No matter where you end up adventuring in Estes Park, please enjoy, be safe, and practice Leave No Trace principles! If the trailhead isn’t super well-traveled this time of year, it’s not as easy to follow the trail, so route finding and that kind of thing is a whole different animal this time of year.”. Special OP/Ed - What exactly is the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It has since been mostly restored, but the trail can be difficult to find at times, especially in snow. Estes Park: the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park is a small mountain town packed with history and charm. The mountain will always be there, and if the trail is questionable, it’s OK to turn around and try again another time. If you are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, I encourage you to explore outside the park as well! The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. Estes Park is packed with its own epic trails and peaks. These bears live close to humans and are pretty comfortable with being close to us; that doesn’t mean you should take a selfie with them. Backpacking or dispersed camping along this trail will also require a Parks camping permit and reservation that can be obtained here. It's a great destination to bring the family and those who aren't familiar with hiking in the snow. While it is always important to check the weather before you leave for a hike, unfortunately weather forecasts don’t mean a whole lot in Colorado. The hike follows a creek through Lion Gulch then ascends and brings you up to Homestead Meadows. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. Located south of Estes Park in Rocky Mountain National Park, this trail is easy to access directly along Highway 7. Hiking safety and popular trails outside RMNP, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Trail Ridge Road Closes To Through Travel For The Season, Some help is on the way for small businesses, View from the top of the Estes Cone in Rocky Mountain National Park — VIDEO, Inside Arts: Local author James Kaiser combines writing and photography. With its spellbinding coastal views and funky bohemian history, it’s impossible not to be charmed by the woodsy quirks and forested mountains of Big Sur. More in the need of a classic cocktail? The lake is frozen right now and can be carefully walked on. Be sure to pause at the bridge to look for trout. Gem Lake is a short but strenuous hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are the best waterfalls near RMNP and Estes Park, CO, in no particular order:. The Walker and Griffith homesteads and cabins will be the first that you come to; you can go further and find the Irvin homestead and sawmill, Laycock, Hill, and Boren Homesteads. These experiences are best for hiking trails in Estes Park: Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver; Private Hiking Tour to Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder Located in Roosevelt National Forest, this is a popular and relatively short trail used for backpacking. Parking and entering is free, and dogs are allowed on leash in the area. Best hiked in March-September, Lily Mountain Trail is a great way to start or end a day exploring Estes Park. This trail is open year-round and is a great snow-shoe hike in the winter. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. Check out more of our hiking guides featuring the most epic terrain in the Rocky Mountains: 10 Best Hikes in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This level, fully accessible trail with a parking lot is perfect to take young ones as it gently meanders around the lake. A brief list of some of the more popular hikes outside the park follows. President Trump says he will not attend inauguration of President-elect Biden, Guest Op Eds: Current state of EPH Living Center alternatives evaluation, U.S. unemployment claims slip to still-high 787,000, Colorado Rep. Jason Crow recounts being trapped in House chamber as pro-Trump mob attacks Capitol, Jeep of woman thought to be missing in RMNP found near Poudre Canyon, VIDEO OF THE DAY: Geese flock on Lakes Estes, TIME LAPSE VIDEO: Clouds roll over RMNP peaks in winter, Video of the Week: SOUND ON- The undisturbed wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, RMNP announces winter pile burning operations on both sides of Park, Brought to you by Prairie Mountain Publishing, Photo Gallary of the week - Winter in RMNP, Inside People: Dr. Zehr is new EPH Chief of Staff, Video: Congressman Neguse issues statement on today’s breach of the U.S. Capitol, Larimer County still seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, Colorado unemployment FAQ: How to apply, details about missing PINs and more. This loop trail is short on the mileage, but all of the potential side hikes make the distance and difficulty of the trip extremely variable. The Bulwark Ridge and Indian Trails will take you to Miller Fork Trail which will then take you to Donner Pass. A perfect rest day activity, or fun addition to walking around town, enjoying the Lake Estes Trail is fun for all ages and activities. Why you should go: Earn these epic views and summit the rightfully named Lookout Mountain! Sprague Lake. This hike can be completed all year long, but requires the use of snowshoes and possibly crampons in the winter months. You can learn more about our editorial and affiliate policy, 10 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Boulder Canyon Trail: Where the Water Meets the Desert, Camping in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests & Thunder Basin National Grassland, High Seas & Summit Breeze: 10 Best Hikes in Big Sur, California, 10 Best Glamping Resorts in Colorado for Epic Outdoor Adventures, 10 Best Cabin Rentals in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo: Brendan Bombaci. The Estes Park Visitor Center is also right along this pathway, so take some time to stop in! The weather could be really nice and sunny in town, but a couple thousand feet in elevation change could make for blizzard conditions. “A lot of people will just roll out with just jeans and tennis shoes, and they’re not properly equipped,” he said. It is also recommended to bring a map and compass on this trail as backup. Join 80,000+ adventurers getting epic travel, camping and hiking ideas every week. These burgers are the instant fix to any long, hard day on the trail. The 7 Best Hikes in Estes Park, Colorado. To access the 1/2 mile loop hike around Sprague Lake, cross the bridge near the parking area. There is a trailhead named Miller Creek/Fork Trailhead that is where this trail begins; but currently, you can’t park at this trailhead unless you have a resident pass. Wildlife is quite abundant here; you can find deer, elk, black bears, foxes, coyotes, and even wild turkeys. While viewing wildlife might be your reason to travel to Estes Park and hike, always be cautious and keep your distance. You can find her on Instagram at @aka_dmoney. Emerald Lake Hike Rocky Mountain National Park. If you have hiked in the northern Colorado area before, you’ve probably been warned about frequent afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months. Climb through aspen and pine to reach the beautiful views of Estes Park and the majestic peaks of RMNP. Some parts of the trail are icy right now, but with a little caution, it’s an easy trail to navigate even without microspikes. Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park, near Allenspark, Colorado, on May 25, 2018. The homesteads are well marked with information plaques, and you will see markers to other homesteads down shorter trails. Although not in the park, Lily Mountain appears in the official park map. Old Fall River Road is a one-way dirt road that winds all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center. These were my favorites: 1. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. While it is a popular trail, you’ll likely find spaces available early-mid morning. Lily Lake has a short, mellow trail that loops around the lake. She has had the privilege of working for Colorado’s most experienced climbing guide service as an Office & Marketing Manager and an Outdoor Climbing Guide. Views at the top will make for great sunrise/sunset hikes, and the wildflowers during the spring and summer months are certainly a sight to see. Not only do you get to visit a pretty lake but you also get sweeping views of Estes Park with Longs Peak in the distance. But this trail will make you sweat! The elevation gain is just 10 feet, with the highest elevation point being 8,940 feet. Sign up for our free email to join thousands of readers getting epic travel, hiking, camping and gear ideas every week. Lily Mountain Trail. The Twin Owls Loop gives you ad complete tour of this Northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. Cairns and survey tape can be found in spots by previous hikers to aid in finding the way. Why you should go: Enjoy a thick forest scene, great vistas, and amazing views at the top of this popular trail. While this paved trail isn’t the most extreme or doesn’t take you up an iconic summit, Lake Estes still makes the cut for this article because it’s just fun. R off US34 on MacGregor Ave. 3.5 mi. Based on many years of hiking throughout the park we've developed a list of our personal favorite top ten hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is a great setting for a picnic. There are no grocery stores in Rocky Mountain National Park. Choose from plenty of great family hikes in Rocky Mountain National park. Some of these trails will add another mile or so onto your hike, but this hike is more of an adventure anyway so why not? Around the lake, you’ll get views of Rocky Mountain National Park, the valleys that make up Estes Park, the infamous Stanley Hotel, and you can even catch a glimpse of the Lumpy Ridge rock formations to the north. The trail gains 1,000 feet in elevation with the highest point of the hike being 8,860 feet. Our favorite hikes include everything from family-friendly trails to challenging summit attempts, offering a scenic feast of high-altitude lakes, waterfalls, and of course, spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. to end. J Day’s Appliance... Tyler is the Trail-Gazette's managing editor. Greenwood & Myers Mortuary in Frederick provides full mortuary services to families in Northern Colorado, including affordable cremation options. Short hikes, Tundra hikes – Throughout RMNP there are scenic overlooks, parks and picnic areas that have short hiking trails to walk on. From the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, you’ll ascend the southeastern portion of Lumpy Ridge — a giant granite rock outcropping sculpted by 1.8 billion years of wind and water erosion. It was breathtaking.”. And as always, please practice Leave No Trace Principles while on the trails of this beautiful Colorado mountain town! More popular among rock climbers than hikers, this trail is a lightly traveled local secret. The “free-entry” aspect is what makes this area popular among climbers, but they leave the trail after the first 3-4 miles to scramble up to the rock faces. This trailhead is free to park and enter, but it is just a small pull-off on Highway 7 so parking can be limited. If you are visiting ... Bear Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike is very manageable for hikers of all ages and experience levels. Explore an adventure playground full of 14ers, alpine lakes, and over 300 miles of trails. Some that I recommend are Hidden Valley, Alluvial Fan, Moraine Park, and the Tundra Trails near the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. The hike to Calypso Cascades is a beginner hike that offers impressive views of a cascading waterfall. This hike is inside Rocky Mountain National Park, but it isn’t a trail – it is a road. 1. If you're seeking trails that explore deeper into the backcountry of the park, check out our list of the Top 10 Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park . Know your limits and the equipment you have. Nymph Lake. Bottom line: don’t make a moose feel threatened! Best traveled between May and October, the Donner Pass Trail is a lightly trafficked out-and-back trail. This trail can receive horrible weather all year round. 2.5 mi. Protsnan said the best way to get comfortable with hiking in the snow to mitigate risk is to just go out to a well-traveled zone. No, not the same Donner Pass that led to the historic Donner Party’s tragic demise. But for anyone who is looking for safe hiking options that are outside of the park, there are hundreds of trails to choose from. If you’re looking to trade in the sleeping bag for a king size bed, then take a look at our top picks for the best glamping in Colorado. I spent this last summer working in the Colorado. – Lily Mountain: This is a moderate, four-mile round trip hike located just south of Estes Park along Colo. 7. Cow Creek trailhead is near the historic McGraw Ranch, at the end of McGraw Ranch Road, which can be found north of Estes Park off Devils Gulch Road (Limited parking). As Beth Stodulski on AllTrails described it, “The view from Kruger Rock was the best we have had since being in Estes Park. This infamous hotel is said to have inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining,” and is one of the top places to visit during your stay in Estes Park. If you want a trail that has it all, Cub Lake is a great option. 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