A Circuit or Loop Hike is one where you can start and end at the same point without having to go "out and back" on the same trail. By combining more than one trail, you'll traverse different scenery and terrain.
This trail ends at the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The entire Continental Divide National Scenic Trail corridor is approximately 3,100 miles (4,988 kilometers) long, from the Canadian border in Montana to the border of Mexico in New Mexico, ranging from 4,000 ft to over 13,000 ft in elevation. The 30 miles of trail looping through RMNP pass through beautiful alpine tundra and scenery. 17 backcountry sites. More on the Continental Divide trail...
Branches south off of the Green Mountain trail through Big Meadows, and connects to the Kawuneeche VC.
A quiet loop highlighted by Big Meadows. 3 backcountry sites.
This trail intersects the Cow Creek Trail, and forms part of the Gem lake loop. Goes through the old McGregor Ranch valley, past towering Lumpy Ridge rock formations. Make it a loop hike by dropping down the trail into the McGraw Ranch valley.
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.
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...
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...
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.
Southern-most trailhead along Hwy 7. Joins Finch Lake trails. Parking area is too small for horse trailers - park on the east side of the road.
Near the top of Trail Ridge Road (Hwy 34) at the Alpine Visitor Center. Trailheads are located on the East side of Trail Ridge Road, across from the Visitor Center, and from the parking lot.
At the end of Bear Lake Road, 9.5 miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. During summer, Shuttle Bus is highly recommended. Although the parking lot at the trailhead is large, it fills up early in the day during summer. Elevation: 9.475 ft.
Along Bear Lake Road after Sprague Lake, across from the Storm Pass trailhead.
About 6.5 miles north(east) of the Grand Lake entrance on Highway 34.
Near the top of Old Fall River Road. About 6.5 miles from Endovalley on the right side (open only in summer, limited parking). Access to 2 backcountry sites.
On the west side of Trail Ridge Road across from the Timber Lake Trailhead, about 9.6 mi north (east) of Grand Lake Entrance Station. Hwy 34 closes here in winter. Access to 9 backcountry sites.
Cow Creek trailhead is near the historic McGraw Ranch, at the end of McGraw Ranch Road, which can be found north of Estes Park off Devils Gulch Road (Limited parking). R off US34 on MacGregor Ave. 3.5 mi. then L on McGraw Ranch Rd. 2.5 mi. to end. Access to 12 backcountry sites along the northern boundary of the Park, and 2 closer in along the Cow Creek trail.
South of Bowen/Baker and north of Onahu Creek trailheads on Hwy 34, about 5.6 mi. north(east) of the Grand Lake Entrance Station.
From Bear Lake Road, turn R toward Moraine Park Campground; after .7 mi. turn L and follow signs to Cub Lake Trailhead . Access to 1 backcountry site.
From Park Headquarters at Beaver Meadows, drive 4.5 miles on Highway 36 to roadside parking on the R at the Deer Ridge Trailhead, just before Junction with Highway 34.
Located at the east end of Grand Lake. From Highway 34, head east on 278 towards Grand Lake for .3 mile, bearing left at all forks until you reach the East Inlet trailhead parking lot. Access to 8 backcountry sites.
Follow Highway 66 past the YMCA about 1 mi. to its end at East Portal. Park in the small day use parking area about 100 yds before the road ends. Access to 3 backcountry sites. Easy turn-around for horse trailers, with space for 1-2 trailers.
West of Grand Lake, L onto CO 66. After 1 mi., L into the campground. Drive toward the lake and turn right into the next campground and park at the Shadow Mountain Dam.
From Bear Lake Road, turn right toward Moraine Park Campground, then left after .7 mi. to the end of the road at Fern Lake parking. Access to 6 backcountry sites.
About 1,000 feet east of the bridge that crosses North St. Vrain Creek to Wild Basin Ranger Station. Wild Basin is about 12.5 miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7. Access to 5 backcountry sites.
Less than 1 mile before Bear Lake along Bear Lake Road. SMALL parking lot. Shuttle bus is highly recommended in summer. Access to 2 backcountry sites.
Located on the west side of the park on US 34, 2.8 mi. north (east) of the Grand Lake Entrance Station. Northern access to the Continental Divide trail loop through the Park,
R at Hollowell Park turn-off, about 3.5 miles south on Bear Lake Road. Shuttle Bus recommended. Access to 2 backcountry sites. Parking is challenging for horse trailers.
Located on the west side of the park on US 34, Kawuneeche Visitor Center.
Join the Lake Estes trail and the Downtown Riverwalk trail from behind the Visitor Center on Big Thompson Avenue.
About .5 mile north of Highway 34 past the Endovalley picnic area along Old Fall River Road. Access to 5 backcountry sites.
Six miles south of the town of Estes Park on Highway 7, past Mary's Lake.
At Longs Peak Ranger Station, 7.5 miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7. Access to 4 backcountry sites.
Drive north from downtown Estes Park on MacGregor Avenue. Cross Hwy. 34 bypass and continue on MacGregor Avenue past MacGregor Ranch to the trailhead parking lot on the left. Access to 4 backcountry sites along Black Canyon trail. Designated horse trailer parking spot for 2 trailers with easy pull-around.
On Trail Ridge Road at the Continental Divide west of the Alpine Visitor Center and 16 mi. east of the Grand Lake Entrance Station.
Drive east from Highway 34 on 278 towards Grand Lake, bearing left at the forks until you reach the parking lot. Trailhead at E. end of parking lot. Tonahutu accesses 4 backcountry sites before the Green Mountain trail; North Inlet and southern part of Continental Divide trail loop through the Park accesses 13 backcountry sites.
Located on the west side of the park on US 34, .5 mile north(east) of the Green Mountain trailhead. Access to 3 backcountry sites.
At the Continental Divide coming up Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park, before the Alpine Visitor Center.
12.5 mi. south of Estes Park on Highway 7, R at Wild Basin Road. Immediately to the R of the Ranger Station Kiosk. Access to 5 backcountry sites.
On the south side of Bear Lake Road. Moraine Park Shuttle Bus recommended, stops at Sprague Lake/Glacier Creek Livery.
After Sprague Lake, on the south side of Bear Lake Road across from Bierstadt Lake trailhead. Access to 2 backcountry sites along the Boulder Brook trail.
Grand Lake (west side) of the Park. Trailhead is located on the east side of Hwy 34 across from the Colorado River trailhead. Access to 4 backcountry sites.
Same as North Inlet Trailhead.
Across Highway 7 from Lily Lake.
From the Beaver Meadows entrance, pass Bear Lake Road and continue along Hwy 36 until just before the junction with Hwy 34. Left onto dirt road. Go about 2 mi. to road end.
At Fall River Pass along the east side of Trail Ridge Road about 2 mi. below Rock Cut. Limited parking. Access to 1 backcountry site.
12.5 mi. south of Estes Park on Highway 7, right at Wild Basin Road. Take right fork to Entrance station, then 3 mi. to Ranger Station. Access to 6 backcountry sites. 2 Horse Trailer parking spaces.