Rocky Mountain NP
Key information: Rocky Mountain NP
- Colorado's stunning Rocky Mountain National Park has 355 miles of trails through truly spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. Some famous walks and climbs including Longs Peak.
- Fabulous wildlife: elk, deer, moose, mountain lions, bobcats, bears, bighorn sheep, foxes, marmots, coyote, marmots, picas, squirrels, beavers and a variety of birds.
- Some of the walks here are tough, and in high, remote mountains, on which you may have to be self-sufficient. Weather can also be unpredictable and at times dangerous: come prepared for all eventualities.
- ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!
- Walkopedia rating87
- Natural interest17
- Human interest4
- Negative points0
- Total rating87
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: around 4,340m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
Colorado's stunning Rocky Mountain National Park has 355 miles of trails through truly spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery.
Fabulous wildlife: elk, deer, moose, mountain lions, bobcats, bears, bighorn sheep, foxes, marmots, coyote, marmots, picas, squirrels, beavers and a variety of birds.
Tourism in the Rocky Mountain National Park has (by American standards) a long history; in 1909 a luxury hotel was built to house the rich on their search for a "wild west" experience. As with many of America's natural beauties, the parks survival can largely be attributed to the work of one dedicated local conservationist - in this case, Enos Mills.
There may still be luxury accommodation on its edges, but Rocky Mountain National Park is a wild and wonderful place to walk, although you won't be alone on the well-known trails in high season. Danger is ever-present in these peaks, from the risks of ice and vertigo, through some of the highest altitudes on the Continental Divide, to the possibility of deadly lightning strikes in the afternoon.
Lonely Planet's Hiking in the Rocky Mountains provides some excellent suggestions for walks, ranging from a half day to two days in length, all of which can begin from the Bear Lake area. Access here is relatively easy, with a free shuttle bus running regularly; if you are aiming for a less popular trailhead then you may need to arrange a private drop-off.
Bear Lake to Fern Lake: This 9 mile loop (described by National Geographic as a "slice of heaven"), ascends by rivers, enjoying classic Rockies features including waterfalls and tremendous crags and peaks high above. Enjoy high Odessa Lake in its stunning setting, then descend by further streams, rivers and falls, to Fern Lake.
Flattop Mountain: Roughly 9 mile return hike from Bear Lake Trailhead to this 12,324ft er.. flat-topped mountain. A long ascent of approximately 800m. Steady to start with, steeper in the second half.
Great views of surrounding mountains as you get higher. See more info at (http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/flattop-mountain.htm)
Glacier Gorge: 9.6 miles up and back down a superb valley, with lakes and pine forest and bare, dramatic crags far above..
Longs Peak: The highest peak in the park (at about 4,340m). It has a distinctive box shape, one of the great landmarks of the Rockies. It is the most climbed 14'er in the Rockies, and can be reached in a long day walk. 4855ft altitude gain? Best times July-September. Popular - scores of visitors each Summer day.
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Lawn Lake: A (relatively) easy (still 2,500ft of altitude gain to a maximum of approximately 11,000ft) 12.5 mile round trip in a gorgeous valley with forests and rocky magnificence all around. See more info at (http://www.protrails.com/trail/62/rocky-mountain-national-park-lawn-lake)
Haliett Peak: A steepish there-and-back trail (3,250ft of elevation gain) which is a continuation of The Flattop Mountain trail. See more info at (http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/hallett-peak.htm)
Other Walks to think of are:
- Mills Lake (see some info at http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/mills-lake.htm)
- Cub Lake (see some info at http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/cub-lake.htm)
- Nymph, Dreams and Emerald Lakes (see some info at http://www.protrails.com/trail/60/rocky-mountain-national-park-nymph-dream-emerald-lakes)
Early June-early October. June-August = high risk of lightning strikes in the afternoon, aim to be off high ground by noon and keep a close eye on the weather.
There is a park entry fee (cheaper if you are travelling without a car), and permits are required for all backcountry camping. (Check status before you go)
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS
Name: Deliberate Nomad
Posted on: 30/08/2015
We hiked an 8 day circle in 2013 in the Rocky Mountains National Park, James Peak/ Indian Peak Wilderness area. Our blog is here: http://colorado-backpacking.blogspot.com/
Posted on: 29/10/2017
Many visitors but those willing to hike a few miles will quickly leave them behind. Every hike other than basic ones will be uphill. Well marked trails are the norm. Bring water, start early, and be cautious about lightning. You'll usually see elk, deer, or moose if you start early.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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