Top 9 snowshoeing trails in Estes Park
Did you know that early spring can bring some of our best snow? And around here, we don’t let the snowfall interfere with our outdoor recreation! Snowshoeing is a great way to explore Rocky Mountain National Park’s trails and is a family-friendly activity that’s open to all skill levels. Plus, we offer free snowshoe rental to our guests so there’s no excuse not to try it! Plan to add snowshoeing to your to-dos in Estes Park this March and April.
- Bear Lake Loop: This trail is great for trying out your snowshoes and in the early spring, you’ll still want to arrive early to get a parking spot at the super popular parking lot! It’s only .6 miles long but has great views of the lake and Hallett Peak! It’s a relatively flat trail as well so no major elevation gains or losses.
- Nymph Lake: Another trail off the Bear Lake Trailhead is Nymph Lake and it’s a perfect trail for new snowshoe adventurers. It’s a half-mile hike from the trailhead but hikers are protected from the wind by the trees!
- The Pool: An easy five-mile (roundtrip) hike with only 200 feet in elevation change. The trailhead is where the road closes on Moraine Park Road and you’ll look for signs leading to Fern Lake Trailhead. The hike passes by frozen waterfalls and Arch Rocks and takes you to The Pool, the confluence point of Spruce and Fern Creeks with the Big Thompson River.
- Upper Beaver Meadows: Another easy three-mile roundtrip hike with only 140 feet of elevation change. There are two trails available at the parking lot but you can turn this trail into a loop and hike both or only snowshoe on one trail. Without much change in elevation, the views are limited to the stream, meadows, and wildlife sightings but it is still an excellent beginners’ trail. If there isn’t much snow, hiking boots with microspikes will work as well!
- Cub Lake: Just less than five miles roundtrip, this moderate hike has a wonderful landscape if you’re looking for views or spots to take photographs during your hike. Streams, rivers, and cliffs are some of the sights you can enjoy off this easy to find trail.
- Chasm Falls: A fun snowshoe adventure waits with Chasm Falls as your trail! At five miles, you’ll only experience about 400 feet in elevation change but this hike is still labeled as a moderate hike. Just off of Old Fall River Road, you’ll pass by cabin remains before reaching the spectacular falls. Please navigate this area carefully as the ice formations are stunning but they can also be very dangerous.
- Deer Mountain: A tougher trek but the payoff is the amazing view of the Continental Divide! You’ll experience over 1,000 feet in elevation change and the trail is six miles in total length. While it may not seem as snowy at the base, you might get your fill of snow on the switchbacks as you wind your way through the trees along the trail.
- Mills Lake: Off of the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Mills Lake is a more-challenging near six-mile trek designed for an experienced hiker or snowshoer. For more impressive views, hikers may want to hike The Loch off of Glacier Gorge Trailhead as it’s an additional 1,000 feet higher than Mills Lake.
- Black Lake: This trail is for experienced snowshoers and runs a full 10 miles roundtrip! If you have the technical snowshoeing experience, the fantastic views of the lake and several peaks at the end are worth the day’s outing.
Like with hiking in the summer, it’s important to be prepared before starting your journey. That’s no less true in spring as we’re experiencing drastically changing weather. Dress in layers, wear warm and waterproof boots, and bring plenty of water and healthy snacks. Though you may get warm from snowshoeing, frostbite can still be a real danger to your extremities so keep them covered and protected. When we get larger snowfalls, it’s best to use ski poles or instep crampons to help you through the snow. And don’t forget your map! Many trails look different when they’re covered in snow so keep your whereabouts in mind.
Ready to snowshoe through Estes Park this spring? We’ve got a cabin with your name on it and would love for you to enjoy savings on your spring vacation by reminding you to check our specials before you book!