With springtime bringing some of the best snow in Colorado, now is the time to hit the trails! Snowshoeing in Estes Park is one of the more popular activities amongst locals, and we wanted to share some of the best trails to explore while on vacation. Rated from beginner to expert, check out our favorite local snowshoeing trails that are sure to make your stay in the Rockies memorable.
Bear Lake Loop
Bear Lake Loop is the perfect trail for the novice snowshoer. At only a 0.7-mile loop and hardly any elevation gain this trail is perfect for those looking to test their snowshoeing skills. With views of Bear Lake and Hallett Peak you don’t have to venture too far for picturesque mountain views. Be sure to arrive early to grab a parking spot, as this is one the more popular trails in the park.
Alberta Falls is a great beginner trail that is good for all skill levels. This 1.6 mile, out and back trail, featuring a 30 ft. waterfall, begins at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Alternating between a mix of pine forest and aspen groves, the waterfall is reached almost one-mile in. At which point hikers can decide to extend the hike by heading up to Mills Lake, making this a 2.8-mile RT hike.
Emerald, Dream and Nymph Lake Trail
Just off Bear Lake Trailhead is access to several more alpine lakes, such as Emerald Lake, Dream Lake, and Nymph Lake. With just a short distance from the Bear Lake Trailhead, this extension provides almost instantaneous scenic gratification for all hikers alike. Along the trail you will be treated to views of majestic peaks including Flattop Mountain, Hallet Peak, and Glacier Gorge, making this trail a favorite amongst locals.
Lily Mountain Trail
Lily Mountain trail is a 4-mile, out and back trail, just off the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail offers panoramic views of Twin Sisters Peak, Longs Peak, Hallet Peak, Flattop Mountain, and many more iconic mountains of Colorado. Due to its heavy use, the trail is often very well packed and depending on snow levels you may not even need snowshoes.
Heading back to the Glacier Gorge area, you will find Sky Pond, which is a 8.4 mile, out and back trail, with an elevation gain of 1,683 ft. A bit strenuous, this trail offers trekkers some of the best views in Rocky Mountain National Park. From waterfalls, alpine lakes, glaciers and views of Taylor Powell Peaks, this is a scenic hike that won’t disappoint.
Deer Mountain is a 5.9 mile, out and back trail, that brings panoramic views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter snowfall makes this trail slightly harder to navigate but topping out at only 10,000 ft., Deer Mountain is a great way to gain the alpine experience and views without having to reach extreme elevation.
As you plan for your Rocky Mountain snowshoe adventure be sure to come prepared with plenty of warm clothes, multiple waterproof layers and plenty of water. And if you would rather hit the trails with an expert guide, there are local outdoor outfitters that offer guided snowshoeing experiences.