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Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park's Greatest Hikes

Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the vast wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the windswept tundra accommodates an ecosystem of hundreds of species of wildflowers, and the sculpted peaks silhouetted in opposition to the blue sky serve as a dramatic reminder of the final ice age. Traverse this nice backbone of the Continental Divide and listen for bugling elk or spot fresh bear scat beneath your feet. Come celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of one in all America’s oldest nationwide parks in the time-honored tradition – backpack on, strolling sticks in hand and sense of marvel restored.

It’s a big place, so that can assist you discover your approach, here are a few of rocky mountain posters Mountain’s best hikes.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake is one of the park’s hottest destinations for first-time visitors, and with good reason. From right here you’ll have a entrance-row vantage point of the dramatic glacial valleys and hulking granite summits that make Rocky Mountain such a singular landscape. With ten lakes in the area and superb vistas, it's best to undoubtedly anticipate large crowds.

Hikes here range from simple jaunts round Bear Lake (0.5 miles) or to Alberta Falls (1.6 miles) to more difficult excursions that comply with the glacial valleys as much as their origins. Mills Lake (5.6 miles) is an efficient alternative, as is the Loch (6.2 miles), which can be prolonged to the exquisite Lake of Glass and Sky Pond (9.8 miles), each of which are as serene as their names suggest. And while Flattop Mountain (12,324ft, 8.8 miles) may not be the park’s best summit, there’s no denying its magnetic pull from down below. Use the park shuttles to get to the trailhead.

Bear Lake to Fern Lake
This dayhike is a ranger favorite and known for its numerous scenery. On this hike you'll climb up to the treeline and an alpine lake earlier than dropping back down by way of fields of scree and into a forested valley. Here you’ll pass more lakes, waterfalls, aspen groves and elk-inhabited meadows.

Because of the park shuttle system, this is a one-means trip that requires no backtracking – and what’s more, it’s largely downhill. You'll be able to’t miss Lake Helene, which sits serenely beneath the imposing tough-reduce cliffs of Notchtop and Flattop mountains. To do this hike, park at Fern Lake Trailhead (the endpoint), then take the shuttle to Bear Lake Trailhead. Shorten the trip by merely going to Lake Helene and back (5.8 miles).

Longs Peak & Chasm Lake
Iconic in every means, Longs Peak is the pinnacle of RMNP and considered one of Colorado’s basic climbs. The tallest peak within the park (14,259ft), its exhilarating and exhausting Keyhole Route is on many visitors’ to-do list. The top of this route is the crux, consisting of slender traverses, vertiginous cliff faces and coronary heart-pounding clambering up polished slabs of rock. Most people begin the climb by 3am with a purpose to reach the summit before noon.

The good news is that you don’t have to reach the summit or flip your legs to jelly. Chasm Lake, positioned at the foot of the Diamond – Longs’ legendary east face where technical climbers rope up to scale the 1000ft wall – is routinely rated as one of many park’s best hikes. Chasm features all of the spectacular surroundings of the peak with out the risk and arduous ascent. Nevertheless, at 8.four miles spherical trip, you’ll nonetheless need to be in excellent shape.

Gem Lake
At the northeastern end of the park is Lumpy Ridge, composed of 1.8-billion-yr-old granite formations that were sculpted by the elements rather than by glaciers. This markedly different fashion of erosion has resulted in an array of whimsically shaped boulders, balancing rocks and colossal domes. The path to Gem Lake is a good way to explore the area, with superb vistas back to the Continental Divide all the way up to the bijou-like lake.

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