These easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado are a great way to explore the 355 miles of hiking trails in the park. Even if you’re a beginner or novice hiker you can experience some of the most scenic lakes, breathtaking mountains and pine forests without putting in major miles.
Easy hikes abound in Rocky Mountain National Park. Some trails lead to stunning waterfalls, while others take you to scenic lakes or offer views of mountain peaks. Some are even wheelchair-friendly.
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Here are a few of our favourite easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park:
Distance: 0.8 miles / 1.3 kilometers
Elevation: 104 feet / 32 meters
Adams Falls is a great choice for beginner hikers looking for a fairly flat trail with spectacular views. The highlight is the beautiful Adams Falls as well as lush pine forests. The hiking trail is open from June to November. Just keep in mind that it’s a popular hike and gets pretty busy so get there early.
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Distance: 0.8 miles / 1.3 kilometers
Elevation: 36 feet / 10 meters
Located just off Bear Lake Road, Sprague Lake is one of the most popular trails since it’s one of the easiest trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a short loop around the lake with stunning views and features a picnic area. It’s the perfect easy hike for the whole family. Sprague Lake is also a great place to watch the sunset with mountain peaks for the backdrop. The trail is handicap-friendly and open year-round. If you’re lucky you may even see some wildlife like moose while you enjoy your hike.
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Distance: 0.7 miles / 1.1 kilometers
Elevation: 49 feet / 15 meters
Bear Lake is a well-marked trail and is one of the easiest hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trailhead serves as a starting point for several different routes, including a short loop around the stunning Bear Lake but experienced hikers can continue on to one of the more challenging trails. Keep your eyes open for wildlife.
The trail to Bear Lake is open from March to November. If you want to make the best of the breathtaking views, make sure to get an early start before it gets crowded since its a popular trail, especially in summer.
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Distance: 2 miles / 3.2 kilometers
Elevation: 427 feet / 130 meters
Dream Lake is an easy route that hikers can access from April until November. Along the trail, you’ll come across a clear creek that runs into Dream Lake as well as picturesque wildflowers and mountain views. This lake hike is well-maintained and partially paved, making it perfect for the whole family.
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Distance: 0.8 miles / 1.3 kilmoters
Elevation: 30 feet / 10 meters
Lily Lake is a very easy trail for the whole family. The entire route is flat and paved in some places, making it wheelchair and stroller-friendly. Take a moment to stop and enjoy the fresh pine air and calm lake waters that are filled with a great variety of fish. Lily Lake is also a great place for bird watching.
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Distance: 1.6 miles / 2.6 kilometers
Elevation: 232 feet / 70 meters
Your reward for hiking to Alberta Falls is a picturesque waterfall. This is an easy popular trail in Rocky Mountain National from spring to fall where you can enjoy beautiful aspen trees and gorgeous mountain views. The trail to Alberta Falls is multi-purpose. You’ll find hikers, runners, horseback riders and snowshoers. It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours enjoying the beautiful falls.
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Distance: 3.2 – 4.8 miles / 5 – 7.5 kilometers
Elevation: 255 – 566 feet / 78 – 173 meters
The Bierstadt Lake has two popular starting points; a) the Bierstadt Trailhead that is 3.2 miles long with a 566-foot elevation gain and b) the Bear Lake Trailhead that is 4.8 miles long with a 255-foot elevation gain. Although both are considered easy hikes, the Bierstadt Trailhead is considerably steeper so is a better choice for intermediate hikers while beginner hikers should start from the Bear Lake Trailhead.
At Bierstadt Lake you’ll find some great spots to stop for a picnic lunch while enjoying stunning views of the lake. The trail is open for most of the year. It’s a great option for snowshoeing too.
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Copeland Falls to Calypso Cascades
Distance: 3.5 miles / 5.6 kilometers
Elevation: 610 feet / 186 meters
Copeland Falls is an easy to moderate day hike and offers unforgettable views of cascading falls. This out and back trail takes you past several small streams as you make your way up the well-shaded trail. Calypso Cascades create a refreshing backdrop to the stunning forest and mountain views.
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Distance: 2.3 miles / 3.7 kilometers
Elevation: 112 feet / 34 meters
Popular between April and September, Beaver Ponds is one of the best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for seeing wildlife. Most commonly you’ll find plenty of chipmunks and elk in the area.
One of the most beautiful things about Beaver Ponds are the abundance of lily pads on the water. The trail to Beaver Ponds is well marked and flat for the most part with a gentle climb towards the end of the trail. It’s a fantastic route for beginner hikers but can get busy during summer so get there early.
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Distance: 1.1 miles / 1.7 kilometers
Elevation: 155 feet / 47 meters
The short but slightly steep hike to Toll Memorial is well worth it. You’ll get sweeping views at the top of Toll Memorial Trail which is mesmerizing, to say the least. If you hike it in summer, you’ll get wildflowers.
Intermediate and more experienced hikers will want to add to the challenge by climbing the mushroom-shaped rock formations at the top. Watch for the signboards that boast interesting facts about Toll Memorial for an educational experience.
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Distance: 0.7 miles / 1.2 kilometers
Elevation: 148 feet / 45 meters
The trail to Alpine Ridge is short but the elevation and altitude can make it a little more difficult than it looks. But, the amazing views at the top are more than worth the short climb. During summer you can enjoy panoramic views of wildflowers and towering mountain peaks. You can hike to Alpine Ride from June to October, however, be sure to take a jacket with you to the top. It can get pretty windy and cold, even in summer.
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Distance: 7 miles / 11 kilometers
Elevation: 1,870 feet / 560 meters
Located near Black Hawk, the trail to Crater Lakes features amazing lake views, wildflowers, lush pine orest and even a rock scramble or two. The hike isn’t very challenging but there’s a section with a steep incline by the lake. Along the way, there are a few clearings where you can stop for a picnic and admire the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park.
The trail is also great for dogs as there is plenty of shade and water along the way. This isn’t exactly an easy hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, but intermediate to more experienced hikers shouldn’t have any issues.
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Tips for Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Always check for park closures the day before you hike or check with a staff member when you enter the park. Some trails may be closed due to wildlife, fire, maintenance or another issue.
- It costs $25 per car per day to enter the park.
- Watch for and maintain a safe distance from wildlife. You may see elk, bighorn sheep and moose.
Where to Stay in Rocky Mountain National Park