Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Best Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to discover the huge wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the windswept tundra comprises an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted in opposition to the blue sky serve as a dramatic reminder of the last 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 one centesimal anniversary of one among America’s oldest national parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, walking sticks in hand and sense of surprise restored.

It’s an enormous place, so that can assist you discover your method, here are a few of Rocky Mountain’s greatest hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is without doubt one of the park’s hottest destinations for first-time guests, and with good reason. From right here you’ll have a front-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 area and superb vistas, it's best to positively expect large crowds.

Hikes right here range from easy jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that follow the glacial valleys up to their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is a good selection, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which might be prolonged to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.eight miles), each of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.eight miles) is probably not the park’s greatest 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 various scenery. On this hike you may 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. Here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Due to the park shuttle system, this is a one-way journey that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s largely downhill. You'll be able to’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing rough-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 journey by merely going to Lake Helene and back (5.eight miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in each approach, Longs Peak is the head of RMNP and one in all Colorado’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 top 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 begin the climb by 3am with the intention to attain the summit earlier than noon.

The great news is that you simply don’t have to succeed in the summit or flip your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, positioned on the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face where technical climbers rope up to scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of the park’s finest hikes. Chasm features all of the spectacular surroundings of the height with out the risk and arduous ascent. However, at 8.four miles round journey, you’ll nonetheless must be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
On the northeastern end of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-12 months-old granite formations that were sculpted by the weather somewhat than by glaciers. This markedly totally different type of erosion has resulted in an array of whimsically formed boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The path to Gem Lake is a great way to discover the area, ski town posters with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the best way as much as the bijou-like lake.

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