librarian + adventurer

Hiking: RMNP

Rocky Mountain National Park: Hiking

This guide is meant to be a starting place to planning your adventures. Typically, my first source of inspiration is other people - seeing the hikes and adventures others have gone on fuels my drive to plan my own; hopefully this page can serve as the same for you. Featuring short trail descriptions, links to previous trail reports (beside trail name), and important information about the elevation in the hike, it is not an extensive or comprehensive guide. Always check the Rocky Mountain National Park website for alerts and current trail conditions and be aware that hiking in RMNP is hiking at high elevation.

Easy:

  • Lily Lake, 1.2 miles (part one)
    A short, wheelchair accessible trail with an option for some exploration along Lily Ridge.  You don't have to pay the park entrance fee to hike this trail.
    Trailhead: Lily Lake, 8,930'
    Elevation gain: minimal

 

  • Emerald Lake (Summer/Fall), 3.6 miles (part one) (part two)
    One of the most popular trails in the park. Passes by 3 lakes on the trail itself and offers beautiful views of Longs Peak. Make sure you go early, it gets crowded.
    Trailhead: Bear Lake, 9,475'
    Elevation gain: 605 ft.

 

  • Bierstadt Lake, 4.4 miles (part one)
    As with all the trails from Bear Lake, Bierstadt Lake is one of the more popular hikes in the park. It has gorgeous views and the lake has great hammock spots all along it's shores. It's easier to hike to Bierstadt Lake from the Bear Lake Trailhead than it is the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead.
    Trailhead: Bear Lake, 9,475'
    Elevation gain: 630 ft.

 

  • Lake Haiyaha, 4.4 miles (part one)
    This trail passes by 3 lakes altogether, and offers a more secluded hike (but still popular) from the Bear Lake Trailhead. "Haiyaha" is a Native American word that, loosely translated, means "rock."
    Trailhead: Bear Lake, 9,475'
    Elevation gain: 865

 

  • Mills Lake (Summer), 5 miles (part one)
    Gorgeous trail with lots of scenic views along the way. First passes by Alberta Falls, arguably the most crowded portion of the whole hike.
    Trailhead: Glacier Gorge, 9,240'
    Elevation gain: 780 ft. 

 

  • Cub Lake to The Pool, 7.0 miles (part one)
    A trail that feels totally different from the others on the Eastern side of the Park. A great place to spot wildlife and an option to make it into a loop.
    Trailhead: Cub Lake, 8,080'
    Elevation gain: 570 ft.

Moderate:

  • Gem Lake, 3.1 miles (part one)
    A fun, rocky trail up to a beautiful lake. This one gets pretty crowded, so go early. You don't have to pay the park entrance fee to hike this trail.
    Trailhead: Gem Lake, 7,882'
    Elevation gain: 1,000 ft.

 

  • Emerald Lake (Winter), 3.6 miles (part one) (part two) (part three)
    One of the most popular trails in the park. Passes by 3 lakes on the trail itself and offers beautiful views of Longs Peak. Make sure you go early, it gets crowded. Lots of options for exploration along the winter trail.
    Trailhead: Bear Lake, 9,475'
    Elevation gain: 605 ft.

 

  • Mills Lake (Winter), 5 miles (part one) (part two)
    Gorgeous trail with lots of scenic views along the way. First passes by Alberta Falls, arguably the most crowded portion of the whole hike, even in winter.
    Trailhead: Glacier Gorge, 9,240'
    Elevation gain: 780 ft. 

 

  • Loch Vale (Winter), 5.7 miles (part one)
    A beautiful snowshoe with some steep uphill climbs at points. It can get pretty windy at the top.
    Trailhead: Glacier Gorge, 9,240'
    Elevation gain: 780 ft.