Short Walks and Day Hikes
  Short Walks 
  Variable Length Hikes 
  Day Hikes 

Print This Page… and bring it with you when you visit the Rocky.

In planning your visit to Rocky Mountain National Park be sure to include at least one walk or hike per day. Getting off the regular roads and into the backcountry will increase your Rocky Mountain experience.

Allow 1/2 hour per mile and 1/2 hour per 500 feet of elevation gain. Allow more time if you tend, as I do, to stop and enjoy the views, listen to the birds and watch animals. As you make your way, you should encounter the golden-mantled ground squirrels (face with no stripes) and smaller chipmunks (sharply striped face and back) scampering along the trails. Red squirrels will scold you from a distance. In additions to the raucous and rollicking of the usual triad of birds, Steller's jay, Gray jays and Clark's nutcracker, mountain chickadees and other songbirds will entertain you on your walk.

Planning your Walks and Hikes
When you plan your day walks and hikes you should keep in mind that many of the trails are not in the best of shape, thus a good pair of hiking shoes is a necessity. Also, carry water and high-energy food if you plan any hike over a half-mile.

Where a walk or hike leads to a good photographic opportunity, I have included a link to the page that shows the view. Use your back button on your browser to return to this page. Those hikes without a link should not be excluded from your consideration as many have excellent views of the valleys and the Rocky Mountains. I just do not find it easy to capture these vistas on film. May be next year.

Short Walks
The three walks are recommended for those with small children and those who need accessible trails. They are classified as walk rather than hikes because the elevation gain is practically zero.
Destination Trailhead Distance (Miles) Elevation Gain (Feet) Lake Size (Acres)
 Lily Lake  AccessPhotos Here Lily Lake .5 0 14
 Sprague Lake  AccessPhotos Here Sprague Lake .5 0 12.9
 Bear Lake  AccessPhotos Here Bear Lake .5 0 11.2
Accessibility around Bear Lake is now complete!

Variable Length Hikes
The hikes listed below are classified as variable length so that you can determine how far you want to walk or be challenged.
Trailhead Destination Distance (Miles) Elevation Gain (Feet) Lake Size (Acres)
Bear Lake  Nymph Lake  Photos Here .5 225 .9
   Dream Lake  Photos Here 1.1 425 5.5
   Emerald Lake  Photos Here 1.8 605 6.3
   Lake Haiyaha  Photos Here 2.2 745 15.6
Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead  Alberta Falls  Photos Here .6 160  
Trail Splits about 1/2 way  Mills Lake  Photos Here 2.5 700 15.6
   The Loch  Photos Here 2.8 700 14.6
Wild Basin Ranger Station  Copeland Falls  Photos Here .4 15  
   Thunder Lake Junction  Photos Here 1.4 350  
   Calypso Cascades  Photos Here 1.8 700  
  Ouzel Falls 2.7 950  
  Ouzel Lake 4.7 1,510 6.4
Cub Lake Trailhead  Cub Lake  Photos Here 2.3 540  
   The Pool  Photos Here 3.5 320  
  Mill Creek Basin 4.0    
Fern Lake Trailhead Arch Rocks 1.5 45  
   The Pool  Photos Here 1.7 245  
   Fern Falls  Photos Here 2.7 645  
   Fern Lake  Photos Here 3.8 Miles 1,375 9.2
  Odessa Lake 4.9 1,865 8.4

Day Hikes (Single Destinations)
Hikes of approximately 2.5 miles or less (one way).
Destination Trailhead Distance (Miles) Elevation Gain (Feet) Lake Size (Acres)
 Adams Falls  Photos Here East Inlet (West Side) .3 79  
 Alpine Ridge Trail  Alpine Ridge Trailhead .25 300  
Bierstadt Lake  Photos Here
(best way is from Bear Lake TH)
Bierstadt Trailhead 1.4 566 7.4
Bear Lake Trailhead 1.6 255
Bighorn Lake Milner Pass .5 180  
Big Meadows Green Mt Trailhead 1.8 606  
Chickaree Lake Onahu Creek Trailhead (West Side) 1.75 525 4.6
Cub Lake  Photos Here Cub Lake Trailhead 2.3 540 10.1
The Crater Milner Pass 1 730  
Eagle Cliff Moraine Park .5 786  
Emerald Mountain Glacier Basin Campground .5 637  
Eugenia Mine Longs Peak Ranger Station 1.4 508  
 Gem Lake  Photos Here Twin Owls 1.8 910 .2
 Lake Haiyaha  Photos Here Bear Lake Trailhead 2.1 745 15.6
Lily Mountain Lily Mountain Trailhead 2.0 1,006  
Mill Creek Basin Hollowell Park 1.6 600  
Sundance Mountain Trail Ridge Road .5 466  
 Toll Memorial  Photos Here Rock Cut .5 260  

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