Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to discover the vast wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the windswept tundra incorporates an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted against the blue sky function a dramatic reminder of the last 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 a hundredth anniversary of one of America’s oldest national parks in the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of surprise restored.

It’s a big place, so that will help you discover your method, here are some of Rocky Mountain’s finest hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is without doubt one of the park’s hottest locations for first-time visitors, and with good reason. From 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 need to definitely anticipate large crowds.

Hikes here range from straightforward jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more challenging excursions that comply with the glacial valleys up to their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an efficient alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which will 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) 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 favorite and recognized for its various scenery. On this hike you may climb up to the treeline and an alpine lake earlier than 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.

Due to the park shuttle system, this is a one-manner 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 tough-cut cliffs of Notchtop and Flattop mountains. To do this hike, california posters 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 each manner, Longs Peak is the head of RMNP and one in every of Colorado’s classic climbs. The tallest peak within 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 people begin the climb by 3am with a purpose to reach the summit before noon.

The good news is that you don’t have to reach the summit or flip your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, positioned on the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face the place technical climbers rope up to scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of many park’s best hikes. Chasm options all of the spectacular scenery of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. However, at 8.four miles spherical trip, you’ll still must be in very good shape.

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

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