Rocky Mountain Resorts 18

8 Challenging Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Calling all expert hikers! It’s time to hit the trails with our favorite challenging hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

1. Hallett PeakGenerally rated as strenuous, hikers gain stunning mountain views that make it well worth it. Reaching a height of 12,713 feet, the trail begins at Bear Lake, which starts at 9,475 feet. Hikers will be met with spectacular views of Longs Peak, the Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Peak, and Head Peak. This is an out and back, 10.3-mile trail.

2. Chasm Lake

Arguably one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Chasm Lake is part of the trail system that takes you up to Longs Peak. Packed with panoramic views, alpine terrain, and jagged peaks, hikers will soon understand why this trail is so popular. Once at the lake stop for a moment and gaze up at the “Diamond”, the east-facing side of Longs Peak that soars 2,400 feet above the lake. Total distance is 8.5 miles with 2,500 feet in elevation gain.

3. Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail - Don’t skip the drama and take advantage of dramatic views of Sky Pond’s sheer cliff walls that surround this alpine lake. And to distract along the way, hikers will come across two different waterfalls and two other lakes. As you reach the top you will be surrounded by sheer cliff walls and eye-catching peaks like Taylor Peak and Powell Peak.

4. Bluebird Lake Trail - As hikers make their way up to Bluebird Lake they will pass by three different waterfalls, dense forests, and a flowing river. The star of this hike is, of course, Bluebird Lake that sits beneath Ouzel Peak along the Continental Divide. The distance of 12.6 miles and 2,490 feet in elevation gain are what makes this hike so challenging.

5. Twin Sisters Peak

For astounding views of various mountain summits like Longs Peak, Mt, Meeker, and Taylor Peak head out on Twin Sisters Peak trail. The name comes from the twin peaks hikers encounter once they reach tree line. Once at the saddle, hikers will come across a stone hut and a radio communicator, still used for locating lost hunters and downed aircraft. At a moderate distance of 7.5 miles, out and back, a challenge is added with an elevation gain of 2,516 feet.

6. The Keyhole on Longs Peak

Reach the peak of your hiking adventure and head up to Rocky Mountain National Park’s only fourteener, Longs Peak. Put your lungs to the test and discover majestic mountain views, alpine lakes, and rugged alpine terrain. With 12.4 miles of trail and over 4,000 feet in elevation, this summit is only meant for experienced adventurers. Do not attempt this hike if this is your first fourteener.

7. Mt. Chapin, Mt. Chiquita, and Ypsilon Mountain

They say good things come in threes. Known as the “CCY” route, take on the challenge of summiting three 13,000-foot peaks in one day, Mt. Chapin, Mt. Chiquita, and Ypsilon Mountain. Venture up to some of the highest peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park and gain panoramic views and challenging terrain. There’s a lot to see in 8.3 miles of trail, evident by the 3,100 feet in elevation hikers will gain summiting these peaks.

8. Mount Ida

Be prepared for harsh weather conditions on this mighty trek up to Mount Ida. Starting at the Poudre Lake Trailhead, hikers will soon reach the open tundra after just a few miles of hiking. With the last several miles being rugged terrain, it might require some off-trail trekking. Come prepared to start early for this hike and dress for unpredictable weather. Distance is 9.6 miles with 2,465 ft. in elevation gain.

With our accommodations, just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, view our specials, book your stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts and start planning your hiking adventures today!

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