Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the huge wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, the place the windswept tundra incorporates an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted against the blue sky serve as a dramatic reminder of the final ice age. Traverse this great spine of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or ski town posters spot fresh bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of considered one of America’s oldest national parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, walking sticks in hand and sense of surprise restored.

It’s a giant place, so to help you discover your way, here are a few of Rocky Mountain’s finest 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 entrance-row vantage level 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 giant crowds.

Hikes right here range from straightforward jaunts around Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that observe the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an effective alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which may be extended to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.eight miles), both of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.eight miles) is probably not 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 favourite and identified for its various scenery. On this hike you'll climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake before dropping back down by fields of scree and into a forested valley. Here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Because of the park shuttle system, this is a one-method trip that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s mostly downhill. You can’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing tough-cut 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 merely going to Lake Helene and back (5.eight miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in every approach, Longs Peak is the top of RMNP and one among 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 top of this route is the crux, consisting of slim traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most people start the climb by 3am in order to attain the summit earlier than noon.

The nice news is that you simply don’t have to achieve the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, situated 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 finest hikes. Chasm options all of the spectacular scenery of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. Nonetheless, at 8.4 miles spherical trip, you’ll still have to be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
At 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 elements somewhat than by glaciers. This markedly completely different fashion of erosion has resulted in an array of whimsically shaped boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The path to Gem Lake is a good way to discover the area, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way as much as the bijou-like lake.

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