Rocky Mountain National Park boasts a wide variety of attractions and wildlife in its different ecological zones, like mountains, alpine lakes, forests, and tundra. As such, it’s a favorite spot of outdoorsmen, basically turning it into their home away from home or an office.
Around 4.4 million people visited this Colorado park in 2021, and probably, all of them were enchanted by its allure that they decided to return. As it should be because the park offers a variety of activities like camping, climbing, biking, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and hiking. The latter is probably the best way to enjoy the destination as it takes guests right where the action is. Rocky Mountain National Park rocks, literally and figuratively.
10 Bear Lake
Bear Lake is among the most popular trails in the park because it’s short (0.6 miles) yet offers enough challenges for hikers. Located at the base of Flattop Mountain and Hallet Peak, this loop path is recommended to visit early in the morning so tourists can get away from the crowd. The route will take trekkers along the lake and then through a lush forest. In the eastern portion of the lake, hikers will have a majestic view of Hallett Peak. The mountain reflects on the pristine waters, a picture-perfect and relaxing moment for everyone.
9 Emerald Lake
A 3.6-mile roundtrip journey to Emerald Lake from Bear Lake Trailhead will take guests to a wonderful mishmash of Mother Nature’s gifts. As hikers head to Nymph Lake, they'll have the chance to check out Longs Peak. Upon reaching Nymph, they will also be welcomed by the view of Hallett Peak. As trekkers continue their journey, they will walk along an area teeming with wildflowers. 1.1 miles into the hike, two more lakes will be seen: Haiyaha and Dream. Afterward, the Tyndall Gorge will be the next star until hikers reach its creek and then Emerald Lake. It is tiring but rewarding.
8 Alberta Falls
Lovers of waterfalls will enjoy the 1.6-mile (roundtrip) journey to Alberta Falls. It starts from Glacier Gorge Trailhead, and the first to welcome hikers is Bear Lake. The path will then lead to a pine forest and aspen groves. After enjoying said lush landscapes, trekkers will slowly hear the roaring falls, and a few more steps will lead them to it. The 30-foot Alberta Falls is the perfect background as hikers rest, have a picnic, and take photos. The cascades are simply charming.
7 Sky Pond
Those who love to test their skills should hike the almost 10-mile trail to Sky Pond. Since it’s a long hike, trekkers will have the chance to see many spots like Chaos Creek, Alberta Falls, numerous lakes, and Icy Brook, among others. One difficulty trekkers have to face is climbing rocks near Timberline Falls. After scaling 100 feet, Lake of Glass awaits hikers. This lake is so stunning and complemented by the majestic view of mountain peaks. The journey continues beyond this wonder, and reaching 10,900 feet; trekkers will be in the presence of Sky Pond. No words, only admiration.
6 Alpine Ridge
Alpine Ridge Trail is perfect for beginners and even non-hikers because it’s short (0.6 miles roundtrip), albeit steep. It reaches 12,000 feet, an enticing figure for those who want to drink in the sights and sounds of this majestic park. During spring and early summer, wildflowers blossom along portions of the paved path. Tourists should also keep their eyes peeled for marmots and pikas. The open terrain is so inviting that when trekkers finish the trip, they might consider a repeat.
5 Gem Lake
More than three miles of beauty await those curious enough to check out Gem Lake. The trail will take adventurers along a narrow canyon until they reach the historic MacGregor Ranch, where they can have a quick stop in its museum. After the ranch visit, the trail leads to an area lush with aspens and then ascends to points that offer majestic views of Estes Park and some mountain peaks. Lots of boulders will welcome trekkers as they continue their journey, with the most famous formation, Paul Bunyan's Boot, worthy of a snap. After a steep climb, the gem that is the lake will eagerly welcome weary travelers.
4 Ute Trail
The hike along Ute Trail starts with expansive views of the alpine tundra right away. This hike is so easy that even beginners will enjoy two short climbs across Tombstone Ridge. After reaching 11,660 feet, the trail starts to descend, where trekkers will enjoy checking out views of Longs Peak. Reaching Timberline Pass, hikers can end their journey and just focus on enjoying the expansive mountainscape. That’s four miles (roundtrip) of fun, and, if lucky, visitors might even see an elk.
3 The Loch
For a moderate climb, hikers can take on the challenge of The Loch Trail. This six-mile (roundtrip) path will let trekkers have a splashing good time in lakes and falls. Before reaching The Loch, visitors will first have the chance to enjoy the pristine waters of Mills, Black, and Haiyaha Lakes. They should consider it as an appetizer for the ultimate destination. Continuing beyond Icy Brooks, tourists will be in the presence of The Loch, a subalpine beauty that will erase what made hikers tired throughout the journey.
2 Deer Mountain
Sure, hiking is tiring, but it's a rewarding thing to do in the park, and Deer Mountain can explain why. The trail leading to its summit offers hikers panoramic views of the charming park. A 6-mile round-trip journey along this path means going through pine forests and welcoming meadows. Tourists should be alert as they might see some elk and deer. Atop, they will enjoy drinking in the sights of Moraine Park, Longs Peak, Estes Park, and Upper Beavers Meadows. Deer Mountain is such a dear to explore.
1 Lake Haiyaha
The blue-green waters of Lake Haiyaha look stunning in photos, and if that’s not enough to attract hikers, then the wonderful trail might tempt them. The 4.2-mile (roundtrip) path will take hikers to various lakes, viewpoints where mountain peaks can be appreciated, large boulders, and twisted pines, among other natural wonders. Lake Haiyaha, surrounded by a rugged shore, is in the heart of Chaos Canyon, but those who will successfully reach it will know: that there's no chaos in this heavenly place.