail gains 1,000 feet in elevation with the highest point of the hike being 8,860 feet. “Any entry to the park during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk,” said Rocky Mountain National Park Public Information Officer Kyle Patterson in a statement following the shutdown. Anyone at the Mountain Shop has a plethora of knowledge, and it is their job to advise people who come in looking for expertise about safety precautions and good trail options. You can even fish around Lake Estes! If the trailhead isn’t super well-traveled this time of year, it’s not as easy to follow the trail, so route finding and that kind of thing is a whole different animal this time of year.”. It has since been mostly restored, but the trail can be difficult to find at times, especially in snow. Bierstadt Lake is a family favorite! Winter brings deep snows to Rocky Mountain National Park west of the Continental Divide, but the lighter snowfall on the east (Estes Park) side of the park often leaves low elevation trails open for hiking. You will enjoy great amenities, like a playground,... Are you remodeling your home? Here are the best waterfalls near RMNP and Estes Park, CO, in no particular order:. If you're seeking trails that explore deeper into the backcountry of the park, check out our list of the Top 10 Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park . Cow Creek trailhead is near the historic McGraw Ranch, at the end of McGraw Ranch Road, which can be found north of Estes Park off Devils Gulch Road (Limited parking). This trail is in Roosevelt National Forest, so it is open year-round and is a popular winter trail here if you have micro-spikes or something similar. These were my favorites: 1. This park does close in the winter due to seasonal moose and deer migrations. Special OP/Ed - What exactly is the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Be sure to pause at the bridge to look for trout. Gem Lake is a short but strenuous hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildlife is abundant on this trail, especially the unique birds and raptors that call this section of the Rocky Mountains home. You can find her on Instagram at @aka_dmoney. The apartment you’ve been looking for in Boulder is at Habitat Apartments! Allowing you to find yourself some complete mountain solitude on this trail. Protsnan said the best way to get comfortable with hiking in the snow to mitigate risk is to just go out to a well-traveled zone. Parking for this trail can be tricky. – Bridal Veil Falls: This 6.2 mile round trip trail is located at the Cow Creek Trailhead near the Northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. But this trail will make you sweat! Nymph Lake. It's no surprise that Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular parks in the country. Sprague Lake is a 13-acre lake named after Abner Sprague, an early resident of the Estes Park area who ran a game lodge on the this property which is now part of Rocky Mountain National Park. After guiding several trips through the Western Slope Desert, Daniell fell in love with climbing desert towers and overnight canoe trips down the Colorado River. The trail crosses this creek several times, so come prepared with waterproof hiking shoes or Chacos! Boulder Hardwood Flooring provides... Find the top appliances from Frigidaire, Maytag and Whirlpool right now at J. Day’s Appliance in Loveland! It was breathtaking.”. Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park, near Allenspark, Colorado, on May 25, 2018. Why you should go: Hike up to one of the most accessible alpine lakes in the Estes Park area! Moose are also very abundant in this area and are known to become aggressive when they feel threatened. The 7 Best Hikes in Estes Park, Colorado. Choose from plenty of great family hikes in Rocky Mountain National park. With several people having gone missing in the park just this year alone and with limited emergency services currently operating, it’s more important than ever to be careful, said Charley Dickey, the president of the Estes Valley Partners for Commerce. It provides spectacular views of Longs Peak and the Estes Park valley. To avoid getting caught in a thunderstorm, the easiest solution is to begin your hike in the early morning, so you are hiking out by the time these storms have a chance to show up. To access the 1/2 mile loop hike around Sprague Lake, cross the bridge near the parking area. Moose especially love this lakeside spot to search for food. This trail can receive horrible weather all year round. Black Bears are prominent in this area and are known to even take a stroll through town. The lake is a great setting for a picnic. Parking and entering is free, and dogs are allowed on leash in the area. The weather could be really nice and sunny in town, but a couple thousand feet in elevation change could make for blizzard conditions. Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. Lumpy Ridge – Twin Owls Loop. He wants people to be aware of what they’re getting into when they set out to hike and the precautions they should take. This hike is very manageable for hikers of all ages and experience levels. Veteran and new visitors alike can use this tool as a starting point in trying to decide where to hike during your upcoming visit. Park personnel will not be able to provide hikers with assistance or guidance, and there will be little to no emergency services available to them until the shutdown is lifted. The homesteads are well marked with information plaques, and you will see markers to other homesteads down shorter trails. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. Roundtrip, the hike to Calypso Cascades is 3.6 miles. These burgers are the instant fix to any long, hard day on the trail. This itinerary is, at its base, an epic circuit hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. – Lily Mountain: This is a moderate, four-mile round trip hike located just south of Estes Park along Colo. 7. Hike .8 mi at elevation 8,690’ Iconic views across the lake of the Continental Divide peaks above Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National ... Bear Lake. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy sells very limited food items in the park visitor centers and bottled water at Bear Lake and Park & Ride during summer and fall. Why you should go: Experience the charm of Estes Park and take a stroll around its namesake. Bierstadt Lake Trail. Hiking safety and popular trails outside RMNP, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Trail Ridge Road Closes To Through Travel For The Season, Some help is on the way for small businesses, View from the top of the Estes Cone in Rocky Mountain National Park — VIDEO, Inside Arts: Local author James Kaiser combines writing and photography. Some of these trails will add another mile or so onto your hike, but this hike is more of an adventure anyway so why not? Best traveled between May and October, the Donner Pass Trail is a lightly trafficked out-and-back trail. With its spellbinding coastal views and funky bohemian history, it’s impossible not to be charmed by the woodsy quirks and forested mountains of Big Sur. Estes Park: the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park is a small mountain town packed with history and charm. Expect some scramble as you approach the summit. Trails below 8,700 feet (2,700 m) make great winter hikes, sometimes without the aid of skis or snow shoes. 2.5 mi. Lumpy Ridge is a massive granite rock outcropping just to the north of Estes Park. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS. Homestead Meadows Trail. While Lumpy Ridge is technically part of Rocky Mountain National Park, the trailhead lies just outside the Park’s borders and is free to park and enter. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. Since this trail does take you into Rocky Mountain National Park, you will have to follow Park rules. A brief list of some of the more popular hikes outside the park follows. Dogs are allowed (on leash) on this trail. I did a lot of hiking on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. You won’t find the Lost Dutchman’s gold, but you will get luminous views of Weaver’s Needle, Four Peaks, Battleship Mountain and Canyon Lake. Located in Roosevelt National Forest, this is a popular and relatively short trail used for backpacking. Hiking Alternatives Outside Rocky Mountain National Park. Meeker and Longs Peak, the two highest peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. The steep elevation gain is what deters most people, but don’t be discouraged! Lily Lake has a short, mellow trail that loops around the lake. The hike offers outstanding views of Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, as well as Mt. The quick access to food and water from higher altitude canyons and mountains makes this an ideal spot for local wildlife to move through. Gem Lake is on the north side of Estes Park … Why you should go: Earn these epic views and summit the rightfully named Lookout Mountain! As Beth Stodulski on AllTrails described it, “The view from Kruger Rock was the best we have had since being in Estes Park. This is one of the easier lake hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. More in the need of a classic cocktail? Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. One of the most common mistakes made by hikers this time of year is not preparing for the elements. Lion Gulch Trail A.K.A. If you are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, I encourage you to explore outside the park as well! But be prepared, this trail gets fairly steep towards the end. No matter where you end up adventuring in Estes Park, please enjoy, be safe, and practice Leave No Trace principles! There is an unobstructed view of the entire mountain range. Around the lake, you’ll get views of Rocky Mountain National Park, the valleys that make up Estes Park, the infamous Stanley Hotel, and you can even catch a glimpse of the Lumpy Ridge rock formations to the north. With mountain views, a pristine lake, wildflowers, and wildlife we’re not ... Lily Mountain. Lake Irene. President Trump says he will not attend inauguration of President-elect Biden, Guest Op Eds: Current state of EPH Living Center alternatives evaluation, U.S. unemployment claims slip to still-high 787,000, Colorado Rep. Jason Crow recounts being trapped in House chamber as pro-Trump mob attacks Capitol, Jeep of woman thought to be missing in RMNP found near Poudre Canyon, VIDEO OF THE DAY: Geese flock on Lakes Estes, TIME LAPSE VIDEO: Clouds roll over RMNP peaks in winter, Video of the Week: SOUND ON- The undisturbed wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, RMNP announces winter pile burning operations on both sides of Park, Brought to you by Prairie Mountain Publishing, Photo Gallary of the week - Winter in RMNP, Inside People: Dr. Zehr is new EPH Chief of Staff, Video: Congressman Neguse issues statement on today’s breach of the U.S. Capitol, Larimer County still seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, Colorado unemployment FAQ: How to apply, details about missing PINs and more. As part of the Hermit Park open space, the hike to Kruger Rock is spectacular and one of our favorite accessible hikes outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. Emerald Lake is one of the most accessible hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike to Calypso Cascades is a beginner hike that offers impressive views of a cascading waterfall. Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. J Day’s Appliance... Tyler is the Trail-Gazette's managing editor. Sign up for our free email to join thousands of readers getting epic travel, hiking, camping and gear ideas every week. Explore an adventure playground full of 14ers, alpine lakes, and over 300 miles of trails. This is my type of hiking. to end. Lake Estes. It's a great destination to bring the family and those who aren't familiar with hiking in the snow. I’m a Scientist and I plan on Taking a COVID Vaccine: Here’s Why. – Lily Lake: This easy, 0.8-mile hike is located at the Lily Lake Trailhead near Estes Park. This hike features sweeping fields of wildflowers in the spring. Kruger Rock. “A lot of people will just roll out with just jeans and tennis shoes, and they’re not properly equipped,” he said. If you are hiking through a canyon or in a pass that blocks your surrounding view, it is very easy to get caught in a very serious situation. If you’re looking to trade in the sleeping bag for a king size bed, then take a look at our top picks for the best glamping in Colorado. If you'd like to hike with your pets, there are nearby trails outside Rocky Mountain National Park, including trails in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, multi-use trails around the Town of Estes Park… Additional forest access can be found at Hermit Park Open Space (entrance fees apply); and the Lily Mountain Trailhead, 5.8 miles south of town along Highway 7. Bierstadt Lake offers amazing alpine lake views and abundant chances to see wildlife up close without venturing too far. 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