Rocky Mountain NP

  • Rocky Mountain NP: Odessa Lake looking South - ©  Brendan Bombaci flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Clear Rockey Mountain Creek - ©  James Wheeler flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Colorado- Rocky Mountain National Park -Moraine Park - Elk Rut - ©   Wally Gobetz flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Colorful November Sunset Sky and Longs Peak  - © TheLightningMan.com flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: First Light  - © Bryce Bradford flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Flattop View  - © David H flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Lead me to Longs Peak  - © David Kingham flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Leaving Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - ©  Maciej Ciupa flickr user - Copy
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Longs Peak and Lightning  - © TheLightningMan.com flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Looking Back  - © TinkurLab flickr user - Copy
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Snowfall on Mount Meeker and Longs Peak - ©  Phil Plait flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Reflections of Longs Peak  - © TheLightningMan.com flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado - USA - ©  Robin Kanouse flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Rocky Mountain National Park  - © Glenn Harper flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Rocky Mountain National Park  - © Jerry and Pat Donaho flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Rocky Mountain Panorama - ©  im me flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Rocky Peak - ©  James Wheeler flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Speechless  - © Bryce Bradford flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Sunset over the Rocky Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - ©  Diana Robinson flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Surreal Sunrise at Rocky Mountain National Park - ©  Dave Soldano flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: The view from Flattop Mountain  - © Michael Brashier flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Tilted ice, rosy sunrise  - © Steven Bratman flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: View of Rocky Mountain National Park - ©  Andrew E. Russell flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Bear Lake  - © Argyleist flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Boulder field over Fern Lake  - © Brendan Bombaci flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Reflection on Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park - ©  Frank Kovalchek flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: The Fern Lake Trail  - © John B. Kalla flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Snowshoeing near Glacier Gorge - ©  sfgamchick flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: Glacier Gorge Rocky Mountain National Park  - © Dustin Gaffke flickr user
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user joannapoe
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user LWY
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user roger4336
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user sayamindu
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user The Mind"s Eye Photography
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user wanderstruck
  • Rocky Mountain NP: © flickr user WxMom
  • Rocky Mountain NP: long"s peak - © flickr user Nature"s Images
  • Rocky Mountain NP: nymph lake - ©  flickr user The Mind"s Eye Photography
  • Rocky Mountain NP: thunderstorm - © flickr user l . e . o .
  • Rocky Mountain NP: tundra in rocky mt NP  - © flickr user roger4336
  • Rocky Mountain NP: vintage postcard of rocky mt Np  - © flickr user riptheskul

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 rating

  • Walkopedia rating87
  • Beauty34
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest4
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating87

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: around 4,340m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
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Rocky Mountain NP: Rocky Peak - ©  James Wheeler flickr user

WALK SUMMARY

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.

Odessa Lake: (2 day walk, 19.9km) Walk to outstanding Odessa Lake, gaining fantabulous views of Longs Peak and The Little Matterhorn and other mountains. A longer route than Bear Lake to Fern Lake.

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.

See full page

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)

Practicalities

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)

http://www.wildlandtrekking.com/adventurehikes/rockymountainnationalparkhiking.html

 

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by recommending your best walks and making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Rocky Mountain NP: Surreal Sunrise at Rocky Mountain National Park - ©  Dave Soldano flickr user

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/


Walkopedia says THANK you, very helpful!

Name:
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.



Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

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Rocky Mountain NP: The view from Flattop Mountain  - © Michael Brashier flickr user

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Rocky Mountain NP: Tilted ice, rosy sunrise  - © Steven Bratman flickr user ...
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