Golden Gate Canyon State Park Hiking Trails

6 Hikes in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Located less than an hour from Denver and Boulder, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a remarkable treasure. The park offers over 30 miles of hiking trails and some of the most accessible backcountry camping opportunities near Denver. Golden Gate is full of seasonal creeks and wildflowers, as well as promontories that open out to views of the snow-capped and lead-blue rock faces of the Rocky Mountains. The park is open year-round; however, during many years, snow may cover trails from as early as October through May. Explore this page to get familiar with several hike options and the camping facilities available in the Park.

raccoon loop trail golden gate canyon state park

Raccoon Loop Trail - Shaded and Family Friendly

Distance: 2.5 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

The Raccoon Loop Trail is an easy, 2.5-mile loop hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Because it's short and has a variety of scenery, the Racoon Loop makes for an enjoyable hike for families. Most hikes near Denver are quite exposed to the sun, but this hike offers a good deal of shade. The trail boasts panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, glades of aspen trees, wildflowers, and seasonal brooks.

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blue grouse trail golden gate canyon state park

Blue Grouse Trail - A Short Adventure

Distance: 1.6 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Blue Grouse Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park is another short hike of easy to moderate difficulty. If you are looking for a short adventure to gains views of green foothills and changing aspens, then this is for you. While not a spectacular hike, the Blue Grouse trail is easy to access and can be used as an access point to other trails and camping sites available in the park.

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forgotten valley trail golden gate canyon state park

Forgotten Valley Hike - Homestead Ruins

Distance: 3 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty: Moderate

A favorite destination hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, hikers can put together a segment of the Burro Trail and Mountain Lion trail to access this old homestead and pond situated in Forgotten Valley. Nearby are several reservable campsites and a backcountry shelter, making this area a perfect place to camp before exploring the many miles of trails in the park.
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horseshoe trail golden gate canyon state park

Horseshoe Trail to Frazer Meadow

Distance: 3.6 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Another trail to some of Golden Gate Canyon's camping areas, this out-and-back trail takes hikers through Greenfield Meadows and terminates at Frazer Meadow. Much of the trail follows alongside a seasonal creek that runs through the main valley. Aspen trees, meadows, wildflowers, and shaded trail segments are all highlights of this hike in the heart of the park.

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beaver loop trail golden gate canyon state park

Beaver Loop Trail

Distance: 2.8 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

The Beaver Loop trail can be picked up right from the visitor center at Golden Gate. It is a 2.8-mile loop with an out-and-back option of hiking over to Slough Pond. While it's a short hike, it requires about 1000' of elevation gain, making it a more demanding hike. Like so many of the hikes in Golden Gate, the Beaver Loop offers a beautiful panorama of distant, snow-capped mountains in the west.

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windy peak trail golden gate canyon state park

Windy Peak Trail - A Great Vantage Point

Distance: 6.4 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Another great destination hike, the way up to Windy Peak combines a few trails to create a loop hike with a spur trail leading to the top of Windy Peak. Windy Peak is an incredible vantage point for taking in the snow-capped Rockies and western skies. The eastern segment of this hike is replete with wildflowers during the summer.

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Camping in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Golden Gate Canyon offers a variety of camping options, making the park a great place for those new to backpacking to test their equipment and to get a feel for what a longer trip into the mountains might require. Families looking to try out camping for the first time can car-camp or hike short distances to some of the backcountry sites. All sites require reservation and a Colorado State Parks Pass. There are less demanding options such as cabins and yurts available. All sites, cabins, and campsites can be booked at the Colorado State Park's reservation page. Here's a quick overview of the camping options at Golden Gate Canyon State Park:

  • 20 Backcountry Campsites: Brochure and Map of Backcountry Sites
  • 5 Cabins: Located at Reverend's Ridge, no hike in required, year-round, max occupancy of 6, heated, electricity, water and restrooms nearby, showers available in Summer season
  • 2 Yurts: Located at Reverend's Ridge, No hike-in required, year-round, max occupancy of 6, heated, electricity, water and restrooms nearby, showers available in Summer season
  • 97 Campsites at Reverend's Ridge: No hike-in or short walk required, accommodates campers, trailers, and some RV spaces, limited sites available during Winter months, max occupancy of 6 per site, water and restrooms nearby, showers available in Summer season
  • 35 Campsites at Aspen Meadows: Tent camping only, closed during Winter months, max occupancy of 6 per site, water pump and vault toilets
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Windy Peak Hike in Golden Gate Canyon

Windy Peak is a summit hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. A moderate to difficult 6.4-mile loop hike that follows meltwater creeks, crosses green meadows replete with wildflowers, and offers great views at the summit of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the West. Explore the full Windy Peak Hike profile for trail map, driving directions, and many of the details you need to enjoy this adventure in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Trail Snapshot: Windy Peak in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Bridge across Ralston Creek at Bridge Creek Trailhead in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Parking & Trailhead Information for the Windy Peak Hike

From Denver, take US-6 West to Golden. Just outside Golden, US-6 will turn left (West) into Clear Creek Canyon; it's at this intersection that you'll continue North (not turning left) on 93. After 1.3 miles on 93, turn left onto Golden Gate Canyon Road. Now, prepare for the rest of your drive being pretty windy. About 4 miles down Golden Gate Canyon Road, you have the option of taking Crawford Gulch road to the Right or to stay on Golden Gate Canyon Road. Both routes will get you there.

I believe that Google Maps from Denver is going to default to Crawford Gulch Road. Do take your time and be alert for cyclists and motorcycles, especially on the weekend, as both Golden Gate Canyon Road and Crawford Gulch Roads are popular roads for riding. Eventually, Crawford Gulch Road will turn into Drew Hill Road, which runs through the heart of Golden Gate Canyon State Park. If you decide to take the Golden Gate Canyon Road option, it will intersect with Crawford Gluch/Drew Hill at the visitor center (on your right, just after the intersection on Crawford Gulch). If you take this route, the Bridge Creek Trailhead will be 2.3 miles down the road and on your left (north). One last thing to note is that Crawford Gulch Road has yet one more name, Ralston Creek Road. So, if you see that on any signage, just know you are on the right track.

The Bridge Creek Trailhead is a bit unusual because it's composed of several parking areas along the on the north side of the road. However, all parking areas have trails that will lead hikers to the footbridge that crosses the trail and serves as the official start of the Burro trail and this hike. A sign (pictured above) reads "Burro Trailhead."

The Hike: The Windy Peak Hike in Golden Gate Canyon

trail junction on burro trail in golden gate canyon

This is a Lollipop-loop trail with a spur trail at the end that leads up to the summit. There are several trail junctions, which can make this the route a bit confusing. I've provided photos below of the trail junctions, but it's important to remember that weather can change the landscape and signage. The description here hikes the loop portion of the trail in a clockwise direction. We've classified this as moderate/medium in difficulty. However, its right on the edge because of the over 1000' elevation gain and more than 5 miles of trail. For some, this will be difficult. It's also on our list of dog-friendly hikes, but it's important to know that the peak is all rocky terrain that may be a bit tough on your dog's paws. As always, if you are taking your best friend, be sure to keep them on a leash out of respect for the wildlife, environment, and other hikers.

creek along the burro trail

After crossing Ralston Creek, the trail makes its way up a gentle slope into the trees. At the first trail junction, stay on the Burro Trail (left). The second trail junction leads either straight on the Mountain Lion Trail to Forgotten Valley or right toward Windy Peak on the Burro Trail. The trail will make its way along a creek. Look for Calypso flowers, also called Pink Lady Slippers in this area. They grow along the creeks in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

trail junction on burro trail with orange arrow

The loop begins at the third junction (pictured above), the way up to Windy Peak is clearly marked as the left-hand trail. From this point, it's 2.2 miles to the peak. Here the trail begins a steeper climb through an area with prominent chalk colored cliffs.

chalk colored cliffs along the burro trail

As you gain altitude, you'll gain views out to the Continental Divide rising above the green foothills of Golden Gate. The trail will then enter the shade of lodgepole forest.

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At the top of the loop, hikers will encounter the junction for the .7 mile spur trail that leads to the summit of Windy Peak (pictured below). There will be one more sign pointing the way at 0.4-mile below the summit.

spur trail sign for Windy peak along Burro Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

The summit of Windy Peak is one of my favorite places to read and journal. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch with you, because you'll want to spend some time here resting and refueling for the hike back to the trailhead. The spur trail will lead back to the main Burro loop trail. At this point, you can return the way you hiked in to the spur trail (a slightly shorter way back), or continue on the rest of the loop toward Nott Creek. The landscape on this back end of the loop is riddled with wildflowers, so it's well worth doing the full loop hike.

windy peak golden gate canyon state park another summit view

The trail will weave its way down into a valley with a dirt service road. Here, hikers will want to follow the Burro trail towards the Bridge Creek Trailhead as it makes its way on and off the service roads.

Trail junction with aspen trees in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

The trail will work its way through a green meadow, then along Nott creek, following it West until retracing the trails that lead back to Bridge Creek Trailhead.

green meadows with trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Windy Peak

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old sawmill ruins at meyer homestead in boulder colorado

Meyers Homestead Hike in Walker Ranch

The Meyers Homestead Hike located in Walker Ranch is an almost perfect family hike near Boulder, Colorado. This 5.2-mile out-and-back hike travels through Meyers Gulch, past the remnants of a historic homestead, to an overlook offering panoramic views of Boulder Canyon and the snowcapped mountains of Indian Peaks. It's a wide trail through meadows, stands of aspen, and punctuated by ponderosa pine and wildflowers. Explore the full Meyers Homestead hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this trail near Boulder.

Trail Snapshot: Meyer Homestead Hike Near Boulder

Parking & Trailhead Information for Meyers Homestead Trail

The drive to Meyers Homestead Trailhead starts on the Baseline Road in Boulder. Traveling West past Chautauqua Park, the road will turn into Flagstaff Road at the base of Flagstaff Mountain and begin a windy and steep ascent. The overall trip on Flagstaff Road to the trailhead is about 6.2 miles. The Myers Homestead Trailhead is located on the right (West) side of the road. Restrooms, picnic area, and interpretive signs are available at the trailhead.

The Hike: Meyers Homestead Trail

The hike starts from the Meyers Homestead Trailhead by taking the trail on the right marked with a sign that reads "Meyers Homestead Trail - 2.6 Miles One-Way." The initial trail segment descends into a broad meadow. Around just 1/4 mile into the trail, you'll spot the remnants of a sawmill, part of the original Meyer Homestead. There is a spur trail that leads to a mill. Once past the sawmill, the trail begins a very gradual ascent and follows a small seasonal creek into the Meyer Gulch.

meyers homestead trail walker ranch winter

Starting at around 1/2 mile in, the trail will begin to weave in and out of groves of aspens and ponderosa pine, providing intermittent shade on a hot summer day. The trail will eventually open to another large meadow before entering the final, wooded and steeper 1/2 mile. This segment of switchbacks leads to a small unnamed peak with a bench and overlook. Here, you can take in views of Sugarloaf Mountain, Indian Peaks, Longs Peak, and Boulder Canyon.

A great related hike is the Eldorado Falls hike that is also part of the Walker Ranch Trail system.

girl on trail with black dog in colorado mountains spruce tree in foreground and snow and evergreen trees in background

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Meyers Homestead Trail

  • TIP: Pause to read thee interpretative signs along the trail to indicate places that have historical and ecological significance.
  • Trail Map for Meyers Homestead Trail: Trail Map for Meyers Homestead Trail
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Ian W. Stearns for sharing such amazing photographs of this hike to Meyers Homestead.
  • After the Hike: The Parkway Cafe

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MacGregor Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

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Mohawk Lakes Hike Near Breckenridge

Mohawk Lakes are situated in the mountains south of Breckenridge, Colorado. Less than a 2-hour drive from Denver, this moderately demanding hike leads through pine and aspen forest, along a mountain stream, to a beautiful waterfall spilling over granite slabs. Breaking out above treeline at mile 3, hikers will arrive at Lower Mohawk Lake, and a bit further up the trail, can take in spectacular views of the neighboring mountain ranges at Upper Mohawk Lake. Explore the full Mohawk Lakes hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure near Breckenridge.

Trail Snapshot: Mohawk Lakes Trail near Breckenridge, Colorado

Parking & Trailhead Information for Mohawk Lakes Hike

From Breckenridge, follow CO 9 South to The Spruce Creek Road. This is found on the right/west approximately 2.5 miles from the south end of town (junction of Main and South Park Ave). The trailhead for this hike to Continental Falls is located approximately 1.1 mile up Spruce Creek Road.

cascade spilling out of Lower Mohawk lake
A Cascade Spilling out of Mohawk Lake

The Hike: Mohawk Lakes Trail

From the trailhead, hikers will follow the Spruce Creek trail, which is marked by blue diamond blazes painted on the trees along the trail. About 1/2 mile into the hike, the trail crosses Spruce Creek via a footbridge. Here the forest opens to provide views of Mt. Helen to the West. At approximately the 1.7 miles mark, the Spruce Creek trail intersects with the Wheeler Trail. At this junction, continue straight on Spruce Creek Trail.

At approximately 2 miles, the Spruce Creek trail joins up with a 4WD road for a short jaunt past a small dam, then reconnects with the Spruce Creek trail. At about 2.5 miles into the hike, the trail intersects with the Mayflower Lakes Trail. Proceeding left (southwest) will lead to Mohawk lakes and past a beautiful granite waterfall, Continental Falls. This segment of the trail is one of my favorites, as it leads past the ruins of a mining operation complete with cabins, mine shaft, and old mining equipment. Exercise caution around such areas as hikers have been been injured or lost their lives by entering mining shafts and adits. Take a moment to read the signage around these areas for details.

mohawk lakes breckenridge colorado old mine shaft along the trail
An Old Mine Shaft along the Trail

There are more cascades to taken in between Continental Falls and Lower Mohawk lake. At approximately the 3-mile mark, hikers will arrive at beautiful Lower Mohawk lake, surrounded by rugged mountainsides with the peak of Mt. Helen directly north of the center of the lake. The trail continues for about 0.3 miles and another 450' of elevation gain to Upper Mohawk Lake where you can take in the expansive views of Colorado's majestic Tenmile Range of the Rocky Mountains. Because this is an out-and-back trail, the way back to the trailhead is the reverse of the same trail hikers take to the lakes.

hiker with child at lower mohawk lake in Colorado mountains
At the shore of Lower Mohawk Lake

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Mohawk Lakes Trail

  • TIP: You will be hiking through alpine tundra, which is a fragile ecosystem. Be sure to stay on the trail and hike only on durable surfaces if you are hiking or fishing along the lakes.
  • TIP: There are mine ruins off trail nearby. Be careful as mines have been known to collapse and to produce poisonous gases.
  • Trail Map: Mohawk Lakes Trail near Breckenridge
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: The Crown

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Continental Falls Hike Near Breckenridge

Continental Falls crashes through cracks in the granite sides of the mountains near Breckenridge Colorado. It's a moderate 2.5 mile uphill hike to the base of the waterfall. The 1000+ feet of elevation gain require some bodily exertion, but it's worth the effort. Located on the eastern slopes of the Mosquito Range, waterfall finds its source in the high mountain Mohawk Lakes as they spill out into Spruce Creek and make their way down the mountainside. The trail boasts spectacular mountain views, lakes, and the ruins of an old mining operation. Explore the full Continental Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this hike near Breckenridge.

Trail Snapshot: Continental Falls Trail near Breckenridge, Colorado

Parking & Trailhead Information for Continental Falls Hike

From Breckenridge, follow CO 9 South to The Spruce Creek Road. This is found on the right/west approximately 2.5 miles from the south end of town (junction of Main and South Park Ave). The trailhead for this hike to Continental Falls is located approximately 1.1 mile up Spruce Creek Road.

The Hike: Continental Falls Trail

The hike up to Continental Falls follows the Spruce Creek Trail. It's marked with blue diamond blazes making the trail easy to find and follow. Just shy of a 1/2 mile into the hike, the trail will cross Spruce Creek via a footbridge. At this point, the forest opens up a bit to views of my Helen in the distant west.
About 1.7 miles into the hike, the Spruce Creek trail will intersect with the Wheeler Trail. At this junction, continue straight on Spruce Creek Trail. At approximately 2 miles, the Spruce Creek trail will join up with the 4WD road, for a short jaunt past a small dam, then will connect back in with the Spruce Creek trail.

trail up to continental falls near breckenridge

At about 2.5 miles into the hike, the trails reaches another junction. The left-hand trail leads up to Continental Falls and beyond to Mohawk Lakes. This segment of the trail is one of my favorites, as it leads past the ruins of a mining operation complete with cabins, mine shaft, and old mining equipment. Be sure to exercise caution and read the warning signs around such areas. At approximately 2.6 miles into the hike, the trail will arrive at Continental Falls. After taking in the waterfall, hikers often opt to go further up to gain incredible mountain peak and mountain range views at Mohawk Lakes.

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Continental Falls Trail

  • TIP: There is a mine ruins off trail nearby. Be careful as there is a warning sign that it could collapse and may produce dangerous gases.
  • Trail Map for Continental Falls: Trail Map
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: The Crown

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Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore our more than 50 Colorado Waterfall Hikes, our favorite Waterfall Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, or 7 Waterfalls within One Hour of Denver.


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Pear Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Pear Lake is a great destination for solitude, fishing, and mountain views. It's a 6.5 mile, demanding hike through some of the best wildflower country in Rocky Mountain National Park. After passing Finch Lake, the trail makes its way to the higher, Pear Lake where Copeland Mountain appears to shoot straight from its shores into the sky. Explore the full Pear Lake hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trail Snapshot: Pear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parking & Trailhead Information for Pear Lake

The hike to Pear Lake begins at the the Finch Lake Trailhead, located approximately 1/5th of a mile east of the larger Wild Basin Trailhead near Allenspark, Colorado. Because there is very limited parking at the Finch Lake Trailhead, most hikers will need to park at the Wild Basin Trailhead and add the 1000' feet of trail between the Wild Basin Trailhead and the Finch Lake Trailhead to their journey. There is an alternative approach via the Allenspark Trailhead. However, the route described in this trail profile will be from the Finch Lake Trailhead nearest to the Wild Basin Trailhead.

The Hike: Pear Lake Trail in RMNP

The hike up to Pear Lake is a steady climb through a forest of pine, aspen, spruce, and meadows laden with wildflowers. It's a demanding hike from the outset, coursing up a set of switchbacks to gain the ridge of a lateral moraine. After this initial east bearing segment, the trail turns back to the west begins a gentle descent through one of Rocky Mountain National Park's most stunning displays of wildflowers. Near the bottom of the moraine, near Fox Creek, the trail encounters its first junction. The the trail to the right/west leads towards both Finch and Pear lakes (the left/east trail leads to the Allenspark Trailhead). Climbing higher, the trail will pass an overlook with views of the distant mountain peaks of Pagoda, Meeker, and Chief's Head, as well as views of the greater Wild Basin area.

The next trail junction--at approx. 2.5 miles--has been named "Confusion Junction" because of its power to confound hikers. Pause and study the trail signage in order to choose the correct trail. The correct way is the trail labeled "Pear Lake" and/or "Finch Lake."

After approximately 1/4 mile, the trail passes through a burn area from the 1978 fire, which has made a good recovery and is now riddled with summer wildflowers. Continuing to work uphill, the trail makes several stream crossings before a descent to Finch lake, which begins at 3.8 miles. Then, at approximately 4.25 miles, the trail makes a hard right-turn. This part of the trail is often obscured by snow as late as as midsummer and early as the first signs of autumn.

At Finch Lake the trail wraps around the eastern edge, then the northern shore of the lake. The next segment of trail, from Finch Lake to Pear Lake is approximately 2 miles. These are steep and demanding. Winter snows last into the early months of summer. July brings an incredible display of wildflowers in both the forest and meadows, and the abundance of moisture and vegetation makes this broad valley a great place for viewing wildlife.

pear lake rocky mountain national park pear creek

The Rushing Stream of Pear Creek

At approximately 6 miles, the trail will cross pear creek. The forest then gives way to rock and eventually to Pear Lake. Pear Lake is enclosed by a ring of rock and mountain. The rugged rock and cliffs of Copeland Mountain come down to meet the northwestern shores. In the early hours of morning, the images Copeland Mountain and Ouzel peak can be seen mirrored in the lake.

Pear Lake is a great place to fish and is catch and release only. A fishing license is required and State and Park fishing regulations apply. There are two campsites near Pear Lake: Pear Creek (just below the lake), and Pear Lake Campsite. These backcountry camping sites can be reserved through the RMNP Backcountry Offices. Because this is such an extensive hike (13 miles roundtrip), camping may be a good option if you want to fish or explore the surrounding area.

Further exploration can be made of the Cony Creek drainage where a series of paternoster lakes lead up to the highest lake, Cony Lake. This area does not have maintained trails and requires hikers to have well-developed backcountry land navigation skills.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking to Pear Lake in RMNP

  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Fuel Your Body: It's a long and very demanding hike, so be sure to bring plenty of water and food for the trip.
  • Get there early: Parking lot might get full even early in the morning.
  • You’re in Bear Country: Black Bears live in the Wild Basin area and are active on the months of April through November. Be aware, dispose of your food responsibly, and don’t food or anything else with a strong scent in your vehicle.
  • Trekking Poles: For most hikes in RMNP, especially if you are traveling on unmaintained trails, we recommend using Trekking Poles. They take a lot of weight off the knees and help in navigating uneven terrain.
  • Trail Map for Wild Basin Area: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Shea Oliver for sharing such amazing photographs of this hike to Pear Lake in RMNP.
  • After the Hike: Rock Creek Tavern & Pizzeria

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lawn lake rocky mountain national park header

Lawn Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park follows the course of the Roaring River for 6.2 miles to a stunning high mountain lake with great fishing. This demanding hike takes adventurers into the heart of the Mummy Range, a lesser visited region of RMNP. Explore the full Lawn Lake hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trail Snapshot: Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parking & Trailhead Information for Lawn Lake

The hike to Lawn Lake begins at the Lawn Lake Trailhead. Several other destinations in this lesser visited section of RMNP known as the Mummy Range, can be accessed from the Lawn Lake Trailhead, including Ypsilon Lake, Ypsilon Falls, Chipmunk Lake, and the Spectacle Lakes. The parking area is located on Old Fall River Road, just north of the intersection of Old Fall River Road and Highway 34.

The Hike: Lawn Lake Trail in RMNP

The hike begins on a 1.4 mile stretch of the Lawn Lake trail before the intersection with the Ypsilon Lake Trail. This initial segment climbs a series of switchbacks. While it may be tempting to cut the switchbacks, they are there for a couple important purposes: to control erosion and to preserve your energy. Because this area of the park has been severely damaged by floods, it’s all the more important to stay the trail.

At approximately 1.4 miles, the Lawn Lake Trail meets with the Ypsilon Lake Trail. See the full trail profiles for Ypsilon Lake and Ypsilon Falls for exploring these destinations. At the junction, the way to the Lake passes by this junction, continuing straight/North on the Lawn Lake Trail
Here, the trail comes quite close to the gorge that overlooks Roariing River. There are areas of unstable terrain and hikers should take caution and stay away from the precarious edges of the gorge.

The trail begins a demanding climb up a series of switchbacks then returns to follow river. Three backcountry camping sites are located in this stretch, just after the confluence of Roaring River and Ypsilon Creek: Ypsilon Creek, Cutbank, and Golden Banner. At 5.6 miles, the Lawn Lake Trail meets up with the Black Canyon Trail. Here, the way to the Lake is left/North, and should be clearly marked by a sign at the junction. The Lake is about 1/2 a mile further up the trail.

There is another backcountry camping site at the Lake. This site and the others along the Lawn Lake trail can be reserved through the RMNP Backcountry Offices. Greenback Cutthroat trout are plenty in the Lake, so this makes for a great fly fishing destination in Rocky Mountain National Park. A fishing license is required and State and Park fishing regulations apply.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking to Lawn Lake in RMNP

  • Explore More: Crystal Lake is just about 1.5 mi further. You may opt to continue if you have energy to spare.
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Get there early: Parking may be somewhat limited as with many hikes in RMNP area and can get full even early in the morning.
  • Recommended Trail Map: We recommend the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map which indicates the location of the Upper Chipmunk Backcountry Camping Site, and provides topo information.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Chad Bowman for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike to Lawn Lake in RMNP.
  • After the Hike: Mountain Home Café

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Lyric Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lyric Falls is a beautiful stair-step waterfall that spills over the moss-covered granite slabs of Hunters Creek in Rocky Mountain National Park. A lesser-known waterfall, Lyric Falls requires a 3/4 mile segment on the unmaintained social trail that winds along Hunters Creek. Locating the falls may be a bit challenging and land navigation skills are needed for this hike in the Wild Basin area of RMNP. Explore the full Lyric Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trail Snapshot: Lyric Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parking & Trailhead Information for Lyric Falls

The Sandbeach Lake Trailhead is located off of County Road 84 near, just about 1/2 mile west from its junction with Highway 7. See the driving directions link above for the detailed route. The trailhead is across the street from the Wild Basin Lodge and Event Center. The trailhead has toilet facilities and parking capacity of about 25 cars (includes gravel side-lot).

The Hike: Lyric Falls Trail in RMNP

The first segment of the hike to Lyric Falls follows the Sandbeach Lake Trail for approximately 3.2 miles to the footbridge crossing Hunter's Creek. An indistinct social trail is located near the bridge on the east side of Hunter's creek. This second trail segment is 3/4 of a mile is unmaintained, which means that hikers should have a sufficient level of land navigation skills (map reading and proficiency with a compass/gps unit) to negotiate the terrain to Lyric Falls.

This .75 mile section follows the course of Hunter's Creek Northwest and uphill to the location of Lyric Falls. There is no marker for Lyric Falls, but it can be located on the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map of Rocky Mountain National Park. Hikers will likely hear several smaller cascades along the way. In the same way, the cascades of Lyric Falls will be heard before seen, and the sounds of its splash and spray will be the best way to locate the falls.

A meadow bright with wildflowers can be found just bit further up Hunter's Creek beyond Lyric Falls.

Campsites Along the Lyric Falls Trail

Stay overnight and explore the larger Hunter's Creek Drainage. There are several Backcountry Camping sites along the Sandbeach Lake Trail: Hole-in-the-Wall, Campers Creek, Beaver Mill, and Sandbeach Lake. These backcountry camping sites can be reserved through the RMNP Backcountry Offices. Staying overnight, hikers can then explore Lyric Falls, Sandbeach Lake, and this lesser hiked area of the Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking to Lyric Falls in RMNP

  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Recommended Trail Map: We recommend the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map which indicates the location of the Backcountry Camping Sites, and provides topo information, too.
  • Get there early: Parking is limited. Arrive early to secure a parking spot at the trailhead.
  • You’re in Bear Country: Black Bears live in the Wild Basin area and are active on the months of April through November. Be aware, dispose of your food responsibly, and don’t food or anything else with a strong scent in your vehicle.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Thomas Mangan for sharing such great photos of this hike to Lyric Falls in RMNP. Tom leads photography tours in Rocky Mountain National Park. Check out his site thomasmagan.com for details.
  • After the Hike: Meadow Mountain Cafe in Allenspark, Colorado

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Map & Driving Directions


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chasm falls rocky mountain national park header

Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park bursts through a chasm in Fall River where the rock funnels its waters into a narrow gorge. It's one of the more accessible waterfalls in RMNP, located about 100 yards off of Old Fall River Road. The only drawback is that parking fills fast. However, there are several parking and hike options that we detail in this trail profile. Explore the full Chasm Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trail Snapshot: Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parking & Trailhead Information for Chasm Falls

Parking is tricky for Chasm Falls. Depending on where you are able to park, the hike will be a 0.1 mile, 2.8 mile, or 4.8 mile round-trip hike. It's also important to know that Old Fall River Road is closed during the winter months from Nov 30th until the end of March. However, the dirt road gets a lot of traffic and needs a lot of maintenance; so, there may be Spring and Summer closures for repairs. For example, Fall River Road will not open to vehicles in 2016 until early July. We recommend that you visit the Rocky Mountain National Park Road Status page to plan your trip to Chasm Falls and your drive up Old Fall River Road. Below, you'll find the three different parking options

Parking Options for Chasm Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park

#1 - Pulloff Near Chasm Falls - 0.1 Mile Jaunt - Driving Directions
#2 - Endovalley Picnic Area Parking - 2.8 Mile Round Trip Hike - Driving Directions
#3 - West Alluvial Fan Parking Area - 4.8 Mile Round Trip Hike - Driving Directions

During the busy summer months, all of these parking areas fill fast. Dogs are typically not allowed in RMNP, but on certain days, they are allowed along Old Fall River Road as long as they are leashed. See the Old Fall River Road status page for days when dogs are allowed. The scenic drive up Old Fall River Road is half the adventure--but not for the faint of heart. It's a steep dirt road with no guardrails and lots of switchbacks. When the road is open, park visitors can drive it all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center, and take Trail Ridge Road back down into Estes Park, or take Trail Ridge Road over to the west side of the park in Grand Lake, Colorado.

The Hike: Chasm Falls Trail in RMNP

The hike from the pulloff along Old Fall River Road is well-marked with signs. The short trail of approx. 100 yards leads down stone steps and a steep dirt trail. The bottom of the trail opens to a viewing platform. Like the parking areas, the platform can get quite crowded during the busy summer months.

If hiking up Old Fall River Road from either Endovalley or West Alluvial Fall parking areas, be sure to be aware of vehicles as they make their way up and down the road. This this can be a great winter hike or snowshoe trip during the winter. Usually this means starting from the West Alluvial Fan parking area.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking to Chasm Falls in RMNP

  • Prepare: Bring water and high-energy food.
  • Winter Road Closure: The road is closed to cars during winter. You may opt to plan on a longer hike during this season - starting from the West Alluvial parking area.
  • Get there early: Parking may be limited at most of the trailheads in RMNP during the summer months. Go early to get a good spot. By early, we mean before 7:30 AM.
  • Trail Map of Fall River Area: 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 Tim Vo for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike to Chasm Falls in RMNP.
  • After the Hike: Mountain Home Café

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Map & Driving Directions


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Pulloff Near Chasm Falls

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