Rocky Mountain National Park's Finest Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Finest Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the vast wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, the place the windswept tundra accommodates 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 in every of America’s oldest national parks in the time-honored tradition – backpack on, walking sticks in hand and sense of marvel restored.

It’s an enormous place, so that will help you discover your approach, listed below are some of Rocky Mountain’s finest hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is among the park’s most popular locations for first-time visitors, 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 definitely expect giant crowds.

Hikes right here range from simple 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 choice, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which might be prolonged 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) might not be 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 favorite and known for its diverse scenery. On this hike you will climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake earlier than dropping back down via fields of scree and right 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-method journey that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s mostly downhill. You may’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 journey 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 in every of colorado posters’s classic climbs. The tallest peak in the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many visitors’ to-do list. The highest of this route is the crux, consisting of slender traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most people start the climb by 3am to be able to attain the summit earlier than noon.

The great news is that you simply don’t have to reach the summit or flip 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 the park’s finest hikes. Chasm options all the spectacular surroundings of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. Nevertheless, at 8.four miles spherical journey, you’ll still have to be in superb 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 reasonably 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 realm, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the best way as much as the bijou-like lake.

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