Colorado Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails in the Heart of Rocky Mountain National Park

Bear Lake Loop
Bear Lake Loop
0.6 miles
Elev. Gain 20 ft

An easy walk around a high-mountain lake with peak views. Tucked into the spruce/fir forest at the base of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, this 0.6-mile loop is one of Rocky's most famous trails. Unlike other trails listed as accessible by the Park, Bear Lake is not entirely flat and is a more challenging route. As a wedding site it accommodates 2-35 people.  More on the Bear Lake trail...

Bierstadt Lake
Bierstadt Lake
1.6 miles
Elev. Gain 255 ft

From Bear Lake, a level walk through forest, with Continental Divide views. More climb if you start from the Bierstadt Lake trailhead. Iconic trail to see fall Aspen gold.  Trail from the Glacier Basin Park and Ride lot also joins the Bierstadt Lake trail.  More on Bierstadt Lake trail...

Dream Lake
Dream Lake
1.1 miles
Elev. Gain 425 ft

In summer this is a great easy family hike. In the winter this is a good snowshoe tour to one of the most photographed lakes in the park.   You'll pass Nymph Lake on the way.  More on Dream Lake trail...

Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake
1.8 miles
Elev. Gain 685 ft

The trail to Emerald Lake passes Nymph Lake and the north shore of Dream Lake. Below the saddle between Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain at 10,080 ft, the mountains rise steeply from the shore. Most popular destination in Bear Lake area. Start early!  More on Emerald Lake trail...

Lake Haiyaha
Lake Haiyaha
2.1 miles
Elev. Gain 745 ft
easy
Trailhead
Fishing Access

Haiyaha (Indian word for "big rocks") surround this lake's shore along with ancient twisted and picturesque pine trees in rock crevices. Climb over the rocks, explore the shoreline and nearby pools.  More on Lake Haiyaha trail...

Nymph Lake
Nymph Lake
0.5 miles
Elev. Gain 225 ft

A beautiful yellow lily named Nymphaea polysepala makes its home on the deep blue waters of Nymph Lake. Breathtaking views of Longs Peak and Hallett Peak.  Continue on - it's not much further to beautiful Dream Lake!  More on Nymph Lake trail...

Lake Helene
Lake Helene
2.9 miles
Elev. Gain 1215 ft
moderate
Trailhead
Fishing Access
Horse Trail

Take a short side trip from Odessa Lake on a fishermen's path to Lake Helene at the head of Odessa Gorge, east of Notchtop Mountain.  More on Lake Helene trail...

Two Rivers Lake
Two Rivers Lake
2.6 miles
Elev. Gain 1125 ft
moderate
Trailhead

Notchtop Mountain provides the backdrop to views in the area. Two Rivers Lake is found along the hike to Odessa Lake from Bear Lake. 1 backcountry site.

Flattop Mountain
Flattop Mountain
4.4 miles
Elev. Gain 2849 ft

Great tundra hike and easiest hike to the Continental Divide. Enjoy the views from the Dream Lake and Emerald Lake overlooks.  More on Flattop Mountain trail...

Hallett Peak Hike
Hallett Peak Hike
5 miles
Elev. Gain 3238 ft
difficult
Trailhead

Hike up through 3 climate zones, cross over Flattop Mountain, traverse the ridge supporting Tyndall Glacier, then ascend to the summit of Hallett Peak. Superb views along the way and from the summit!  More on Hallett Peak trail...

Cub Lake
Cub Lake
2.3 miles
Elev. Gain 540 ft

A favorite hike offering river scenery, flowery meadows, stands of pine and aspen, and a serenely beautiful lake backed by mountains. Joins the Fern Lake trail at The Pool. 1 backcountry site.  More on Cub Lake trail...

Cub Lake in the Winter
2.3 miles
Elev. Gain 540 ft
moderate
Trailhead

The Cub Lake trail begins in the willow thickets along the Big Thompson River and continues upward through stands of pine and aspen. Ice or deep snow sometimes makes the last mile difficult, and may require the use of skis or snowshoes. Combine with The Pool hike for a six mile loop by taking a connection trail beyond Cub Lake to The Pool.

Wind River Trail
miles
Elev. Gain ft
Trailhead
Horse Trail

Leaving the East Portal, the Wind River trail follows the Wind River to join with the Storm Pass trail. 3 backcountry sites.

Fern Falls
Fern Falls
2.5 miles
Elev. Gain 645 ft

Steep Falls among a jumble of downed timber provides a refreshing mist in the summer heat.  More on Fern Lake trail...

The Pool
The Pool
1.7 miles
Elev. Gain 245 ft

A large turbulent water pocket formed below where Spruce and Fern Creeks join the Big Thompson River. Look for Arch Rocks. More on Fern Lake trail...

The Pool in the Winter
The Pool in the Winter
2.5 miles
Elev. Gain 245 ft
easy
Trailhead

The Pool is a turbulent water pocket formed below the confluences of Spruce and Fern Creeks with the Big Thompson River. The winter route is along a gravel road, which leads to a trail at the Fern Lake Trailhead. Look for beaver-cut aspen, frozen waterfalls on the cliffs, and the Arch Rocks. Elevation of lake 8,280 ft.

Fern Lake
Fern Lake
3.8 miles
Elev. Gain 1375 ft

Pass the famous Arch Rock formations, The Pool, and the cascading water of Fern Falls. A gorgeous lake with views of the Continental Divide (Little Matterhorn and Notchtop Mountain). It is a heavily used area. 2 backcountry sites near the Lake, and 2 closer to the trailhead. More on Fern Lake trail...

Odessa Lake
Odessa Lake
4.1 miles
Elev. Gain 1215 ft
moderate
Trailhead

There are two approaches to Odessa Lake, another magnificent feature of the Bear Lake region: a 4.1 mile route along the Flattop trail from Bear Lake, and a 4.5 mile route from the Fern Lake trailhead. The longer route is also steeper, but you get the pleasure of seeing Fern Creek, The Pool, Fern Falls, and Fern Lake itself along the way. 1 backcountry site.  More on Odessa Lake trail...

Alberta Falls
Alberta Falls
0.6 miles
Elev. Gain 160 ft

Delightful! Alberta Falls is one of the most impressive falls in the park and along the trail you see beautiful Glacier Creek and walk along the rim of Glacier Gorge. The falls thunder and tumble down the narrow canyon. The trail continues on to famous lakes - Mills, Haiyaha, and The Loch. More on Alberta Falls trail...

Jewel Lake
Jewel Lake
3 miles
Elev. Gain 727 ft
easy
Trailhead
Fishing Access

Trail takes you past Alberta Falls and follows Glacier Creek. Small lake with a marshy grass shore, divided from Mills Lake by a small channel & beaver dams.  More on Jewel Lake trail...

Mills Lake
Mills Lake
2.5 miles
Elev. Gain 700 ft

A popular hike, this trail offers dramatic views of Glacier Gorge from the lake shore.  More on Mills Lake trail...

The Loch
The Loch
2.7 miles
Elev. Gain 940 ft
easy
Trailhead

The hike to the Loch is filled with mountain scenes as you pass Alberta Falls and the Glacier Knobs, then travels alongside and above Icy Brook. It's one of the most popular destinations in the park and well worth spending the day and exploring, while soaking in the majesty and serenity.  More on The Loch trail...

Andrews Glacier
Andrews Glacier
4.7 miles
Elev. Gain 2150 ft

Spectacular route to the Divide via Andrews Pass with views of Taylor and Powell peaks. Ascend via the south side. Take the trail to The Loch, and less than 1 mile after the Loch, follow the branch off to the right. 1 backcountry site.

Black Lake
Black Lake
4.7 miles
Elev. Gain 1390 ft

A 2.2 mile continuation of the trail to Mill Lake, Black lake is surrounded by tall cliffs and dramatic peaks. Hike around the lake for lunch. At 10,260 ft snow lasts through June. 1 backcountry site.  More on Black Lake trail...

Blue Lake
Blue Lake
11 miles
Elev. Gain 1880 ft
moderate
Trailhead

Three quarters of a mile past Black Lake, following the inlet stream. Scramble over rock slabs - no trail. Above treeline.

Boulder Brook
Boulder Brook
3.3 miles
Elev. Gain 1000 ft
moderate
Trailhead

A beautiful babbling brook that tumbles from the tundra into the dark forest below Longs Peak. 2 backcountry sites.

Lake of Glass
Lake of Glass
4.2 miles
Elev. Gain 1580 ft
moderate
Trailhead

Perched above Timberline Falls, the route to the Lake is one of the park's better kept secrets - unmarked, inconspicuous, and at first glance, unlikely. To the right of the falls and close by, scramble up ledges to this cirque lake. Be ready for wind.  More on Lake of Glass trail...

Loch Vale
Loch Vale
2.7 miles
Elev. Gain 940 ft
moderate
Trailhead
Fishing Access

The hike to The Loch through Loch Vale is filled with mountain scenes as you pass Alberta Falls - wildflowers, peaks, falls, glaciers, and pines.  More on Loch Vale trail...

Sky Pond
Sky Pond
4.7 miles
Elev. Gain 1660 ft
moderate
Trailhead

Hike past Alberta Falls and The Loch to reach a cascading fall over a black granite wall - Timberline Falls. The falls are fed from the runoff of the Lake of Glass. Another .4 miles away is Sky Pond with great views of Taylor Glacier and Taylor Peak, and Powell Peak.  More on Sky Pond trail...

Timberline Falls
Timberline Falls
4 miles
Elev. Gain 1210 ft
moderate
Trailhead

Not particularly high or full, Timberline Falls has a delicate beauty. It's a branching fall, cascading down a black granite wall into a wide, shallow catch basin, and then draining away downhill through dozens of ankle-deep rivulets. At it's top is Lake of Glass.  More on Timberline Falls trail...

Mill Creek Basin
Mill Creek Basin
1.6 miles
Elev. Gain 600 ft
easy
Trailhead

The Mill Creek Basin trail follows Mill Creek to a brush and wildflower filled meadow where you can often see hawks hunting. You'll see lodgepole pines and aspens along the banks and views of beaver works. 2 backcountry sites.

Sprague Lake
Sprague Lake
1 miles
Elev. Gain 10 ft
easy
Trailhead
Fishing Access

A popular stop on a drive up Bear Lake Road with a picnic area and beautiful views of the Continental Divide.  There is an easy and accessible half-mile-long trail around the lake with a fishing pier. An accessible backcountry camping site is located in the area. A good place for a short winter walk, or to try those crosscountry skis on a frozen lake. Good views of the Continental Divide. More on Sprague Lake trail...

Storm Pass
Storm Pass
3.7 miles
Elev. Gain 840 ft
moderate
Trailhead
Horse Trail

Connects the Bear Lake Road area with Lily Lake. Estes Cone trail starts at Storm Pass.

Spruce Lake
Spruce Lake
4.6 miles
Elev. Gain 1515 ft
moderate
Trailhead

Hike past the Arch Rock formations, The Pool, and the cascading water of Fern Falls to reach the spur trail to Spruce Lake. The stroll to the marshy shores of Spruce Lake leads through boulders left by glaciers. 1 backcountry site.

Upper Beaver Meadows in the Winter
Upper Beaver Meadows in the Winter
1.5 miles
Elev. Gain 140 ft
easy
Trailhead

Upper Beaver Meadows offers two hiking routes--the road which winds along the north side of Beaver Creek for two miles and a trail that leaves the dirt road on the left, just inside the barricade. The trail crosses the stream and runs along the south side of the meadow at the base of the moraine. The trail and road meet at the parking area at the west end of Beaver Meadows. You may choose to make a loop by using both the road and trail, or you may follow either route in both directions. Hiking along the trail, you may see elk bedded down among trees near the trail or along the stream.

Windy Gulch Cascades
2 miles
Elev. Gain 680 ft
easy
Trailhead

Enjoy the rushing water of Windy Gulch Creek as it cascades to the valley below. This is a stop on the Old Ute Trail from Trail Ridge to Beaver Meadows.

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