There are so many great hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. But some have a combination of jaw-dropping vistas, wildlife, lakes and waterfalls, fishing, and of course wildflowers, that make them rise to the top of our list:
Mills Lake — the most beautiful lake in the park (seriously tough people continue on the Black Lake — if only to see Ribbon Falls.)
Ouzel Falls — pretty easy and the treat at the end of the hike is the Falls which are usually spraying mist. We sit in it to cool off.
Lake Hiayaha — the SUPER ROCKY terrain is treacherous, but it is cool to see. Sites include a pine tree that some people claim is the oldest in RMNP. I can’t imagine how that could be substantiated, but it is fun to believe.
Loch Vale — hate the switch backs, but wonderful views and great fishing. If you continue on to Lake of Glass (don’t be the hiker that thinks this little spit of water is Sky Pond) and Sky Pond, be warned that you need to climb up (and down!) a scary waterfall. I did it in my 40s. I have nothing to prove in my 50s.
Bear Lake to Bierstadt Trailhead. All down hill (except for the first 1/2 mile) so don’t be a dunce and do it the other way! Best in the fall when the Aspens are bright gold.
Bear Lake to Fern Lake Trailhead. A long, difficult day. Bring lots of food and water. Expect some breathtaking views and many pikas. Possibly my favorite hike.