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Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

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Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area


We're visiting this summer from the UK. We're flying into Denver and staying on a dude ranch for a week and finishing with a two day rafting trip.

We have a week free and we want to experience the best and most spectacular hiking in the area.

We'll have a car but have no accomodation booked. I think camping will not be possible.

We're experienced hikers and can cope with anything up to around 20 mile duration. I'd thought of the Devils Causeway, Mt Ebert and the west side of RMNP but am open to all suggestions.

What would you say are the top five hikes in the area.

Thanks in advance,


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1. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my hiking league, but fv, rky and some locals will chime in with great info

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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2. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

It would help if we knew where you will be starting from (closest town if you do not wish to name the ranch). There are many fabulous hikes throughout Colorado.

Take a look at Colorado's Incredible Backcountry Trails by area of the state at this link for a sampling.


Some to check out at this link--Northern Colorado in RMNP--Longs Peak, Flattop Mountain/Hallet Peak, Blue Bird Lake, Loch Vale. For Central Colorado--Mount Massive, Mount Elbert, Quandry Peak, Grays & Torres Peak. For Southern Colorado--Ice Lake Basin, Blue Lakes, Sneffels Highline Trail

About hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park specifically, most people agree the most dramatic hikes (most popular, too) are on the eastern side of RMNP not the western side.

Great site for RMNP


www.protrails.com also covers other areas of Colorado.

Edited: 1:04 pm, January 23, 2013
Louisville, Kentucky
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3. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

We've hiked up to Mt. Elbert twice. The first time we hiked it, thunder and sleet started to move in just as we arrived at the top, so we barely had time to shoot a few pictures. So, a few years later, we hiked it again - under perfect weather conditions.


Both times we stayed in the town of Leadville, Colorado. It's a very small, quaint old town that sits just over 10,000 feet - which also helped us to get acclimated to the elevation. We stayed in the historic Deleware Hotel which also includes a really nice breakfast. When we told the desk we'd be heading out long before breakfast was served so we could get to the trailhead just before sunrise, she let the overnight person know and they had a very nice breakfast ready for us before we left.

In RMNP, definitely Hallett Peak, Sky Pond and Bluebird Lake. I've only been as far as the Keyhole at Long's Peak. I can't say I really enjoyed the boulder field section of the hike since it really beat up my knees.

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4. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

Thanks for so many great responses.

We're staying at the Bar Lazy J ranch between Granby and Kremmling but after that we're able to travel farther afield.

I'd read that the west side of RMNP was less crowded than the east but hadn't heard that hikes were more dramatic on the east.

We'd definitely thought of staying in Leadville, thanks for the hotel recommendation, it sounds great.

Lots of food for thought, I'll start reading up on them all.



Edited: 6:41 pm, January 23, 2013
Bismarck, North...
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5. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

I did a hike (don't remember the name or distance) to a pass in Maroon Bells Wilderness. It was to the north of the bells and had views of Snowmass. I always wanted to go back and hike more. This was on the same trip that we summited Mt Elbert.

In Rocky you might want to try Longs Peak (want to do this one this year), Hallet Peak, Bear lake to Fern Lake trail head (shorter), Sky Pond or Black Lake. There are also some harder ones that I have not done that seem interesting: Shelf/Solutide Lakes or Frozen lake, or Specticle Lake, Something in the Wild basin area.

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6. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

Liam - all of the recommended hikes for RMNP are spot on. If you're willing to travel even further, check out the San Juans in the southwest part of the state. You could argue that they are more beautiful than RMNP. Some great hikes down there include Yankee Boy Basin, Horsethief Canyon, and Blue Lakes: rockymountainhikingtrails.com/blue-lakes.htm

Also, Ouray is a very cool town to stay in - very laid back.

Up north, you could also check out the Gilpin Lake / Gold Creek Lake loop in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness: rockymountainhikingtrails.com/gilpin-lake-lo…

I've done the Devils Causeway hike, and wasn't overly impressed. Don't get me wrong, it's a great hike, but compared to so many other places around the state I would have to put it on my "B" list. It is, however, relatively close to Steamboat Springs, which is just south of Mt. Zirkel.

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7. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

My husband and I climbed Mt. Elbert on the South Elbert Trail. It's doable if you are fit, although the high altitude makes it a challenge. Here's my trail report: …hubpages.com/_26b99yhn3ra12/hub/On-top-of-t…

We stayed in Leadville, a fun town with a great Old West vibe.

I've also done a lot of hiking in RMNP. Never did make it to the top of Long's Peak; it was too wet and slippery the day we attempted a climb and we were forced to turn back just beyond the Keyhole. Hallet's Peak is a great hike. For something shorter, Bear Lake to Emerald Lake is one of my favorites.

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8. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

I'll second the recommendation on Leadville - I love that town. Since it's at 10,000 feet, it makes for a great base camp if you plan to climb any of the 14ers in the area.

9. Re: Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain Park area

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