There are 30 miles of the 3,100-mile Continental Divide National Scenic Trail within Rocky Mountain National Park. Check with park rangers to find out about the current conditions on this montane and sub-alpine stretch of scenic trails.
Emerald, Dream, and Nymph Lakes Loop
A personal favorite hike that is popular in summer or in winter for snowshoeing is the 1.8-mile loop to Emerald, Dream, and Nymph Lakes. If you go in June or July, you are likely to see wildflowers on the 6.4-mile round-trip hike to Bridal Veil Falls.
Bluebird Lake Trail
A more difficult hike is on Bluebird Lake Trail to Ouzel Falls, Ouzel Lake, Calypso Cascades, and Bluebird Lake. It sounds odd to include a hike through a fire-damaged forest, but the reality is that the new growth and wildflowers are thriving in this recovering landscape. There are many waterfalls along the way, so you can choose to go just halfway and still see some amazing scenery.
Talk to park rangers before attempting a hike up Longs Peak, which has an elevation gain of over 5,000 feet in eight miles. The peak stands at a majestic 14,259 feet and can be seen outside of the park or from many other locales within the park. This is a technical climb, even on the “easiest” routes up, and people have died trying to reach the summit. Always check with rangers (970/586-1206) for the very latest conditions on the peak.
© Mindy Sink from Moon Denver, 1st Edition