Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest 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 towards the blue sky function a dramatic reminder of the last ice age. Traverse this great backbone of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or spot recent bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of one among America’s oldest nationwide parks in the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of marvel restored.

It’s a big place, so that can assist you discover your means, listed below are a few of Rocky Mountain’s best 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 in the space and superb vistas, you should definitely anticipate massive crowds.

Hikes right here range from easy jaunts round Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that comply with the glacial valleys up to their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is a good choice, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which could 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, 8.8 miles) will not be 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 favorite and identified for its various scenery. On this hike you will climb as much as the treeline and an alpine lake before dropping back down through fields of scree and into a forested valley. Right here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Because of the park shuttle system, this is a one-way 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-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 pinnacle of RMNP and one in all Colorado’s classic climbs. The tallest peak in 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 slender traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most people begin the climb by 3am in an effort to reach the summit earlier than noon.

The great news is that you simply don’t have to achieve 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 up to scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of many park’s finest hikes. Chasm options all of the spectacular surroundings of the peak without the risk and arduous ascent. However, at 8.four miles spherical journey, you’ll nonetheless need to be in very good shape.

Gem Lake
On 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 moderately than by glaciers. This markedly totally different style of abrasion has resulted in an array of whimsically shaped boulders, balancing red rocks posters and colossal domes. The trail to Gem Lake is an effective way to discover the realm, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way in which up to the bijou-like lake.
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