With over 355 miles of hiking trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is a must-visit place for any avid hikers or adventures. There are many options for hiking there, whether you are looking for easy to hike places, less busy areas, strenuous hikes, less popular areas, or looking for wildlife. This article will detail the 5 of the more easy hikes that are beautiful and must-see, even though they usually are very busy and probably some of the most popular hikes in the park.
1. Bear Lake
You can’t visit Rocky Mountain National Park without visiting Bear Lake. It is one of the most popular hikes in the park, and for good reason. This lake has sheer beauty, and the backdrop is spectacular. If you are only going to hike one place in Rocky Mountain National Park, this is it. A self-guided 0.5 mile trail goes all the way around the lake, and anybody can hike it. On the downside, because of its beauty, it is always busy, especially in the summer. You have to get their early to get a parking spot, otherwise you will have to take a shuttle. And if you don’t like crowds, stay away from this spot- it is always packed with people.
2. Alberta Falls
This is probably the most popular hike in the park, and probably one of the most beautiful waterfalls. Walking to Alberta Falls is easy and only 0.8 miles one way, and it is well worth the walk. The scenery is indescribable; you have to see it for yourself. Of course half the fun is getting there. Along the way, small groves of trees are everywhere, the beautiful mountains and falls are easily seen in the distance, glacier creek runs along the trail, and you will be certain to see some squirrels and a variety of birds. The only downside to it is that it’sprobably as busy as Bear Lak
3. Rock Cut
It is no Alberta Falls or Bear Lake, but its scenery is still great. It is a different kind of scenery though, as it is near the top of Trail Ridge Road. At this site you will find an open meadow with several rock outcrops. Why this hike is on this list is not necessarily because of its scenery, but because of the great opportunity to view wildlife. It is one of the best places to view marmots and pikas in the park. I had been to Rocky Mountain National Park 12-13 times before I stopped here. The first time I came here, it had not even been 15 minutes before I spotted several marmots and a few pika. There are always a few people at this trail as it is fairly popular, but not near the amount as Bear Lake and Alberta Falls. I highly suggest you take the time to get off at rock cut and look for marmots and pika. I noticed many people just stopped for two minutes and rushed along their way. That is no way to spend your time in this beautiful place, stop and have a look around!
4. Sprague Lake
Another popular Lake area in RMNP is Sprague Lake. A 0.7 mile hike will take you all the way around the lake, and if you’re looking for great pictures, you won’t be disappointed. There are also many picnic benches available, so it is a great place to stop and eat, especially since it is not filled with people. If Bear Lake is too busy, or if you’re looking to have a nice, quiet picnic, than Sprague Lake is the way to go
5. Calypso Cascades
This is somewhat of a “hidden” gem, as a lot of people who go to Rocky Mountain National Park only visit through the eastern and western entrance. This hike is in southeast Rocky Mountain National Park, about 30 minutes south of Estes Park. Calypso Cascades is the longest hike in this article, at 1.8 miles one way. The hike is worth it though- when hiking there, tall trees surround you, the river rushes nearby you, and there are several openings along the way where you can sit down on a rock and rest. Before Calypso Cascades at the beginning of the hike is Copeland Falls, a very small waterfall but still beautiful. Calypso Cascades themselves are gorgeous!
This hike is somewhat of a hidden gem because there are people who know about it, and if you get there past 7 or 7:30 in the morning, it is likely you will have to park in the parking lot (instead of taking the road into the trailhead), and walk for 3 miles just to get to the start of the trail. So get there at about 6:30 or 7 in the morning. The earlier, the better!