Trail Snapshot: Arch Rocks in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Hike Distance: 3 miles Round Trip (from Fern Lake TH)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: Approx 1.5 to 2hr Round Trip
- Trail Type: Out and Back
- Starting Elevation: 8155′
- Elevation Gain: +245′
- Seasons: Spring through Fall
- Dogs: Dogs Prohibited in RMNP
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Trail Map
- Denver Drive Time: 1 hr 40 min
- Driving Directions to Fern Lake Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Driving Directions to Fern Lake Bus Stop Parking: Click for Google Map
- Driving Directions to Park & Ride Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Estes Park, Colorado
- Beauty: Sub-alpine lakes, mountain views, river, wildflowers, aspen trees, ponderosa pine, wildlife: Abert’s squirrel, elk, deer, moose, duck
- Activities: Picnicking, hiking trails, snowshoeing
- Fee: Park Pass Required
Parking & Trailhead Information for Arch Rocks in RMNP
The Hike: Arch Rocks in RMNP
It’s a short destination hike along the Big Thomspson river to Arch Rocks. Arch Rocks was actually my very first destination on my very first hike in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2004. I camped at the backcountry site that is just a bit further up the trail, nestled back in the aspens and boulders that are so characteristic in this valley.
At approx 1.5 mile a huge rock, the size of a house, arches over the trail. In centuries past, this rock sheered off from the towering cliffs above and tumbled down to this spot. It’s difficult to get a good photo of Arch Rocks and to really capture it’s size. If you can get down-trail, and a bit below it, you’ll have a better chance.
If you want to make your hike a bit longer, the next destination along the Fern Lake trail is The Pool–just .2 mile further–where Fern Creek and the Big Thompson River collide.
Tips & Resources for Hiking to Arch Rocks in Rocky Mountain National Park
- TIP: It is advisable to arrive early as parking is limited. One may opt to ride a shuttle that drops you off at the trailhead.
- Bring some food: The rocks near the Big Thompson River can be a great place for picnics.
- Trail Map for Rocky Mountain National Park: Trail Map Link
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Charlie Stein for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike to Arch Rocks in RMNP.
- After the Hike: Baba’s Burgers & Gyros
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions