Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes

Region in Colorado, United States
Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Map

hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is pretty close to heaven! You can hike among the 265,000 acres of nature in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). RMNP has everything you need for a great hiking holiday. There are short hikes, long hikes, summit hikes, and looped hikes through meadows and trees. There are waterfalls, lakes, flowers, and animals of all kinds. With well over 563.3km of different hiking trails to choose from, you can spend weeks exploring all that RMNP has to offer.

With each lake, waterfall, and mountain summit being unique and beautiful in their own way, there are so many great hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ve compiled our view on the 10 Best hikes in RMNP and have included a couple summit hikes, waterfall hikes, hikes with beautiful lakes, and hikes with great views to get you started on exploring this fantastic national park and on the best adventures. But beware, the elevation can make these hikes seem more difficult than the raw numbers would imply. Check out our 10 Best Rocky Mountain National Park hikes below.

THE TOP 10 HIKES IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

#1. Sprague Lake (1.3km, 10m, 0.5-1h): The Sprague Lake hike is the hike you need to do if you only have a few hours to spend in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is short and easy, a great walk for families, but still gives you unforgettable views. Sprague Lake is a great place to glimpse into the rest of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

#2. Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes (9.8km, 220m, 3-4h): Hiking to Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes takes you to just a few of the hundreds of lakes to see while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Every one of them is unique and beautiful in its own way. This hike takes you to five different lakes, all with unique views and special qualities that give each of them their own sense of beauty.

#3. Chasm Lake (13.4km, 812m, 4.5-6h): The Chasm Lake hike is a challenging trail on The Diamond face side of Longs Peak. Don't be fooled by the distance, the hike starts at altitude and then you climb through the trees into the alpine tundra to be greeted by wildflowers and waterfalls before reaching Chasm Lake. This is a classic hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

#4. Gem Lake and Balanced Rock (11.6km, 475m, 3-4.5h): Aptly named, the Gem Lake and Balanced Rock Hike is on the Northern Side of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Lumpy Ridge Area. This unique trail has you hiking through lumps of rocks, beautiful aspen trees and has great views into Estes Park. Gem Lake truly is a gem, and acts as a gateway to a truly unique rock formation – Balanced Rock.

#5. Sky Pond and Lake of Glass (13.6km, 526m, 4-6h): The Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike is a favorite hike for locals. You get a beautiful glimpse of Rocky Mountain National Park on this fun, yet challenging hike that takes you by stunning lakes and up a waterfall!

#6. Beaver Meadows Loop (6.9km, 275m, 1.5-3h): The Beaver Meadows Loop hike is an easier hike with great views of Longs Peak and a good spot to hear the elk bugle in autumn. This hike will take you through the open meadows, woods and over streams to take in the views of Rocky Mountain National Park and see the elk.

#7. Twin Sisters Trail (11.3km, 627m, 3-4.5h): The Twin Sisters Trail is a fun summit hike that gives you a taste of many features of Rocky Mountain National Park. Hiking through wooded, rocky, and alpine terrain, it is a great way to see so much of what RMNP has to offer.

#8. Ouzel Falls (8.7km, 379m, 2-3.5h): Hiking the Ouzel Falls trail is perfect for a relaxing, easier hike that is great for families or a nice half day meandering through Rocky Mountain National Park. Often a less travelled trail, you hike to not one, but three stunning waterfalls.

#9. Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak (14.2km, 866m, 5-6.5h): The Flattop Summit hike can be a challenge as you climb towards the summit, but you are rewarded with stunning views. As you are hiking you will be able to peer down onto some of the park’s other hikes such as Dream Lake, Sprague Lake, and Emerald Lake.

#10. Cascade Falls (11.0km, 122m, 2-3.5h): The Cascade Falls hike is a relatively easy hike that will take you to the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park where the trails are little less traveled, and the sights are just as amazing. One of the best waterfall hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Cascade Falls won’t disappoint.

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The best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

01. Sprague Lake
Difficulty

1.3km 10m 0.5-1h

Everybody should hike to Sprague Lake. The Sprague Lake hike is the hike you need to do if you only have… Read More

User Rating

8.8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

02. Nymph, Dream and Emerald Lakes
Difficulty

9.8km 220m 3-4h

What a great way to spend the day. Hike to Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes and enjoy a special day… Read More

User Rating

9.4Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

03. Chasm Lake
Difficulty

13.4km 812m 4.5-6h

The hike to Chasm Lake is a challenging hike on the Diamond face side of Longs Peak. Getting to Chasm… Read More

User Rating

9.6Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

04. Gem Lake and Balanced Rock
Difficulty

11.6km 475m 3-4.5h

Aptly named, the Gem Lake and Balanced Rock hike is a great hike close to Estes Park. This hike is… Read More

User Rating

8.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

05. Sky Pond and Lake of Glass
Difficulty

13.6km 526m 4-6h

The Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike is a favorite hike for locals. Get a beautiful glimpse of Rocky… Read More

User Rating

9.9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

06. Beaver Meadows Loop
Difficulty

6.9km 275m 1.5-3h

The Beaver Meadows Loop hike is an easier hike with great views of Longs Peak and a good spot to… Read More

User Rating

9.2Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

07. Twin Sisters Peak Trail
Difficulty

11.3km 627m 3-4.5h

The Twin Sisters Trail is a fun summit hike that gives you a taste of many features of Rocky Mountain… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

08. Ouzel Falls
Difficulty

8.7km 379m 2-3.5h

The Ouzel Falls hike is perfect for a relaxing, easier hike. This is a great trail for families or simply… Read More

User Rating

8.8Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

09. Flattop Summit and Hallett Peak
Difficulty

14.2km 866m 5-6.5h

The Flattop Summit hike can be a challenge as you climb towards the summit, but you are rewarded with stunning… Read More

User Rating

9.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

10. Cascade Falls
Difficulty

11.0km 122m 2-3.5h

RMNP’s Cascade Falls hike is a relatively easy hike that will take you to the West side of Rocky Mountain… Read More

User Rating

9.2Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

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