With Rocky Mountain National Park sitting in Estes Park’s backyard, there are more than 355 miles of hiking trails to enjoy. From nature strolls around Sprague and Bear Lakes, to moderate hikes to Alberta and Fern Falls to the strenuous climb of Longs Peak, there’s a long list of hiking options.
Family Hikes Near Estes Park
Want to enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family? Try some of these great family hikes, all three miles and under (one way):
- One of the most popular hikes in the Park takes you to Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Emerald Lake, all in less than two miles.
- Alberta Falls is only one mile from the Bear Lake parking lot. If you feel more ambitious, hike another mile and a half to Mills Lake or The Loch, two beautiful alpine lakes.
- Take the family on the 2.3-mile trek to Cub Lake. Marvel at the wildflowers along the way and discover how the 2012 Fern Lake fire changed the landscape.
- Drive south to Wild Basin and hike to Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls. The trail continues to where the Ouzel Lake forest fire burned in 1979.
When you have completed your hike, be sure pick up a Trail Tag that shows where and how far you have gone. Sew it to a backpack and display it with pride.
Backcountry Hiking Trails
Want to spend a little more time in nature’s serenity? Disappear into the backcountry on these more challenging hikes (10 miles plus):
- Beyond The Loch, scramble up the side of Timberline Falls (stay dry!) and hop over the boulders to Lake of Glass and Sky Pond.
- Hike past Mills Lake and Jewell Lake through the forest to Ribbon Falls and finally Black Lake, where dark, granite cliffs rise above the water. Those who still have the energy should climb the trail next to the waterfall to the east in search of Blue, Green and Frozen Lakes.
- Longs Peak dominates the skyline and is one of the most popular, and challenging, climbs in the Park. A 16-mile round trip, the smart hiker starts at 3am with headlamps.
You can ale have an experienced guide show you the way. Kirks Mountain Adventures offers guided trips as well as llama pack tours. Let a llama carry your gear and small child!
Hiking Tips To Keep You Safe & Happy
To enjoy your hike to the fullest, follow these hiking basics:
- Get acclimated to the altitude and drink lots of water
- Take along a high-energy snack to keep those tired legs going
- Hit the trail early (between 6am and 7am) to avoid crowds and afternoon lightning on mountain peaks
- Wear the proper clothing and invest in good hiking boots
- Hike with a friend and make sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you’re expected back
For more info, Lisa Foster’s Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide is an excellent book on hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Ask for it at Macdonald’s Book Shop and local businesses.Tags: What to Do