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Rocky Mountain National Park
It’s not a trip to Estes Park without a visit to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). One of the most popular destinations in the entire country, RMNP sees over 3 million visits per year. Because the park spans 265,769 acres of wilderness, it could take years to explore the whole thing.
To maximize your Estes Park and RMNP trip, we’ve created this helpful resource for must-do hikes, must-see vistas, and must-drive roads. Make Solitude Cabins the base camp for your Rocky Mountain adventure. Book an Estes Park vacation rental online today!
RMNP is home to more than 350 miles of trails to trek, and it’s known as one of the most hiker-friendly national parks in the country. Whether you’re looking for a short, easy jaunt to do with the family or a longer day hike that gains elevation, RMNP will not disappoint. We’ve listed some of our favorite hikes in the park.
Remember that hiking at altitude is no joke, so always come hydrated and prepared with extra water, snacks, and layers.
If you’re looking for ambling hikes that wind through glorious mountain meadows and streams, there are a variety of easy hikes in RMNP to choose. Take the family out for a mile or so, and behold the splendor of the Rocky Mountains on these trails.
- Gem Lake (3.5 Miles)
- This trail features panoramic views, a lake, beautiful wild flowers, and aspen groves. Start at Lumpy Ridge Trailhead and hike for 3.5 miles roundtrip.
- Bear Lake (0.8 Miles)
- This highly popular trailhead is best started early in the morning, before the crowds descent on the parking lot. Take a quick hike through a forest of spruce, fir, pine, and aspen, and end at the stunning Bear Lake. This hike is great for a family picnic and adventure through different Rocky Mountain landscapes.
- Sprague Lake Loop (0.9 Miles)
- Start at the Sprague Lake trailhead and take a flat, well-maintained trail up to Sprague Lake. We love the scenic view of Sprague Lake in the early morning, when the light bounces off the surface of the water and makes for some amazing views.
For more adventurous hikers, there are hundreds of more challenging alpine hikes in the area. You can’t go wrong with any of the following!
- Mills Lake (6.84 Miles)
- Start at Glacier Gorge Trailhead and follow signs to the Mills Lake junction. This popular trail passes along a 30-foot waterfall and weaves along forested groves. After a few miles of hiking, you’ll finally enter Glacier Gorge — and you’ll be amazed by the beauty of a subalpine lake. This hike is well-worth the views!
- Flattop Mountain (14.60 Miles)
- This hike isn’t for the faint of heart (or of lung, for that matter). Flattop Mountain is a steep, high-alpine hike that summits to 12,324 feet of elevation. If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll have a great vantage point of some of RMNP’s most iconic peaks: Longs, Hallett, and Tyndall Glacier.
If you’re already hiked out or want to get in as many picture-perfect vistas as possible, a few scenic highways stretch through RMNP. We recommend Trail Ridge Road, as it’s one of the most iconic and scenic roads in the country.
- Trail Ridge Road
- Referred to as the “highway to the sky,” Trail Ridge Road covers 48 miles between Estes Park and Grand Lake. You’ll climb above treeline and descend along picturesque alpine wildflowers.
If you plan on driving this scenic highway, make sure to allot at least a half-day to the adventure. Be careful to check road conditions and closure status before starting the drive, as this route can be frequently closed.
Make Solitude Cabins Your Base Camp
For quick access to RMNP, book with our Estes Park vacation rentals. To learn more about our lodging rates and availability, contact us today!