Can you feel the pull to reach the highest mountain summit? When we visit Rocky Mountain National Park, there is always the temptation to find the highest and longest hike. However, starting out with some lower elevation hikes during the first couple days of our trip is a really good way to acclimate our bodies. Compared to our home town (in Arkansas) there are no ‘low elevation’ hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I use this as a relative term.
Lower elevation hikes are also great during the spring and winter because they typically have less snow. I’ve listed a brief description of some of the hiking destinations that are 8,500 ft in elevation or lower. There are also links to articles with more details beneath each.
Lumpy Ridge – Turnoff Elevation 7,750 ft
Our favorite hike from the Lumpy Ridge trailhead is Gem Lake which is 1.6 miles each way and features panoramic views and a small, pretty lake.
Cub Lake – trailhead elevation 8,080 ft
The 2.5 mile hike to Cub Lake begins in the Moraine Valley at the Cub Lake trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike is peaceful and scenic. The Big Thompson river winds through the valley and mountains tower in the distance.
fern lake – trailhead elevation 8,155 ft
The Fern Lake trailhead leads to Arch Rocks (1.2 miles/way), The Pool (1.7 miles/way) and Fern Falls (2.6 miles/way). A highlight of this hike is the nearly constant view of the Big Thompson River.
Hermit park – trailhead elevation 8,200 ft
Hermit Park is located just outside of Estes Park on Highway 36. This area is not part of the national park, so dogs are allowed on the trail.
Upper Beaver Meadows – Elevation 8,290 ft
Enjoy views of surrounding mountains including Longs Peak and the sweet smell of Ponderosa pine trees as you walk along the trail.
Hollowell Park – Elevation 8,300 Ft
If you are looking for a less crowded area of the park, Hollowell Park is an alternative starting point to popular destinations like Cub Lake.
Wild Basin – Elevation 8,390 ft
Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin Area is the setting for some of our favorite waterfall hikes. Located 19 miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7, the Wild Basin is more remote.