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Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Headed to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking? We’ve got you covered with an ultimate guide to the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the well-trodden paths of Bear Lake corridor to untouched gems of Fall River Road and strenuous summit trails like Long’s Peak, Rocky Mountain N.P. has something spectacular for every skill level!

As much as I’d love to say Colorado is overrated, too many stunning mountains say otherwise. Though this national park may seem overrun with crowds, we’re sharing some great hikes where you can get off the beaten path. Even when it comes to the more popular trails, it’s still worth the hike to see some of the most wonderful alpine lakes on Earth!

Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain, National Park, Colorado
As much as I’d love to say Colorado is overrated, too many stunning mountains say otherwise. Read on to discover 25 amazing hikes that you can explore on your next trip to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park!

Things To Know Before Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park

Do I need a reservation to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer?

Yes. From May 27, 2022 until October 10, 2022. You will need a timed Entry Permit to hike inside any area of the national park. For more details, click here to read to our full breakdown of obtaining an RMNP entry permit.

Does my reservation guarantee parking at the trailhead?

No. Once you obtain a reservation, you will still need to plan accordingly to get parking, especially at the more crowded trailheads of Bear Lake Corridor and Long’s Peak. When it comes to hiking Bear Lake, the earlier the better however if it’s a shorter hike, late afternoons when people are starting to clear out can be good too. The Long’s Peak parking area can be wild. As long as you arrive by 6 am, there’s likely to be something, but it might add a mile to your hike. If you’re not hiking Long’s Peak, just starting at that trailhead, it may be a good option to start your hike around noon or 1 pm (weather permitting) because some people will begin to leave after hiking Long’s.

Does it cost money to enter Rocky Mountain National Park?

Yes, you either have to pay an entrance fee or purchase a parking pass. See more on fees and pass prices here. In addition to your fee/pass, you will also need to obtain a timed entry permit from May through October.

Are thunderstorms a risk?

Thunderstorms are a big risk when hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. In the summer, thunderstorms are almost a daily occurrence but fortunately, they usually don’t roll through until the afternoon. This is another reason why it’s really important to get an early start on day hikes in Rocky Mountain NP.

Can I hike in the afternoon if there’s a thunderstorm risk?

A general rule of thumb is to always make sure you’re below the tree line by the time a thunderstorm rolls through. With this rule in mind, it can be okay to take on a short hike in the afternoon in the park if it’s a hike that stays below the treeline the whole time. An example of this would be if you didn’t get a timed entry permit and so now you’re waiting until 6 pm to enter the park, but it’s a short hike to just Alberta Falls or Dream, which both stay under the treeline, so dependent on the forecasted chance of precipitation and thunder, you could go for it.

Where can I check the weather for different areas of the park?

The weather forecast for Estes Park is not the same as different areas of the park so you must refer to the area you’re looking to explore. For detailed weather in different areas of the park, click here. To get the Trail Ridge Road weather forecast, click here. For a Long’s Peak weather forecast, click here.

How do I find out about trail closures?

You can find current trail conditions on the National Park website here.

Is Trail Ridge Road open year-round?

No, Trail Ridge Road is open seasonally. Open and closing date varies year-to-year but generally by the road is open by the end of May. The fastest way to get info on Trail Ridge Road is the call the status line: 970 586-1222. Click here to learn more about road conditions.

Are there bears in Rocky Mountain NP?

Yes, these are the Rockies of course! To the newbie hikers, there’s no need to worry about a bear attacking you, but you should always pack bear spray on your hike!

Top 10 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Before we dive into all 25+ of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain NP, we’ve compiled the top 10!

  1. Chasm Lake
  2. Ultimate Sky Pond & Lake Haiyaha Loop
  3. CCY Route (Chapin-Chiqiuta-Ypsilon route)
  4. Bluebird Lake
  5. Odessa Lake to Lake Helene Thru Hike
  6. Mount Ida
  7. Lion Lake No. 1
  8. Long’s Peak
  9. Ute Trail
  10. Mills & Black Lake

Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park at Bear Lake Corridor

These best hikes in the entire Bear Lake Corridor. If you’re not familiar with the Bear Lake corridor, click here to see the detailed map.

Important to keep in mind is that this corridor is an outback road at the Beaver Meadow Entrance Station. There’s also an initial fork in the road that separates Moraine Park and Fern Lake from the main Bear Lake Road which dead ends at the Bear Lake TH.

Bear Lake Corridor, Rocky Mountain National Park Trails

Alberta Falls

Difficulty: Very easy
Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: 160’
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge TH

Beginning with the easiest hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Alberta Falls is a great family-friendly hike that takes you through pine forests and aspen groves. Beginning at the Glacier Gorge trailhead, this easy hike can be one of the most popular and crowded trails in the park so get started early.

Even though the waterfall is pretty, unless you can’t hike more than 3 miles, I would recommend all other hikes in this blog above this one.

For an even more beautiful hike, extend this to either Loch Vale, Black Lake, or Lake Haiyaha as we recommend below.

Emerald & Dream Lake

Emerald Lake, Best Day Hikes from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park + Camping Tips
Emerald Lake

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation gain: 605’
Trailhead: Bear Lake Trailhead

Though only 3 and a half miles roundtrip, this hike is incredibly beautiful and rewarding especially if you do it in the early morning hours before it gets crowded.

You’ll start by passing the small lily pad-covered Nymph Lake then continues to Dream Lake. Dream Lake gives you your first beautiful mountain views but it’s worthwhile to continue .7 miles further to Emerald Lake.

At Emerald Lake, you’ll be blown away by the vivid alpine waters nestled beneath sheer mountain peaks.

In our opinion, this is the best family-friendly hike in the park. Though there is one steep section, it’s worth tackling because it’s far more beautiful than Alberta Falls.

Like this hike? Consider taking on Lake Haiyaha too or add Sky Pond for the ultimate day hike!

Lake Haiyaha

Lake Haiyaha, Best Day Hikes from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park + Camping Tips
Lake Haiyaha

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation gain: 745’
Trailhead: Bear Lake TH

Lake Haiyaha is yet another stunning alpine lake that is highly rewarding for very little effort. While Emerald Lake is a bit better to sit and have a picnic, we like that at Lake Haiyaha people spread out and kinda have their own space to enjoy the view. Find a boulder to sit on and enjoy the view!

Lake Haiyaha, Emerald & Dream Lake

Emerald Lake, Best Day Hikes from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park + Camping Tips
Isabelle at Emerald Lake

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 5.8 Miles or 7.6 miles
Elevation gain: 745’
Trailhead: Bear Lake TH and/or Glacier Gorge TH

Want to tick off all three of the last few great hikes I mentioned? No problem! You can combine Haiyaha, Emerald, and Dream Lake for a wonderful moderate-day hike. This hike can vary in length between 5-8 miles.

If you hike all 3 of these alpine lakes from Bear Lake TH and just go out and back, it’s only 5.8 miles. However, if you’re like us, and would rather hike longer in a loop to avoid any backtracking, start at Bear Lake TH but finish at Glacier Gorge TH, passing by Alberta Falls, for a 7.6-mile hike roundtrip.

Loch Vale

Loch Vale, Best Day Hikes from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park + Camping Tips
Loch Vale

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation gain: 990’
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Want to escape the crowds around Bear Lake? Loch Vale is a great choice! Though Haiyaha and Emerald Lake are stunning, Loch Vale feels much more like raw wilderness due to the expansive views of Taylor Peak, Taylor Glacier, and Thatchtop Mountain,

Loch Vale is a great lake to have a picnic at due to the forested shoreline. Hang a hammock, bring a JetBoil, or even bring a swimsuit for a wonderful afternoon at the Loch.

Got more hiking in you? Continue a few 1-2 miles further to Sky Pond to level up your hike even more!

Sky Pond & Glass Lake via the Glacier Gorge Trail

Sky Pond, Best Day Hikes from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park + Camping Tips
Sky Pond

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 9.8 miles
Elevation gain: 1650’
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge TH

Sky Pond is a stunning alpine wonderland that nestles up-canyon from the subalpine Loch Vale. Though Sky Pond is only about 2 miles past Loch Vale, it’s much more difficult to reach. The trail includes a sustained strenuous grade, a series of rock steps, and also includes one section of scrambling up a boulder field beside a waterfall.

Once past the boulder scramble, the trail eases up a bit. This is where you’ll come to Glass Lake, a small alpine pond. Take in the view for a moment, but I recommend hiking to Sky Pond before resting with a snack.

At Sky Pond, soak in the stunning views of the moraine-filled lake surrounded by sheer rock cliffs. Warning, the exposure of the alpine can make this spot exposed to wind so either pack warm clothes if you want to enjoy a snack up here, or hike back down to Loch Vale for a picnic and rest.

Ultimate Sky Pond & Lake Haiyaha Loop

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 12.5 miles
Elevation gain: 2400’
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge TH to Bear Lake TH

Alrighty, want to get the best bang for your buck on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park? This is the hike for you!

Though the hike is 12.5 miles, it’s honestly not too strenuous! On this hike, you get to experience all 6 of the last lakes mentioned: Loch Vale, Glass Lake, Sky Pond, Lake Haiyaha, Emerald Lake, and Dream Lake! Plus, you’ll also be greeted with almost constant forests, streams, and the towering Long’s Peak in the distance.

Odessa Lake to Lake Helene Thru Hike

Odessa Lake, Best Day Hikes from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park + Camping Tips
Odessa Lake

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 8.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1215’
Trailhead: Fern Lake TH to Bear Lake or Fern Lake TH

Perhaps the best hike in the Bear Lake region of Rocky Mountain is this incredible thru-hike that starts from Fern Lake Trailhead and goes to Lake Helene, Odessa Lake, and finishes at Bear Lake and the Bear Lake Trailhead!

Though the Ultimate Sky Pond & Lake Haiyaha Loop rivals this hike in beauty, I favor this hike due to the greater solitude. Don’t accidents skip the small detour to get to the shoreline of Lake Odessa? It’s the highlight of the hike!

Note that if you want to avoid having to wait for a shuttle bus, you can backtrack this hike to and from the Fern Lake Trailhead.

Related Tips For Visiting the Bear Lake Corridor, Rocky Mountain NP

Mills and Black Lake

Black Lake, Best Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
Mills and Black Lake Hike – Photo credit: GoHikeCO.com

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation gain: 1380’
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge TH

Mills and Black is another stunning alpine lake journey that branches off from the Glacier Gorge trail. This hike is less crowded but equally as beautiful as the journey to Loch Vale and Sky Pond. A ranger who worked in the National Park once told us that this was his favorite hike in the park (which is saying a lot). 

Featuring subalpine meadows, views of prominent mountain peaks, and a nestled in an alpine cirque, you can’t go wrong with a hike out to Black Lake.

Black Lake is the usual turnaround point, however, you have the option to continue on an off-trail adventure to Blue Lake, Green Lake, and Frozen Lake. These trails are unmaintained and marked by cairns, so it’ll require scrambling and you have route-finding skills.

Andrews Tarn & Andrews Glacier

Andrews Glacier, Hikes n Rocky Mountain National Park
Andrews Glacier in RMNP – Photo credit: Hike734.com

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 9.3 miles
Elevation gain: 2260’
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge TH

The hike out to Andrews Tarn and Glacier overlaps with the hike to Loch Vale. After reaching Loch Vale, instead of continuing straight up Glacier Gorge to Sky Pond, you’ll take a right at the junction roughly half a mile past The Loch.

While the trail is shown on the Rocky Mountain National Park trail map, the trail is less obvious in person and requires some knowledge of route-finding to navigate the boulder field that comes after the junction. In addition, it is also steeper than the Black Lake hike.

The lake and glacier are beautiful, however, it’s worth noting that the effort-to-reward ratio is lower than other hikes in the Bear Lake area.

That being said, it’s probably the least crowded of the Glacier Gorge hikes and can be a great choice if you enjoy getting off the beaten trail!

Hallet Peak & Flattop Mountain

Hallet Peak & Flattop Mountain Views
Views from Hallet Peak and Flattop Mountain Hike – Photo Credit: 10Adventures.com

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 10.3 miles
Elevation gain: 3293’
Trailhead: Bear Lake TH

Hallet Peak is a summit that towers above Emerald Lake and Lake Haiyaha, sitting right beside the sister peak, Flattop Mountain. Translation: It’s more strenuous than all the other hikes in Bear Lake however, it’s a relatively easy peak to summit, definitely one of the easiest in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

This hike is considered a designated trail up until Flattop Mountain, where you begin your first official off-trail hiking marked by cairns.

From the summit, and during basically the whole second half of the hike up, you’ll experience amazing panoramic views of nearly 13er Otis Peak, 13er Taylor Peak, famous 14er Long’s Peak, as well as the Mummy Range, and Never Summer Range.

Related – Rocky Mountain to Grand Teton National Park Road Trip

Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain NP at Longs Peak

Best hikes beginning from the Long’s Peak Trailhead & Ranger station.

Trail Map for Long's Peak area
Trail Map for the Long’s Peak region

Chasm Lake

Rocky_mountain_to_mesa_verde_national_park

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 8.8 miles
Elevation gain: 2,542′
Trailhead: Long’s Peak Ranger Station

Chasm Lake is the underrated best friend to the iconic hike and renowned 14er, Long’s Peak. This is easily one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain NP!

This lake is located at the base of Chasm Peak which, in my opinion, makes it in many ways far more beautiful than Long’s summit. Chasm Lake is a moraine-colored blue that is nestled between sheer rock faces on 3 sides. The rock features are simply stunning and there’s something very unique about the columns.

The first few miles of Chasm Lake are shared with the Summit Trail making it very crowded however once you hit the Chasm Lake junction and turn left, it gets much less crowded and much more beautiful now that you’re above treeline and have beautiful views. Though easier than Long’s, the trail is no easy feat as it ascends roughly 2,500 feet in a little over 4 miles through alpine terrain.

Two ascents up boulders on the sides of waterfalls are your final push to the lake where you’ll be greeted with a simply unforgettable view of Long’s standing before you, mountain views behind you, and a beautiful alpine lake at your feet.

Long’s Peak

Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Distance: 14.8 miles
Elevation gain: 5,039’
Trailhead: Long’s Peak Ranger Station

Long’s Peak is a renowned and iconic 14er (a 14,000+ foot peak) that towers above Estes Park as the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. The beautiful prominence of Long’s Peak has inspired climbers and hikers for decades. It has become one of the most esteemed 14ers for a hiker to summit due to the exposed nature of even the easiest and most commonly used trail known as the Keyhole Route.

The Keyhole Route has become the standard hiker’s route since it requires no technical climbing skills from roughly July through September. Though it’s easier than all the other routes, it’s not for the faint of heart.

The route includes class 3 scrambling and moments where you’ll be walking across ledges only a few inches wide that give way to sheer granite rock faces. That’s not to mention the lightning and hypothermia risks that many often overlook. This is why most people begin the trek at 3 am. Even without risks, this is a very long and strenuous hike that is 7.4 miles each way with more than 5,000′ of elevation gain.

This hike isn’t for everyone, but experienced hikers and those looking for a big challenge will love to take on the adventure of Long’s Peak.

Make sure you check the current Long’s Peak trail conditions in advance.

Twin Sisters Peak Trail

Twin Sisters Peaks Trail
View of Long’s Peak from the summit of Twin Sisters Peaks – Photo credit: AllTrails.com

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation gain: 2,516’
Trailhead: Lily Lake & Twin Sister TH

Beginning near Lily Lake, the Twin Sisters Peaks are a fairly easy way to reach two summits in Rocky Mountain National Park. While ticking these two summits might not be as prestigious as summiting Long’s, it’s far easier and delivers close to as beautiful of views.

Though moderate, this hike does require some route finding and some scrambling on boulder fields. The trail will bring you up to a col where you can choose to hike up to one or both the Twin summits. The western Sister is a much more defined path to the summit. The eastern Sister is very doable for experienced hikers but do note, that you have to backtrack down the western before you can ascend the eastern.

Related- Colorado Road Trip: Rocky Mountain to Mesa Verde National Park

Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain NP at Wild Basin (Near Allenspark)

These are the top hikes in the Wild Basin region of the national park. This region is located on the west side of Hwy 7 right by Allenspark.

Trail Map for Wild basin, Rocky Mountain Np
Trail map for the Wild Basin region

Bluebird Lake

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 12.6 miles
Elevation gain: 2,478’
Trailhead: Wild Basin TH

Bluebird Lake is yet another stunning alpine lake, far less known than the crazy popular hikes of the Bear Lake region, but no less beautiful.

It’s a fairly strenuous hike to reach Bluebird, however, the trail is consistent in grade and has many stops and features along the way including Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, Ouzel Falls, and Ouzel Lake which does rewire an additional .8 mile roundtrip detour.

Upon reaching Bluebird, you’ll be greeted with a bright blue lake, accurate to the lake’s name, beneath a cirque. The jagged, beautiful, and nearly 13,000 Ouzel Peak stands across the lake beside Copeland Mountain, Mahana Peak, and Isolation Peak.

Lion Lake No. 1

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 12 miles
Elevation gain: 2,565’
Trailhead: Wild Basin TH

Sharing the beginning 1.2 miles with Bluebird Lake’s hike, Lion Lake brings you up a parallel river valley to another alpine lake. Though equally as strenuous as Bluebird, Lion Lake is a bit of a different view.

While Bluebird Lake is condensed, Lion Lake is vast and is surrounded by more lush meadows rather than a sheer cirque. Take this into account when trying to decide which hike is best for you.

That’s not to say there aren’t beautiful mountains though. After all, it is surrounded by two 13ers, Mt Alice and Chief’s Head Peak plus Tanima Peak. 

After Lion Lake No. 1, you have the option to continue onto unmaintained trails which can bring you to Lion Lake No. 2 and Snowbank Lake.

Ouzel Falls

Photo source: Pinterest

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation gain: 322’
Trailhead: Wild Basin TH

Perhaps the most high-trafficked trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is Alberta Falls. Though pretty, driving up to Roxy Mountain just to see Alberta Falls is disappointing mostly because of the crowds. If you want an easy hike to a waterfall, do yourself a favor and choose Ouzel Falls over Alberta to get a real taste of Rocky Mountain nature with a dash of solitude.

This is a portion of the Bluebird Lake trail so of course, if you can hike further, it’s worth continuing on to Bluebird Lake mentioned above.

Important: Visiting between May & October? Make sure you obtain an entry permit!

Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain NP on Fall River Road

This area of the best Rocky Mountain national park hikes is located on the north and west of Estes Park in what is known as the Mummy Range. One trailhead is very close to Estes Park but more trailheads lie in higher elevation regions west of Estes. Some trailheads are accessed from Old Fall River Road, which is a one-way narrow dirt road that parallels the Trail Ridge Road. Only 1-2 hikes are accessed form the Trail Ridge Road side.

Map of Fall River area, Rocky Mountain National Park Trails
Trail map of the Fall River area of RMNP

CCY Route (Chapin-Chiquita-Ypsilon)

Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation gain: 3,244’
Trailhead: Chapin Creek TH

Say hello to one of the truly most epic hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Chapin Chiquita Ypsilon route, AKA the CCY Route, brings you to three summits that are 12,454 feet, 13,069 feet, and 13,514 feet respectively, and contains no marked trails.

Do note that each of these peaks can be hiked standalone and you don’t have to do the full CCY route…but why not?

The terrain is generally walkable but does contain sections of class two scramble on small talus fields. Though very strenuous and challenging, the shorter length of the route is what makes it very doable. Experienced hikers will love venturing off on this adventure and the amazing views along the way.

Note that Chapin Pass Trailhead isn’t a trailhead. Just a series of pull-outs along Fall River Road. Don’t block the road and be prepared to walk far if pullouts are filling up.

Ypsilon Lake

Chipmunk Lake – Photo Source: DayHikesNearDenver.com

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation gain: 2,380’
Trailhead: Lawn Lake TH

Sitting beneath the 3 summits of the CCY Route, Ypsilon Lake is a great, easier option along Fall River Road.

About 3.5 miles in, you’ll reach Chipmunk Lake which many consider to be more beautiful than the destination itself, Ypsilon Lake.

This hike is accessed right at the start of Old Fall River Road, which could make this a good choice if you’re wanting to add a moderate hike to a day of driving this scenic one-way dirt road.

Gem Lake

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation gain: 994’
Trailhead: Lumpy Ridge TH

Located just north of Estes Park, this is a great easy hike with a low investment of time commitment due to its proximity to town.

This short hike delivers great views of Estes Park, Mt. Meeker, and Longs Peak along the way to Gem Lake, which is surrounded by granite cliffs very different than other lakes in the park.

Related: 30 Insanely Awesome Things to Do in Durango, Colorado

Ute Trail to Tombstone Ridge

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation gain: 1912’
Trailhead: Ute Trailhead (along Trail Ridge Road)

Tombstone Ridge is a highly rewarding that traverses one of the many ridge lines above Trail Ridge Road. you get stunning panoramic views for almost the entire hike and when you Tombstone Ridge, it gets even better. You’ll be able to see all the classic Rocky Mountain views from Long’s Peak to Estes Park, to the Mummy Mountains plus Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon Peaks.

Though the Uta Trail continues for a long time (trail conditions permitting), to reach Tombstone Ridge, it’s only 2 miles each way. You can continue .4 miles further past the rock outcropping that marks the Tombstone summit, however, that additional .4 miles will just descend to the treeline before reaching a trail closure so there’s no point to go down there.

Though fairly short and easy, the exposure to alpine tundra, including strong winds, can make this hike feel harder than it should. Come prepared for a hard hike and with warm clothes.

Additionally, this trailhead is very small with room for less than a dozen cars. There are other parking pullouts nearby but it will add distance to your hike so be sure to arrive early.

Crystal & Lawn Lake

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 15 miles
Elevation gain: 3,097’
Trailhead: Lawn Lake TH

If you’re looking to really get off the beaten path and have an alpine lake all to yourself, Crystal Lake is the hike for you. Beginning from the same trailhead as Ypsilon Lake, right at the start of Old Fall River Road, this hike brings you deep into the Mummy Range.

Crystal Lake is an untouched gem that sits at the foot of beautiful Mt. Fairchild. This is a beautiful lake, and though it’s gradual and easy for the distance, the effort-to-reward ratio is low.  Crystal is more of a choice if you feel like you’ve already done everything else in the park.

Related: Guide to Backpacking the Maroon Bells, Aspen Colorado

Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain NP in Kawuneeche Valley

Kawuneeche Valley is on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, accessed when driving westbound from Estes Park. After summiting Trail Ridge Road (US Hwy 24), the road quickly descends into this valley.

Map of Kawuneeche Valley Trails
Trail map of the RMNP Kawuneeche Valley

Mount Ida

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 9.6 miles
Elevation gain: 2358’
Trailhead: Milner Pass / Poudre Lake TH

Hiking Mount Ida is a very similar adventure to the CCY Route, and though the distance doesn’t seem crazy, the nature of the terrain you have to climb and traverse adds a lot of difficulty to this route. That being said, this hike is spectacular and possibly even more spectacular than the CCY route.

The trail spends nearly all of its time (except for the first Miel) above treeline in true alpine terrain. Along this hike, you may be greeted by picas, marmots, ptarmigans, and even bighorn sheep and elk.

The long journey will finally bring you to Mount Ida’s summit at 12,889 feet. You’ll be greeted with endless views of the Never Summer Mountains, Long’s Peak, the Mummy Range, and best of all a beautiful basin that sits right beneath the mountain you’re standing on.

Timber Lake Trail

Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 10.9 miles
Elevation gain: 2408’
Trailhead: Timber Lake TH

Timber Lake is a long journey but to a beautiful lake and meadow-filled basin. The hike is very similar to Lion Lake, though the lake is slightly less blue. This is another hike that is beautiful, but best to consider other hikes in the park first before checking out Timber Lake.


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