Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the vast wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, the place the windswept tundra incorporates an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted against the blue sky function a dramatic reminder of the last ice age. Traverse this great backbone of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or spot fresh bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the a centesimal anniversary of considered one of America’s oldest national parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of wonder restored.

It’s a giant place, so that can assist you discover your method, listed here are some of Rocky Mountain’s best hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is without doubt one of the park’s hottest locations for first-time visitors, and with good reason. From here you’ll have a entrance-row vantage point of the dramatic glacial valleys and hulking granite summits that make Rocky Mountain such a singular landscape. With ten lakes within the space and superb vistas, it is best to definitely expect large crowds.

Hikes right here range from straightforward jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that observe the glacial valleys up to their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is a good alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which might be extended to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.eight miles), each of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.eight miles) is probably not the park’s best summit, there’s no denying its magnetic pull from down below. Use the park shuttles to get to the trailhead.

Bear Lake to Fern Lake
This dayhike is a ranger favorite and identified for its diverse scenery. On this hike you'll climb up to the treeline and an alpine lake earlier than dropping back down by way of fields of scree and into a forested valley. Right here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Because of the park shuttle system, this is a one-method trip that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s principally downhill. You possibly can’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing rough-cut cliffs of Notchtop and Flattop mountains. To do this hike, park at Fern Lake Trailhead (the endpoint), then take the shuttle to Bear Lake Trailhead. Shorten the trip by merely going to Lake Helene and back (5.eight miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in each approach, Longs Peak is the head of RMNP and one of colorado posters’s basic climbs. The tallest peak in the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many guests’ to-do list. The highest of this route is the crux, consisting of narrow traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most people start the climb by 3am to be able to reach the summit earlier than noon.

The great news is that you just don’t have to achieve the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, located on the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face where technical climbers rope as much as scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of many park’s best hikes. Chasm options all the spectacular surroundings of the peak with out the risk and arduous ascent. Nonetheless, at 8.4 miles spherical trip, you’ll still need to be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
On the northeastern end of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-yr-old granite formations that have been sculpted by the elements slightly than by glaciers. This markedly completely different style of abrasion has resulted in an array of whimsically shaped boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The path to Gem Lake is a great way to explore the realm, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the best way up to the bijou-like lake.

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