Rocky Mountain Hikes Under 2 Miles

Bear Lake Loop
location: Rocky Mountain National Park (RNMP)
trailhead/parking: Bear Lake has a ranger station, non-flushing toilets and waste receptacles. There is a large parking lot that fills up quickly. Bear Lake is also a shuttle stop on the Bear Lake Route which is open May 27-October 9 and stops every 10-15 minutes from 7am to 7:30pm
distance: .5 mile loop
elevation start: 9,475 ft
elevation gain: 20 ft
level of difficulty: this hike is ideal for all ages and skill levels, but the elevation is enough to take your breathe away if you aren’t acclimated. There are benches placed around the path to enjoy a moments rest and take in the scenery.
landmarks: views of Hallett Peak make the perfect family photo opportunity

Nymph Lake
location: RMNP
trailhead/parking: Bear Lake
distance: .5 miles each way
elevation gain: 225 ft
level of difficulty: my toddler would not make it far on this hike because it starts out with a pretty steep incline so we use a child carrier.
landmarks: known for pond lilies

Nymph

Alberta Falls
location: RMNP
trailhead/parking: Glacier Gorge has a small parking lot and is serviced by the Bear Lake route shuttle, you can also reach the falls via Bear Lake TH (add .1 miles each way)
distance: .8 miles each way
elevation start: 9,180 ft
elevation gain: 160 ft
level of difficulty: I don’t think my toddler could make it all the way and back on this hike plus I’d worry about her getting too close to the edge of a rushing water fall, so we bring a child carrier.
landmarks: The impressive falls are beautiful year-round. This is a must see attraction in the park.

Alberta Falls
Sprague Lake Loop
location: RMNP
trailhead/parking: Sprague Lake has parking, camping spots, picnic tables, non-flushing toilets and waste receptacles. It is a shuttle bus stop on the Moraine Park Route which runs May 27-October 9 stopping ever half hour between 7 am and 7:30 pm.
distance: .5 mile loop
elevation start: 8,690 ft
elevation gain: 20 ft
level of difficulty: This flat hike is ideal for all ages and skill levels. My daughter walked around the trail when she was about one and a half with many detours to climb rocks, look at rocks and sit on benches along the path.
landmarks: great views of continental divide, we’ve spotted a lot of trout

IMG_5161

Copeland Falls:
location: Rocky Mountain National Park in the Wild Basin Area located approximately 19 miles south of Estes Park on highway 7
trailhead/parking: the Wild Basin area is more remote than other areas of the park. Drive down narrow dirt roads to get to the Wild Basin trail head. There is no shuttle service in this area of the park.
distance: .3 miles each way
elevation start: 8,500 ft
elevation gain: 15 ft
level of difficulty: great for all ages and skill levels. Our toddler could walk most of the way, but we carry her in a child carrier or on our shoulders near the falls.
landmarks: lower and upper falls

Copeland Falls

Lily Lake Loop + Lily Ridge Trail
location: 6 miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7 right across the street from Twin Sisters TH (not to be confused with Lily Mountain which can be accessed about a quarter mile closer to Estes Park)
trailhead/parking: Lily Lake has a small parking area, non-flushing bathrooms and picnic tables.
distance: .8 miles round trip
elevation start: 8,930 ft
elevation gain: 8,940 ft
level of difficulty: The loop trail around the lake is flat with benches available for rest. If you choose to add on the Lily Ridge Trail which takes you up 100 ft in elevation and adds .4 miles to hike, the trail becomes slightly more difficult for smaller children to make on their own. The slight elevation gain is rewarded with wide open views of Twin Sisters, Estes Cone and Longs Peak. Another challenge we’ve come across on this hike in certain weather conditions is very strong, cold winds.
landmarks: Spot baby ducks, fox and wild flowers.
Lily Lake

 

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