Hidden hikes of Rocky Mountain National Park

OK, not exactly hidden but these trails see fewer crowds during the summer and are amazing summer hikes near Estes Park! Now, we will preface this blog by saying that the western portion of the park tends to have fewer visitors, which does entail quite a drive to get there, but is also quite worth it.

We’ll cover a few hidden gems on both the eastern and western side of Rocky Mountain National Park to find the perfect secluded hike during your next stay in the Rockies:

  • Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls – Off the Wild Basin Trailhead is the easy 5.4-mile hike with stunning waterfall views. Wild Basin is pretty popular with the locals with a great mix of easy to strenuous hikes with beautiful payoffs. This trail has less than 1,000 ft. of elevation gain and is home to vibrant wildflowers.
  • Cascade Falls – This 6.8-mile trail off the North Inlet Trailhead on the east side of the park is an easy hike with minimal elevation gain. Not only do you have a wonderful view of the multi-tiered waterfall, but you’ll also have a good chance of spotting some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s wildlife like moose or elk.
  • Lake Verna & Spirit Lake – Off the East Inlet Trailhead is the 13.8-mile Lake Verna trail. This moderate trail has just under 2,000 ft. of elevation gain and can easily be combined with the picture-perfect Spirit Lake trail.
  • Lulu City – Talk about hidden gems — Lulu City is a ghost town and the remnants of an 1880s mining camp. The 3.7-mile trail leads you through meadows toward the remains of cabins and foundations for the town’s buildings. This trail is accessible off the Colorado River Trail Trailhead, near Grand Lake.
  • Sky Pond and Lake of Glass – Off the Wild Basin Trailhead is the easy 5.4-mile hike with stunning waterfall views. Wild Basin is pretty popular with the locals as visitors flock toward Bear Lake. For a secluded hike, check out the trails branching off of Wild Basin.
  • Timber Lake – On the west side of the park is the moderate 9.6-mile hike with more than 2,000 ft. of elevation gain. This trail is great for hikers seeking views of the Never Summer Range and the possible moose, elk, or bighorn sheep sighting.

Plan a few trails you want to hike during your stay in Estes Park and find the perfect accommodation to return to after your hiking adventure. 

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