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Spectacular Winter Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Winter brings deep snows to Rocky Mountain National Park west of the Continental Divide,  but the lighter snowfall on the east (Estes Park) side of the park often leaves low elevation trails open for hiking.

Trails below 8,700 feet (2,700 m) make great winter hikes, sometimes without the aid of skis or snow shoes.


Ten spectacular trails listed below make great winter hikes in RMNP:

1) The Pool    (5 mi.; 200 ft elevation gain)

2) Chasm Falls    (5 mi.; 400 ft elevation gain).  You’ll follow the gradual climb of Old Fall River Road up to the Falls.

3) Deer Mountain    (6 mi.; 1075 ft elevation gain).  Beautiful views of the Estes Valley from the top.

From the top of Deer Mountain


View from Deer Mountain Trail


Hiking in Winter


4) Gem Lake    (3.2 mi.; 1000 ft elevation gain)

5) Lily Lake    (1 mi.; flat)  Easy trail around the edge of the lake.

6) Upper Beaver Meadows    (3 mi.; 140 ft elevation gain)

7) Sprague Lake    (.5 mi.; flat)  Good place for beginners and kids to start, with incredible views across the lake.

8) Dream Lake    (2.2 miles to 9,900 ft;  425 ft elevation gain)  Good snowshoe tour.

9) Cub Lake    (4.6 mi.; 540 ft elevation gain)  Snowshoes may be needed the last mile or so.

10) Bierstadt Lake    (4.6 miles; 566 ft elevation gain) Good snowshoe tour.

Lodging Tips:

Find a perfect mountain cabin for your winter visit.

Trail Tips:

  • Even for short day tours, be sure to pack gear for all types of weather (sun, snow, wind), and don’t forget to bring sunscreen.
  •  You’ll also want to have water and high energy food along.  Hiking in winter can be more strenuous than in summer.
  • The weather changes fast, and strong winds are quite common in Rocky.   It is essential to wear or carry windproof clothing.
  • If the winds are over 40 mph, the chance for falling trees increases.  It might be a good day to stay home by the fire!
  • For icey spots, cleats or slip-on traction devices like micro-spikes for your hiking boots are very handy.


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