Autumn in the Estes Valley is a great time to visit, with cooler temperatures, the elk rut, and of course, fall colors. These brilliant leaves can add a new dynamic to an already wonderful hike. Reminder: pets are not allowed on trails in the national park. Each hike on this list is inside the national park. Here's the Top 5 Trails to Hike with your Dog, if your furry friend would like to join the leaf-peeping! Reservations in RMNP are needed from May 28 to October 11, 2021.
Gem Lake – Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
Not only does the Gem Lake trail offer a path through the aspen groves, it also gives a panoramic view of the Estes Park lookout over the entire valley and Longs Peak.
Bierstadt Lake - Bear Lake Trailhead to Park ‘N Ride
This point-to-point hike offers beautiful hints of color as you walk through a forested area and final view across Bierstadt Lake to Long's Peak and the Continental Divide.
The Pool – Fern Lake Trailhead - 3.4 mi round trip
Enjoy the soundtrack of the Big Thompson River as you hike through the aspens, eventually arriving at The Pool, the location where the Big Thompson meets Fern Creek.
Glacier Creek – Bear Lake Trailhead to Sprague Lake Trailhead
Start at Bear Lake and enjoy a mostly downhill stroll through close forest, then take the shuttle at Sprague Lake to your car.
Sprague Lake – Sprague Lake Trailhead - 0.9 mi loop
While you take a short hike around the lake, enjoy views of changing colors on the surrounding moraines.
North Deer Mountain Trail – Deer Mountain Trailhead - 6.2 mi round trip
Deer Mountain is an opportunity to bag yourself a summit while enjoying beautiful vistas of the Fall River Valley, Mummy Range, and golden aspens.
Estes Cone – Long’s Peak Trailhead - 6 mi round trip
The hike to Estes Cone is a majority of lower elevation hiking through varied terrain, like aspen and pine forests, and past the Eugenia mine, and holds a steep last portion. Your work will be rewarded with views of Long's Peak, Mt. Meeker, the Continental Divide, the Mummy Range, and a view of the Estes Valley.
Ouzel Falls – Wild Basin Trailhead - 5.4 mi round trip
Ouzel Falls isn't the only attraction on this hike through the forest. You also get to see Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascade along the way. All while enjoying the vibrant autumn colors.
Twin Sisters – Twin Sisters Trailhead - 7.0 mi round trip
Hike up Twin Sisters Peak to views dominated by Longs Peak flanked by the Continental Divide.
Mills Lake – Glacier Gorge Trailhead - 5.3 mi round trip
On this hike, you will pass Alberta Falls, a popular destination surrounded by aspen groves. You will also have great views over other changing forests from a distance on this hike.
These hiking tips are courtesy of Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Rocky Mountain Conservancy provides regularly scheduled educational adventures and bus tours for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park, topics include Trail Ridge Road and Elk Expeditions, backpacking/hiking, birding, photography, wildflowers, wildlife, geology, history, astronomy, kid’s geocaching and more!