Easy Hikes

CURRENT TRAIL CONDITIONS REPORT
Easy hikes are less than 5 miles round trip

All of the hikes in this category are appropriate for any age and any ability. The distances listed are one-way in miles and the elevation is measured in feet. The family hikes are further divided between Handicap Accessible, Lakes, Trail, and Waterfall Hikes.

 

HANDICAP
ACCESSIBLE
                           

Bear Lake
(0.5 miles/20 feet)
  The trail is handicap accessible and circles one of the most photographed lakes. The backdrop can either be Hallett Peak or Longs Peak. There are many benches and rocks along the way for photo opportunities.   
Lily Lake
(0.8 miles/0 feet)
This handicap accessible lake begins in the Lily Lake parking lot. This is a wonderful hike at sunrise and sunset.
Sprague Lake
(0.5 miles/0 feet)

This handicap accessible trail traverses around the lake providing beautiful views of Storm Peak, Half Mountain, Thatchtop, Taylor Peak, Otis Peak, Hallett Peak, and Flattop Mountain.  Anglers and painters often surround the lake.

 

 

LAKES                

Gem Lake
(1.6 miles/1000 feet)

The trail climbs above the town and provides panaromic views of the Estes Valley. Several rock outcropping along the trail make stopping along the way impossible to avoid. The trail switchbacks and leads past “Paul Bunyon’s Boot”, a rock formation in the shape of a boot with a hole in the sole. The lake itself is nestled at the top of a ridge with a large wall for the backdrop. The lake is shallow, only about 5 feet deep, with a sandy beach-like edge.

Lake Haiyaha
(2.1 miles/745 feet)

This glacier lake sits in a bowl of rocks which provide plenty of sitting space for lunch. The usual access for this destination starts at Bear Lake and follows up past Nymph and turns just before Dream Lake. A quick switchback from Dream Lake leads through the trees to Lake Haiyaha, which is nestled below Hallett Peak.

Nymph                             
(0.5 miles/225 feet); Dream
(1.1 miles/425 feet);
Emerald Lakes
(1.8 miles/605 feet)
This is a great first hike for families. The hike begins at Bear Lake and is one of the most popular. The trail is paved to Nymph Lake, which is covered with Lily Pads. The trail gently climbs up through a grove of aspen and provides a beautiful view overlooking Nymph Lake with Longs Peak in the background. Dream Lake stretches for 0.2 miles as it sits below Hallett Peak. The trail continues to rise above Dream Lake to Emerald Lake which lies in a serene ampitheatre with Hallett Peak towering above. 

 

 

TRAILS     

 
ArchRocks                             
(1.4 miles/70 feet);
The Pool
(1.7 miles/245 feet)
                                                  

The trail follows the Big Thompson as it gently flows through the trees. Suddenly large boulders soaring over 30 feet appear to surround the path forming an arch-like pattern over the trail. Continue along for a short distance to The Pool. The destination is a good place for a snack among the rocks by the water.

Lily Mountain
(1.8 miles/1006 feet)
                    by www.summitpost.org
                 

This is a short steep hike to the summit of Lily Mountain.The hike starts at the Lily Mountain trail head, which is located off of CO 7. The summit is only 0.5 miles from the trailhead, but the long switchbacks lengthen the hike to help alleviate the steepness of the hike. Despite this, experienced hikers still find this “easy” hike more moderate. Spectacular 360° views await those who make it through the short rock scramble to the small summit.

Tombstone Ridge
(1.9 miles/282 feet)

by www.protrails.com
Tombstone Ridge is a large tundra region lying next to Trail Ridge Road. This hike meanders through the tundra and is particularly aromatic when in full bloom. The parking lot is small, so arrive early
Toll Memorial
(0.5 miles /200 feet)

by kevingong.com
 This short hike begins at the Rock Cut and ascends to Toll Memorial, which provides panoramic views of the mountains with a large metal peak finder. This hike can be difficult given that elevations are above 12,000 feet.

 

 

WATERFALLS   

                                          
Alberta Falls
(0.8 miles/160 feet)   
  Trail starts from either the Glacier Gorge Trail Head or Bear Lake Trail Head. This is one of the grandest waterfalls in the park as well as one of the most accessible. The trail passes through a grove of aspen which colors the trail yellow in the fall. Alberta Falls is one of the most popular trail destinations in the park. It can be quite crowded but there is room to climb the rocks next to the falls.
Copeland Falls
(0.3 miles/15 feet);
Calypso Cascades
(1.8 miles/700 feet)

A short trail follows the North St. Vrain Creek leading to Upper and Lower Copeland Falls. The trail climbs a bit through the forest to Calypso Cascades. There are plenty of places to view the falls as you cross several wooden bridges.

West Creek Falls
(2.4 miles/320 feet net elevation gain)
 

This trail starts at the Cow Creek Trail Head and proceeds to climb a ridge, descend, and climb again. Therefore the total elevation gain is closer to 900 feet. This is a small waterfall and not as popular as the others, so the trail can be lonely. However the falls are quite beautiful.