Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the huge wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, the place the windswept tundra accommodates 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 recent bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the a centesimal anniversary of considered one of America’s oldest national parks in the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of marvel restored.

It’s an enormous place, so that can assist you find your way, here are a few of Rocky Mountain’s finest hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is among the park’s hottest destinations for first-time visitors, and with good reason. From here you’ll have a entrance-row vantage level of the dramatic glacial valleys and hulking granite summits that make Rocky Mountain such a singular landscape. With ten lakes in the space and superb vistas, you must undoubtedly expect massive crowds.

Hikes right here range from straightforward jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more challenging excursions that follow the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is a good alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which can be prolonged to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.8 miles), both of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.8 miles) will not be 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 favourite and identified for its numerous 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. Here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Due to the park shuttle system, this is a one-way trip that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s mostly 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 trip by simply going to Lake Helene and back (5.eight miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in every method, Longs Peak is the head of RMNP and one among colorado posters’s traditional climbs. The tallest peak in the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many visitors’ 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 with a view to attain the summit earlier than noon.

The great news is that you just don’t have to reach the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, situated at the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face the place technical climbers rope as much as scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of the park’s finest hikes. Chasm features all the spectacular scenery of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. Nonetheless, at 8.four miles round journey, you’ll still have to be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
At the northeastern end of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.eight-billion-year-old granite formations that have been sculpted by the elements relatively than by glaciers. This markedly totally different model of erosion has resulted in an array of whimsically formed boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The trail to Gem Lake is a great way to explore the area, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way as much as the bijou-like lake.

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