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, where the windswept tundra contains 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 recent bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the a centesimal anniversary of one of America’s oldest nationwide parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of marvel restored.

It’s a big place, so to help you find your method, here are a few of Rocky Mountain’s greatest hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is without doubt one of the park’s most popular locations for california posters first-time guests, and with good reason. From right here you’ll have a front-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 space and superb vistas, you must definitely expect massive crowds.

Hikes here range from easy jaunts round 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 choice, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which can be extended 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.eight 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 favorite and identified for its numerous scenery. On this hike you may climb up to the treeline and an alpine lake before dropping back down by means of fields of scree and 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 mostly downhill. You possibly can’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing rough-minimize 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 (5.8 miles).

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

The great news is that you simply don’t have to succeed in the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, located on 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 best hikes. Chasm features all the spectacular scenery of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. Nevertheless, at 8.4 miles spherical journey, you’ll still must be in excellent shape.

Gem Lake
On the northeastern finish of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-12 months-old granite formations that were sculpted by the weather quite than by glaciers. This markedly different model of abrasion has resulted in an array of whimsically formed boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The path to Gem Lake is an effective way to discover the realm, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way as much as the bijou-like lake.

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