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 contains an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted towards the blue sky function a dramatic reminder of the final ice age. Traverse this nice spine of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or spot fresh bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the 100th anniversary of one among America’s oldest nationwide parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of surprise restored.

It’s a giant place, so to help you discover your means, listed here are some of Rocky Mountain’s best hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is likely one of the park’s hottest locations for first-time visitors, and with good reason. From right 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 area and superb vistas, you must undoubtedly count on giant crowds.

Hikes here range from straightforward jaunts round Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that observe the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an effective alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which will be extended to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.eight miles), both of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.8 miles) might 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 known for its numerous scenery. On this hike you'll climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake before dropping back down by way of fields of scree and right into a forested valley. Right 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 largely 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 approach, Longs Peak is the pinnacle of RMNP and one in all colorado posters’s basic climbs. The tallest peak within the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many visitors’ to-do list. The top of this route is the crux, consisting of slim traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most individuals begin the climb by 3am to be able to reach the summit before noon.

The good news is that you just don’t have to reach the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, located at 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 finest hikes. Chasm features all of the spectacular surroundings of the height with out the risk and arduous ascent. Nonetheless, at 8.four miles spherical journey, you’ll nonetheless have to be in excellent shape.

Gem Lake
On the northeastern finish of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-year-old granite formations that were sculpted by the weather fairly than by glaciers. This markedly different model of abrasion 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 realm, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way up to the bijou-like lake.

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