Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

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

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

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is without doubt one of the park’s hottest destinations for first-time visitors, and with good reason. From right here you’ll have a front-row vantage level of the dramatic glacial valleys and hulking granite summits that make Rocky Mountain such a singular landscape. With ten lakes within the area and superb vistas, you need to positively anticipate giant crowds.

Hikes here range from straightforward jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more challenging excursions that observe the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an efficient choice, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which may be prolonged to the exquisite Lake of Glass and travel posters Sky Pond (9.eight miles), both of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.eight miles) might not be the park’s finest 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 favourite and identified for its numerous scenery. On this hike you may climb up to the treeline and an alpine lake earlier than dropping back down through fields of scree and right into a forested valley. Here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Thanks to the park shuttle system, this is a one-way journey that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s principally downhill. You can’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing tough-reduce 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 journey by simply going to Lake Helene and back (5.eight miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in each way, Longs Peak is the head of RMNP and certainly one of Colorado’s basic climbs. The tallest peak within the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many guests’ to-do list. The top of this route is the crux, consisting of slender traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most individuals begin the climb by 3am as a way to reach the summit earlier than noon.

The nice 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 the place technical climbers rope up to scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of many park’s best hikes. Chasm features all of the spectacular surroundings of the peak with out the risk and arduous ascent. However, at 8.four miles round trip, you’ll still have 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 were sculpted by the elements slightly than by glaciers. This markedly totally different type of abrasion has resulted in an array of whimsically formed boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The trail to Gem Lake is a good way to discover the realm, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way in which up to the bijou-like lake.

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