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Estes Park / Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Guide

Updated on July 26, 2010

It is common knowledge that Rocky Mountain National Park contains more beauty per square mile than any other place in the United States. The best way to truly savour this magnificent natural beauty is by hiking. There are more than 355 miles of trails to be discovered within Rocky Mountain National Park and the terrain you will witness includes mountain peaks, waterfalls, lakes, and endless fields of wildflowers. Whether you come to the park for a pleasant short stroll along the shore of a crystal-clear mountain lake or if you wish to engage in a week-long expedition along the Continental Divide. With 34 major trails leading to so many stunning and remote locations the hiker will always find another challenge and majestic view around every corner.

If your preference is for Lake Hikes, you can choose the easy Bear Lake Nature Hike which is a comfortable 0.6 mile loop around an alpine lake. For more moderate activity, Cub Lake and Mills Lake are excellent choices. The 2.3 mile Cub Lake Hike is a long time park favorite especially in autumn when the forest is ablaze in color. The 2.4 mile Mills Lake provides one of the park's finest views of Longs Peak and the Keyboard of the Winds. For advanced hikers, the 6 mile Bluebird Lake Hike provides stops at Ouzel Falls and Ouzel Lake. To view Adams Falls and the nearby scenery, the Lone Pine Lake Hike is 5.5 miles of paradise.

There are more spectacular waterfalls to be viewed at the Adams Falls Hike, a very easy 0.3 mile Hike past a lovely stream which is suitable for the whole family regardless of age. The thundering Alberta Falls are the main attraction of the appropriately named 0.6 mile Hike which due to its ease and views ranks as one of the park's most popular. Moderate hikes can be found on the 3.5 mile Cascade Falls Hike or the 2.7 mile Ouzel Falls Hike both of which allow you to rest next to phenomenal cascading waterfalls. A 4 mile hike awaits the advanced hiker ready for a strenuous workout to reach scenic Loch Vale on the Timberline Falls Hike.

Advanced hikers in peak physical condition and experienced in the challenges of high mountain hiking may want to attempt the Deer Mountain, Twin Sisters Peak and Flattop Mountain Hikes. Each of these hikes is between 3 and 4.5 miles and offer stunning memorable scenery. The Mount Richtofen Hike is truly an experts only hike which will test the most seasoned and fit hiker on 7.2 miles of challenging terrain to reach one of the most prominent summits in the Never Summer Mountains with an elevation of just under 13,000 feet.

Experienced hikers are aware of the dangers that high mountain terrain poses, but more casual hikers may be blissfully unaware. In the Rocky Mountain National Park you can easily set off from a trailhead in 75 degree F. sunshine and soon find yourself in a wind driven snowfall. Any hikers who wish to explore the park would be well advised to inquire about local conditions, come fully prepared for any eventuality and exercise extreme safety precautions.

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