Deer Ridge Jct can be reached from either the Fall River entrance or the Beaver Meadows entrance to the park.
You can't find a road like this one anywhere outside of Colorado! Eleven miles of the route roam above tree line in the alpine tundra.
It is possible to get some good vistas of the mountain ranges reflected in the small ponds here.
Just beyond the ponds, Hidden Valley
Scenic vistas back to the east.
A must stop. Scenic view of Horseshoe Park, the alluvial fan and the beaver ponds.
A deep canyon separates you from a mountain range that seems almost close enough to touch. Sunrise and sunset work here, especially with clouds to catch the light. Clouds can fill the canyon with the peaks rising above—spectacular!
The road is cut through some rocks here with a dramatic drop over the side. Good foreground for the peaks in the distance. The 0.5 paved Tundra Trail leads to panoramic views of the alpine tundra at the Toll Memorial.
Very similar opportunities as the Forest Canyon Overlook.
There is a very nice vista looking back down the Fall River valley at the very eastern end of this facility.
The route begins at the entrance to the Alpine Visitor's Center on Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mountain Ntl Park.
Pets on a leash along roadsides and in campgrounds ONLY. Pets and bicycles are not allowed on trails or elsewhere in the park.
Look for moose in areas with aquatic vegetation and willows. Visitors sight moose with some frequency in the half-mile stretch just north of Onahu Creek Trailhead, along the Onahu Trail. Willow areas along the Colorado River next to Timber Creek Campground and at Lulu City are other good viewing locations.
Some far ranging vistas to the north into the Cache la Poudre River valley and west to the Never Summer Mtns. from this spot.
Beautiful Poudre Lake, the source of the Poudre River, lies just east of the Pass. Wide open meadows make it easy to spot wildlife. Lake Irene Picnic Area is just 1/2 mile past the pass.
More far ranging views into the headwaters of the Colorado River and the Kawuneeche valley to the south.
A flowered field is all that remains of this once booming mining town. Pass by the remains of log cabins and look for tailings from the Shipler Mine about 2 miles into the trail.
The trail climbs through a number of short switchbacks leading to a meadow where subalpine flowers bloom. After a second set of switchbacks, picturesque Timber Lake comes into view.
The Beaver Creek PA and the Beaver Ponds PA are on the west in the next mile.
98 sites Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, fire grate, tent pad, and parking for 1 vehicle. The recent mountain pine beetle outbreak has resulted in the removal of most trees so there is no shade in the campground.
This is a one-half mile flat walk across the Kawuneeche Valley to the Holzwarth Trout Lodge and Historic Site, a rustic guest ranch created in the 1920's.
Follows Baker Gulch to Baker Pass in the Never Summer Range and Never Summer Wilderness. The hike offers beautiful views from Baker Pass; good fishing in Baker Gulch Creek; lots of wildlife; including bighorn sheep and blue grouse.
Elk and moose are sometimes seen from this one mile, level, gravel loop; especially during the early morning and early evening.
The trail travels a level path through Big Meadow and enters a lodgepole pine and aspen forest. It then turns east and makes a moderate climb, passes through a pine forest and then begins a relatively steep climb up the creek drainage. The trail crosses the creek twice as it makes a long climb up the ridge. Just beyond the Onahu Creek campsites, the trail travels to the north of a large meadow and makes a gentle climb to Onahu Bridge and a connection with the Long Meadows and Onahu-Tonahutu Connector trails.
This trail passes along the lush, marshy Big Meadow, and through forests of lodgepole pine, quaking aspen, subalpine fir, and Engelmann spruce. Watch for moose and elk foraging in the meadow and explore the cabin ruins of early settlers.
The two mile Harbison Meadow loop begins in a meadow, goes through a wooded area and then along the Colorado River.
Take a walk with a ranger. Listen to illustrated programs on Saturday night. Watch a 20-minute film on the park (shown on request). Get oriented with the topographical relief map of the park. Learn about the Colorado River and its people. Buy a book. Reserve backcountry camping sites. Handicapped accessible restrooms available. The Tonahutu Spur connects with the Big Meadow trail.
From the trailhead, the trail drops onto a level 4x4 road that travels through private property for more than a mile before reaching the Park's boundary. It then passes through the Summerland Park meadows. Moose, elk and deer are commonly seen along the North Inlet corridor. The trail becomes steeper beyond the Twinberry backcountry campsite spur at mile 3.0, and continues to follow the creek to the base of Cascade Falls at 3.5 miles. Dispersed camping is allowed in an area around the falls. Just beyond the top of the falls is a meadow on the trail's south side; a pleasant place to relax and a great place to observe wildlife.
Adams Falls (East Inlet Trailhead) This easy one-third mile hike leads to a small, pleasant waterfall. If you wish to go further, past the falls, you will soon come to a large, glaciated valley with a river and great views. Moose are sometimes sighted in this valley. Many types of wildflowers are found in this area.
The Wild Basin entrance to Rocky Mtn Ntl Park is located on SH7 about 2 miles north of Allenspark.
The trail begins at the Wild Basin TH and leads to three waterfalls. Finch Lake TH and Sandbeach Lake TH are located along Wild Basin Rd and offer more backcountry options.
From the Wild Basin Trailhead, head southwest through an evergreen corridor mixed with aspen. In .4 mile, the trail passes Copeland Falls. Massive boulders flank the trail and rugged cliff bands rise dramatically on the right. After 1.5 miles, cross a wooden bridge over St. Vrain Creek and start a moderate climb to the Calypso Cascades, named in honor of the calypso orchid. The route heads west at the cascades and passes several clearings with views across Wild Basin and of Longs Peak to the north. At mile 2.6, Ouzel Falls comes into view. Look closely and you may spot the falls' namesake, the ouzel, or dipper, as it plunges into the rushing streamwater
Parking area on east side of SH91 about 6 miles south of Copper Mountain.
The trail to Chasm Lake is consistently steep and easy to follow. Snow coverage is possible year round, but well placed cairns will keep you on track. Be prepared and start early to ensure that you are back below treeline before the typical afternoon thunderstorms arrive.
Chasm Lake sits in a deep cirque surrounded by Mt Meeker, Longs Peak and Mount Lady Washington. Longs Peak's Diamond face rises 2,500 ft above this awe inspiring lake. Watch for marmot, pika, ptarmigan, elk and wildflowers along the way. The vistas are amazing.
The trail travels through an evergreen forest, crosses the top of an unnamed cascade and reaches treeline in 1.85 miles and the Battle Mountain Backcountry Campsite spur at 2.45 miles then turns toward the Longs Peak diamond. It reaches the Chasm Lake/East Longs Peak Trail junction at 3.25 miles then bears southwest and gradually rises up the west side of a glacier-carved gorge at the base of Longs Peak, at the top of which lies Chasm Lake. The trail passes a view of Peacock Pool far below you then drops down to a bench that separates upper and lower Columbine Falls at 3.8 miles. The trail crosses the valley and reaches a patrol cabin and toilet at 4.0 miles. From here it's a steep, 0.2 mile, scramble up the rocks to Chasm Lake.
SH7, the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, 2.6 miles north of the Long's Peak turnoff. Turn east for the Twin Sisters TH and park near the gate.
Lily Mtn TH is on the west side of SH7, 0.5 miles further north. VERY limited parking.
Two trails leading to summits with panoramic vistas in all directions. The Twin Sisters Trail is within Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park and does not allow pets or mountain bikes. Lily Mountain Trail is in the Roosevelt NF and pets on leashes are welcome.
These two peaks sit off by themselves to the east of the Peak to Peak SB and offer outstanding 360° vistas. Start by hiking up the road beyond the gate. At the Twin Sisters TH sign, head up the well maintained trail as it climbs through the trees. After about 0.9 miles you'll see the first view of Long's Peak (14,255 ft) and Mount Meeker (13,911 ft). At about 3 miles you will reach treeline and the trail will switchback through the scree to a saddle. On the right is the Twin Sister most people climb, Sister "west", which is actually shorter (11,413') than sister "east" (11, 428'). Sister west has a communication building and solar panels. The trail continues on the right side of the building, then climbs to the top of the peak.
The trail is relatively level for the first mile then begins a series of switchbacks toward the summit. Near the top of the trail, signs point the way; small rock cairns have been placed to indicate the short scrambling route through some boulders to the summit. At a point where the trail appears to split, the lower route leads to a saddle area below the summit. The saddle and the summit offer panoramic views including Longs Peak and much of the Continental Divide, sights around the Estes Valley with much of the city of Estes Park and Mary's Lake and Lake Estes, Twin Sisters Peaks, Lion Head, Rocky Mountain National Park, Storm Mountain, and the Mummy Range.
Just past the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, turn right onto Bear Lake and drive 1.3 miles to a right turn into Moraine Park.
Moraine Park CG, with 245 sites, is located in a ponderosa pine forest above the meadows of Moraine Park about 1/2 mile from Bear Lake Rd.
The trail travels through abundant early summer wildflowers and is an elk-watchers paradise in the spring and fall, especially in mid-afternoon.
The trail heads south from the TH and crosses the Big Thompson River before reaching the unmarked Lateral Moraine Trail junction at 0.55 miles. Bear right and travel through ideal habitat for seeing elk. The trail will become steeper and enter a thick aspen grove providing some fine fall foliage photo ops. It reaches the edge of a marsh at the Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite spur at 2.2 miles and continues west to the northeast corner of Cub Lake at 2.3 miles. Cub Lake is ringed by thick timber and marsh, discouraging exploration. Consider hiking the main trail above the lake for 0.3 miles to the Mill Creek Trail junction for better photo ops.
With good fishing, abundant backcountry campsites and surrounded by 12,000 ft peaks, Fern Lake is one of Rocky Mountain National Park's most popular destinations.
The Fern Lake Trail climbs gently alongside the Big Thompson River through a mixed forest to reach The Pool and the Cub Lake Trail junction at 1.8 miles. This section has some good fishing spots, wildlife viewing, mushroom hunting and fine fall foliage. You'll pass a series of huge boulders known as Arch Rocks just before reaching the Pool, a whirlpool below the confluence of Spruce Creek, Fern Creek and Big Thompson River. From The Pool, the trail climbs steeply through dense firs to Fern Falls at mile 2.65. It reaches the Spruce Lake Trail junction at mile 3.8. Marguerite Falls is located nearby, just east of the main trail near the junction. Watch for social trails leading to good photo ops. From here it's just a few hundred feet to Fern Lake. You may continue on the trail to photo ops along the east shore, explore social trails to secluded nooks and check out the inlet on the west shore. Or continue on to reach Odessa Lake at mile 4.4. Dramatic peaks loom above this spectacular mountain lake.
From the Cub Lake TH, head south on the Cub Lake trail across the Big Thompson River to the unmarked Lateral Moraine Trail junction at 0.6 miles and bear left. The Lateral Moraine Trail turns east, traveling through prime wildlife viewing habitat, and merges with a Park service road at 1.9 miles and continues east past private residences and Park facilities to reach a small parking area adjacent to the Big Thompson River and Bear Lake Rd at 2.7 miles. Head northwest from the parking lot through the meadow to join the Fern Lake Rd at 3.5 miles. Continue west along the road to return to the Cub Lake TH at mile 4.7.
The TH is located on Bear Lake Rd, about 8 miles from US36.
This trailhead provides access to numerous destinations, loops and backcountry campsites; these are a few highlights.
The hike from Glacier Gorge Junction to Alberta Falls is probably the most popular trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Short and easy, and one of the most scenic hikes in the park.
Head south from the trailhead and at about 0.3 miles, the trail intersects with the trail to Sprague Lake, and slightly further, the trail coming down from Bear Lake. At the intersection with the Bear Lake Trail, turn to the left. The trail passes through several aspen groves, then into pine forest. At about 0.5 miles, it opens up onto a ledge of rock offering a spectacular overlook of Glacier Gorge. From there, the trail parallels Glacier Creek until Alberta Falls suddenly comes into view, roaring through a granite chute. The trail continues on to some of the most beautiful lakes in the park: The Loch (Loch Vale), Mills Lake, Lake Haiyaha and Black Lake.
The initial part of the trail is the route to Alberta Falls. After leaving the falls, the trail climbs a hillside above Glacier Creek to intersect with the North Longs Peak Trail at about 1.9 miles, crosses a short rocky stretch to reach the Lake Haiyaha Jct followed by the trail to The Loch at mile 2. Bear left (south). The trail crosses a bridge over Icy Brook and climbs several switchbacks as you approach timberline. The trail levels off as you approach Mills Lake near the Glacier Creek outlet at mile 2.5. This area, where the creek flows through the granite boulders and outcroppings, makes a worthy photo op. A short walk brings you to the northeast edge of Mills Lake and some of the most magnificent vistas in the Park.
The initial part of the trail is the route to Alberta Falls. After leaving the falls, the trail climbs a hillside above Glacier Creek to intersect with the North Longs Peak Trail at about 1.9 miles, crosses a short rocky stretch to reach the junction with the Lake Haiyaha, followed by the trail to The Loch, at mile 2. Proceed straight. The trail travels alongside and above Icy Brook on a series of switchbacks to arrive at The Loch at mile 2.7. Taylor Peak and Powell Peak tower above and Andrews Glacier is visible from most vantage points.
Bear Lake lies at the end of Bear Lake Rd, about 9 miles from US36.
The Bear Lake TH is just beyond the Bear Lake Ranger Station at the end of the parking lot and across the stream.
At the TH, turn right to coincide with the interpretive guide. The trail itself circles scenic Bear Lake with Hallet Peak in the background. It's an ideal family destination, but also provides access to nearly every other trail and destination in the entire area.
Follow the signs from the Bear Lake TH for Nymph, Dream and Emerald lakes. The trail climbs to Nymph Lake at 0.5 miles. During the summer, the lake is filled with pond lilies. The trail skirts along the east side of the lake and offers some great vistas of Hallett Peak, often reflecting in the still water of Nymph Lake. The trail continues above the lake's north shore to another photo op, at mile 0.8, offering outstanding vistas of Longs Peak and Glacier Gorge. It becomes less steep near the Lake Haiyaha Jct and veers right over a bridge across Dream Lake's outlet at mile 1.1 then follows the shore and the inlet up to Emerald Lake at 1.8 miles. Emerald Lake fills a deep bowl carved by Tyndall Glacier, which is located in a saddle between Hallet Peak and Flattop Mountain.
Horseshoe Park begins just past the Fall River Entrance Station, continues on US34 for 4.0 miles to Deer Ridge Jct and includes the paved Endovalley Rd.
Horseshoe Park, a large meadow, has the park's largest concentrations of bighorn sheep and elk.
This entire area may be the best location in Colorado to observe and photograph wildlife!
Bighorn are most easily seen at low elevations in late spring and early summer, when they descend from the Mummy Range to Sheep Lakes in Horseshoe Park. Here, they graze and eat soil to obtain minerals not found in their high mountain habitat. Their visits generally occur between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
In the late spring and throughout summer, rangers control traffic as sheep attempt to move to and from the meadow.
During autumn, elk congregate in West Horseshoe Park across the road from this parking area/overlook/TH. Watch for elk along the edges of clearings early in the morning or in the evening. Bugling is more often heard at dawn and dusk.
To prevent disturbance and harassment of elk during the fall mating period, closures in Horseshoe Park, Moraine Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, and the Kawuneeche Valley area are in place from September 1 through October 30. These closures are for travel on foot or horse off established roadways or designated trails from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.
It's a short walk up the Alluvial Fan trail to a bridge that provides a great photo op of Horseshoe Falls. Cross the bridge and go further up the trail and closer to the falls. Social trails will provide different vantage points.
On July 15, 1982, a 95-foot long section of the Lawn Lake dam failed. Over 300 million gallons of water surged down the Roaring River forming waterwalls up to 30-foot high. In Horseshoe Park, trees, sand, and boulders quarried from the riverbed settled, forming an alluvial fan (debris moved by water). This Alluvial Fan now covers 42 acres, contains boulders weighing up to 452 tons, and is 44 feet deep in places.
Old Fall River Rd begins at the end of the pavement and the seasonal closure gate near Endovalley Picnic Area, 4.0 miles from the Fall River Entrance Station.
Nearly 100 years old and never more than 14 feet wide, this road stretches for 9 mi, from the park's east side to the Fall River Pass on the west. The road is generally open from July through mid-October. The road is steep, serpentine, completely lacking in guard rails and provides spectacular views.
The Fall River valley provides excellent wildlife habitat. Large herds of elk reside in the area.
It's a short walk down a moderately steep hill to a viewing area for the falls. The falls drop 25 feet onto granite rocks and are among the prettiest in Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park. There are good spots for photo-ops from the bottom of the falls to the top.
As the trail enters the tundra northwest of Mount Chapin, the trail becomes an unimproved route. It splits into several paths, each of which cross tundra and rock slopes as they lead east toward the saddle between Mount Chapin and Mount Chiquita. Near the saddle, an unmarked path leads southeast up a steep slope to Chapin's summit.