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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 accommodates an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted against 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 contemporary bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the one centesimal anniversary of one of America’s oldest national parks within the time-honored tradition – backpack on, walking sticks in hand and sense of wonder restored.

It’s a big place, so that will help you discover your way, listed below are a few of Rocky Mountain’s finest hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is likely one of the park’s most popular destinations for first-time guests, and with good reason. From 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 undoubtedly count on giant crowds.

Hikes here range from straightforward jaunts round Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more challenging excursions that observe the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an efficient choice, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which can be prolonged to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.8 miles), each of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.8 miles) might not be the park’s finest 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'll climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake before dropping back down by means of fields of scree and right 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 journey that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s principally downhill. You'll be able to’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing tough-lower 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 top 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 visitors’ to-do list. The top of this route is the crux, consisting of narrow traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most individuals start the climb by 3am so as to reach the summit before noon.

The good news is that you don’t have to succeed in the summit or turn your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, situated on the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face the place technical climbers rope as much as scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of the park’s best hikes. Chasm options all of the spectacular surroundings of the peak with out the risk and arduous ascent. However, at 8.4 miles spherical journey, you’ll nonetheless need to be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
At the northeastern finish of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-year-old granite formations that were sculpted by the weather somewhat than by glaciers. This markedly totally different fashion of erosion has resulted in an array of whimsically formed boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The trail to Gem Lake is a good way to discover the area, ski posters with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way up to the bijou-like lake.