Colorado Hiking Trail – Rocky Mountain National Park & Estes Park Hike Overview

Estes Park is the epicenter for Rocky Mountain National Park. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to the area throughout the winter, spring, fall and summer to enjoy the breathtaking views of the area. Estes Park features the Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909 and has been portrayed in such films as The Shining & Dumb and Dumber. Estes Park extends over 6 square miles and houses only 6,000 or so year-round residents. The rest of the traffic is made up of hikers, campers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even elk!

Rocky Mountain National Park is the ultimate destination for hikers! The national park features over 400 square miles to explore. With over 350 miles of trails, 150 lakes, and 450 miles of stream, the area boasts countless wildlife. It’s common to see elk, black bears, deer, moose, sheep, and other mountain animals roaming the landscape. The park also features several high peaks, including some that reach 14,000+ feet in elevation! Given Colorado’s diverse weather climate, it’s important to select your time appropriately when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. For example, during July and August there can be several thunderstorms in the area. During winter months, some of the trails and roads can be closed during the snow conditions. One of the ideal times to visit is during the spring, when the weather transitions from cold to warmer conditions and there are less seasonal visitors in the area.

The Go Hike It team explored Rocky Mountain National Park during the winter and explored only a sliver of the area’s trails. This particular posts features two lakes near Hallet Peak.

Length: 3-4 miles round-trip (distance can range significantly depending what trail or area you hike).

Colorado is a hiker’s wonderland! The state boasts some of the finest hiking trails and is truly a magical gem for local residents and tourists alike. The Go Hike It team was thrilled to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoy the area’s nature trails. It was also special to see some of Estes Park’s highlights and explore areas, such as the famous bar at the Stanley Hotel. The team hopes to return to the area soon!

 

Colorado Hiking Trail Map:

 

What to Bring:  

  • 80-100 oz. of water (stay hydrated in the high elevation) 
  • Cell phone and/or Camera
  • Comfortable Hiking Boats/Shoes
  • Appropriate clothing for season, such as jacket for winter or shorts for hot summer day
  • First Aid Kit
  • $20 for state park entry fee 
  • Area map (cell phone reception is spotty)
 

 

How it Looks:  

 

 

Go Hike It Team Enjoying the cold weather
View of Hallet Peak
Keep an eye out for Elk!

 

Dog Friendly: Pets are allow in Rocky Mountain National Park, but they are not allowed on backcountry or hiking trails. They must be kept in the car or in areas where cars park. To learn more, visit the state park’s website here.
Intensity Levels: 
  • Barry-the-Bear: “This hike is incredible! I feel in love with the ColoRADo during my visit and hope to be back soon!”
  • Larry-the-Lion: “Breathtaking! The views within Rocky Mountain National Park blew past my imagination. This parks looks beautiful in photographs, buy nothing beats seeing the area’s mountains in person! Keep an eye our for Elk they seem to be roaming at various points in the morning or evening.”
  • Chris-the-Cheetah: “The hiking trails are as challenging as you want to make them! I found that I could go hike to a lake, hike around it and then find another one in close distance. Make sure to drink water! The elevation can get to you!”
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