Estes-Park.com Blog

Hiking Lily Mountain Trail with a Dog

My family was looking for a nice hike we could do with our 8 and 9 year old children and our dog.  Dogs are not allowed on the trails within Rocky Mountain National Park, however the Lily Mountain Trail is just outside the park in the Roosevelt National Forest.  This made it an ideal hike for our family to take together.  It was a very sunny day in mid-March with a lot of wind.  

There aren't many parking spots at the Lily Mountain Trailhead - it can only accommodate 10 or so cars.  If there isn't any parking available at the trailhead, you can drive about 400 yards up the road and park in the Lily Mountain Lake parking lot and then walk down the road to the trailhead.  

 

Lily-Mountain-Trailhead

 

The path was mostly out of the wind with a majority winding among the pine trees, leaving glimpses of Twin Sister's.

 

Lily-Mountain-Trail-view-Twin-Sisters

 

There were several parts of the path that didn't have snow, especially towards the beginning of the trail, however the further up we got the more snow there was on the ground.  If you go in early spring, it's definitely helpful to have poles and good shoes.

 

Lily-Mountain-Trail-Snow-Dog

 

At the top of the trail, the last few feet, you have to scramble up a bunch of boulders.  

 

Lily-Mountain-Boulders-at-Top

 

The 360° view from the top is definitely worth the hike.  It took our family about 4.5 hours round-trip, with lots of stops along the way for the kids to play and catch their breath.  Below are pictures taken from the top of the Twin Sisters, Estes Cone & Long's Peak, and Lake Estes.

 

Lily-Mountain-Twin-Sisters-From-Top

 

Lily-Mountain-view-Estes-Cone-Longs-Peak

 

Lily-Mountain-Trail-view-Lake-Estes

Upper Beaver Meadows in the Winter

A great easy hike in winter is the Upper Beaver Meadows hike.  There are two different routes you can take (or you can take one each way):  the road is 1.6 miles to get to the parking area at the west end of Beaver Meadows... 

 

Upper Beaver Meadows in Winter start

Upper Beaver Meadows in Winter Longs Peak

 

... or you can take the trail which is 1.5 miles and crosses the stream and runs along the south side of the meadow at the base of the moraine.  

 

Upper Beaver Meadows Stream

Upper Beaver Meadows Pine Trees

 

Once at the west parking area, you can take trails leading to either Moraine Park (which is 2.7 miles) or Trail Ridge Road and the Ute Meadow campsites (which is 6.5 miles).

Upper Beaver Meadows view

 

If you take the road, you will cross a picnic area (about 1.1 miles in) and then a trailhead which takes you to Deer Ridge Junction.  

 

Upper Beaver Meadows Winter Picnic Area

 

If it has recently snowed, it would be a good idea to bring along snowshoes.  The snow can melt quickly on many sections of the trail, but there can be sections where it hasn't melt and the wind blows it into big drifts which are quite hard to cross without snowshoes.  

The Upper Beaver Meadows trail is easy to get to and has beautiful views.  It's definitely a hike worth exploring.