When it comes to amazing hiking in Colorado many locals first thought would be Rocky Mountain National Park.
With an abundance of scenery and multiple destinations among the trails you have the opportunity to take in the sights, smells, and ambiance of Colorado at the difficulty level of your choice. There are routes for beginners and some that are far more technical. Do not be alarmed; they are well marked and are even better explored with a guide. Guided hikes are a great introduction to the outdoors or a great way to hone in your mountaineering skills if you are experienced and want to find a challenge.
When hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park you feel the true ambiance of what most expect of Colorado.
- Nice scenery
- Nice smells
- Sunny weather
- Great times are to be had no matter what trail you choose!
What is best about Rocky Mountain National Park is the geological features and the destination of the trails. There are:
- beautiful lakes
- Many more natural features that are the end destination for many trails!
There are many trails and hundreds of square miles to explore however a few specific areas stand out that we like the most. As guides we like to share our findings and knowledge so you can share the same experience that we get to.
Here are some tours that really stand out to us for different reasons.
1. Most Popular- Thunder Lake Backpack
This trail meanders along 2 creeks and makes positive elevation gains quickly. St. Vrain Creek and Sandbeach Creek provide Upper Copeland Falls. This trail sees over 2200 feet of elevation gain and a quick round trip of just 11.6 miles.
Along the trip you will see glaciers feeding water into lakes and streams, glacier lilies blossoming, and neat waterfall/rock features. This trail does see more traffic because it is easy to access from Estes Park.
2. Most Remote- Mummy Trek
This trail is an “All day suffer fest hike” in which in a round trip of 20 miles you can conquer the entire Mummy range! It has over 5,600ft in elevation gain meaning it is for more experienced hikers. On this trek you conquer 6 peaks! One is 12,454ft and the remaining 5 are all in the 13,500ft range.
Not many people choose this trek for a fun stroll however it is a challenge and is isolated if you are looking to not see as many people while out.
3. Most adventure- Longs Peak Loop
On Longs Peak Loop you have many options regarding length of trip and overnight camping options. This trip is remote in the center of the park. It can be done in 1-3 days depending on your pace and desire to explore.
There are great camping areas along the loop. If you are looking for a fun overnight trip or a hard trek for 1 day this is for you. Elevation gain is 5,000ft over 23 miles.
4. Top Family Trip- Portered Odessa Gorge
A shorter trail along the Big Thompson River. Not strenuous and provides some of the best views in the park. It is a glacier cut area and has water flowing throughout. At just over 4 miles the hike is manageable for anyone who is interested in hiking.
It has a dense forest feel with water flowing throughout. With less than 2,000 feet in elevation gain your legs will not be reminding you the next day.
5. Guides Choice- Continental Divide Loop
28 miles of different types of trail conditions. This is the perfect family trip. It encompasses everything you would like in a hike and does not have any real strenuous sections. You can branch off and do certain sections of this trail if you prefer or you can go ahead and do the entire loop.
What makes this trail the guides choice is the variety of entry points that are all different difficulty levels and have all sorts of scenery and photo opportunities. If you have friends or family from out of state or are a guide looking to show a great time then this is the trail for you!
Items needed for the hikes
1. Water– With all the great hikes listed above requiring physical abilities water should be at the forefront of your thoughts. At high elevation we need more water. Make sure to pack plenty and possibly a life straw for streams. There are plenty around RMNP.
2. Shoes/Boots– The terrain at RMNP varies on where you are exploring. Generally, you need to have hiking boots or shoes that can withstand some water, dirt, grip on rocks, and be able to protect from anything protruding out of the ground.
3. Sunscreen– Being closer to the sun means you burn quicker. Lather up and enjoy your next day after the hike instead of wearing that sunburn!
4. Friends– Hikes especially up 14,000 foot plus peaks is always best done with friends. You never want to hike trails alone due to dangers along the way. Its also more fun to have a companion and makes for a great bonding experience.
5. GPS/Smartphone– Nice to take pictures out there and after an accomplishing hike it’s nice to have the evidence. GPS also keeps you from getting lost and can help. There are many hiking trail apps that are worth downloading to get the most out of your experience.
At AVA we offer guided hikes of all ability levels throughout Rocky Mountain National Park to show you the best areas of this wonderful landscape. Our hikes are custom tailored to your group. At AVA we make dreams of exploring peaks from 12,000 to 14,000.