Rocky Mountain National Park – explore the best of Colorado

By Stef Zisovska
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Rocky Mountain National Park – explore the best of Colorado

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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Rocky Mountain National Park attracts people from all around the world to hike its diverse and beautiful trails. No matter what your hiking preferences are, you can find everything from multi-day hikes to casual strolls. There are many different paths you can walk here, depending on your time, experience, and personal taste. The Rockies are known for the highest peak in central North America, Mount Elbert which is 14,440 feet high.

Colorado is a state with the most diverse flora and fauna in the US. The Park itself has four eco-systems including montane, subalpine, alpine tundra, and riparian that occurs in the other three zones. Each zone differs from the other by the geological formations, wildlife, climate, and vegetation. Here’s a list of the best hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park that will make a great nature adventure out of your summer holiday.

Mount Ida

Mount Ida and Azure Lake – Author: Paul Hermans -CC BY-SA 3.0
Mount Ida and Azure Lake – Author: Paul Hermans -CC BY-SA 3.0

Mount Ida is a mountain summit in the Northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains with the highest peak of 12,685 feet. The views that hikers get to see from the summit are epic. There are, in fact, outstanding landscapes along the entire route that will make your journey unforgettable. The trail is generally easy to walk, although, in the final stages the terrain becomes rough, but not too steep.

Hallet Peak

Dream Lake, looking towards the Continental Divide, with Hallet peak to the left – Author: Ben Bigham (Bighaben) – CC BY 3.0
Dream Lake, looking towards the Continental Divide, with Hallet peak to the left – Author: Ben Bigham (Bighaben) – CC BY 3.0

Hallet Peak is a great choice for those who like to conquer a peak of decent height, but don’t want to be exposed to danger. Reaching the 12,713 feet peak can be done with not too much effort, so if you want to have a pleasant hiking experience should try this trail.

Chasm Lake 

Longs Peak from Chasm Lake ~ Rocky Mountain National Park – Author: Dustin Gaffke – CC BY 2.0
Longs Peak from Chasm Lake ~ Rocky Mountain National Park – Author: Dustin Gaffke – CC BY 2.0

Chasm Lake is probably one of the best lake hikes in the Rocky Mountains. While walking, you’ll encounter stunning landscapes and have a peek at the famous Diamond (the east-facing wall of Longs Peak). Longs Peak rises more than 2400 feet above this incredible alpine lake.

Chapin-Chiquita-Ypsilon

Mount Chiquita with Mount Ypsilon (left of center) and Mount Chapin (right), from 12,000 feet (3,700 m); near Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park – Author: Rationalobserver – CC BY-SA 4.0
Mount Chiquita with Mount Ypsilon (left of center) and Mount Chapin (right), from 12,000 feet (3,700 m); near Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park – Author: Rationalobserver – CC BY-SA 4.0

Chapin-Chiquita-Ypsilon is another alpine hiking trail that reaches the higher elevations in the Rocky Mountain National Park. You can choose to climb just one of the peaks or the three of them, depending on your physical preparation. Ypsilon is the highest of the three, but no matter which trail you choose, you’ll see some spectacular views.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake

On the way to Emerald Lake, you’ll see the gorgeous Bear Lake and Dream Lake, but Emerald Lake is the real jewel hidden in the Rockies. This hike will show you the beauties of Tyndall Gorge, including the Tyndall Glacier that’s feeding the Emerald Lake.

Ute Trail

Ute Pass west of Woodland Park – Author: CaroleHenson – CC BY-SA 3.0
Ute Pass west of Woodland Park – Author: CaroleHenson – CC BY-SA 3.0

This trail is perfect for people who don’t like to climb big mountains but want to enjoy spectacular panoramic views. The Ute trail offers an easy hike on a flat terrain along Tombstone Ridge exploring the alpine tundra zone. The landscapes you can see here are Forest Canyon, Longs Peak, Moraine Park and Estes Park.

Bear Lake to Fern Lake Trailhead

Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park – Author: Brian W. Schaller –  CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park – Author: Brian W. Schaller –  CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

A hike from Bear Lake to Fern Lake is an amazing experience for anyone who wants the mixture of high peaks and alpine lakes. Also, while hiking here, you’ll get to see a 60-foot waterfall and walk down the Odessa Gorge, something that will make your hiking trip truly memorable.

Lake Helene

Emerald Lake and Hallett Peak – Author: Brian W. Schaller – CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Emerald Lake and Hallett Peak – Author: Brian W. Schaller – CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Though Lake Helene is not a part of the official park map, there is a side trail that will take you to one of the most scenic lakes in the Rocky Mountains, Lake Helene. Don’t miss the opportunity to see it and to take some unique photos.

These are some of the best hiking trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park that will satisfy any hiker’s needs. The Rockies are not only one of the biggest treasures of Colorado but are also the pride of the entire country. If you were planning a mountain summer vacation, then this is the right place for you. Good luck and enjoy the amazing trails of the Park.

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