With over two thousand lakes throughout Colorado, you can fill every weekend with a new expedition. We are on a mission to profile as many Colorado lake hikes as we can. Our favorites are the high mountain paternoster lakes. These are a series of tiered lakes connected by mountain streams, each lake spilling into the other, creating cascades and waterfalls along the way. Rocky Mountain National Park is full of these. Explore the trail profiles below and come back as we add more lake hikes near Denver.

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Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Black Lake is among the most spectacular lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The journey to Black Lake is a strenuous, 10 mile, round-trip hike with significant elevation gain--but both the destination of Black Lake and the several waterfalls along the way make it more than worth the effort. Explore the full Black Lake hiking trail profile for trail map, ...
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jewel lake in rocky mountain national park lake in foreground with morning light breaking onto mountain in middle ground and tall grey craggy mountain in background

Jewel Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Jewel Lake is a 6.4 mile round-trip hike into Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike in RMNP takes you first past stunning Mills Lake. Less than half a mile beyond Mills you'll discover Jewel Lake under the shadow of the jagged eastern ridge known as Keyboard of the Winds. Explore the full Jewel Lake hiking trail profile ...
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reflection of keyboard of the winds in mills lake in rocky mountain national park

Mills Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike up to Mills Lake is a steady, uphill, 5.6 mile trek into the breathtaking Glacier Gorge trail system of Rocky Mountain National Park. You'll be entranced by spectacular views of mountain ridges, rugged peaks, and the color of wildflowers along the trail. Glacier Gorge provides surprises at almost every turn. Explore the full Mills Lake hike profile below ...
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bear lake with hallett peak in background in rocky mountain national park along 4 lakes and waterfall loop hike

Four Lakes and Waterfall Loop in Rocky Mountain National Park

This loop hike in Rocky Mountain National Park takes you to four beautiful, subalpine lakes and Alberta Falls, one of the parks most visited and photographed waterfalls. It's a moderate, 6.4 mile hike that will give you a great taste for the breathtaking scenery found in this treasure of our National Parks system. Explore the full hiking trail profile below ...
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Lake Haiyaha Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lake Haiyaha, in Rocky Mountain National Park, is tucked away in the recesses of a large valley, and its shoreline is surrounded by stacks of massive granite boulders. This relatively easy, 4.2 mile round-trip hike can be a quieter retreat on the busy east side of RMNP, especially if hikers arrive during the early morning hours. Explore the full Lake ...
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dream lake at sunrise in rocky mountain national park with mountain face of hallett peak in background

Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Dream Lake is one of the popular destination hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park--and for good reason. In the early morning hours, Dream Lake is a vision straight out of a fairy tale. This 2.2-mile, out-and-back hike begins at the Bear Lake trailhead, and passes Nymph Lake along the way. Explore the full Dream Lake hike profile ...
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Nymph Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Nymph Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

In Summer, Nymph Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park blooms with the yellow blossoms of the lily pads that cover its surface. It's a short easy hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead to Nymph lake. Most hikers will want to make the journey beyond Nymph to Dream and Emerald Lakes. Explore the full trail profile below for all the destinations ...
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jagged rock with green lake of sky pond snow fields and sun behind clouds sky pond hike in rocky mountain national park

Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park

Situated above Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park are two spectacular lakes. The highest of the two is Sky Pond, and the lower is called The Lake of Glass. This demanding hike begins at the Glacier Gorge trailhead and takes you past at least three waterfalls and a beautiful set of cascades. Rewards await those who hike all the ...
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The Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park

If lakes are your favorite destination, then the hike to The Loch should be added to your trail list in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a moderately difficult hike on the eastern side of the park where you can hike along the edge of the lake, fish for trout, or come early in the morning to photograph the iconic ...
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maroon bells reflected in crater lake near Aspen Colorado Maroon Bells Hikes

Ultimate Guide to Maroon Bells in Colorado

The Maroon Bells offer several hikes and some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado. It's a Rocky Mountain landscape painted with cascades, lakes, golden aspens, and all against the backdrop of the peaks of the Maroon Bells. This guide to the Maroon Bells features 5 different hiking trail options, spanning from easy hikes to moderately demanding. We've attempted to ...
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buffalo creek waterfall at wellington lake slide waterfall cascading over granite slab on hike near denver

Buffalo Creek Falls at Wellington Lake

This waterfall isn't even on the map, and it's become my favorite waterfall hike near Denver. In fact, this is the only post that I'm tempted to keep to myself, because not only is there great hiking, but Wellington Lake may be the best camping spot within 90 minutes of Denver. There is a hitch though: it's a privately held ...
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Pine Valley Ranch Park Hike

Pine Valley Ranch Park Hike

Pine Valley Ranch Park has become one of our family's favorite parks near Denver. Pine Valley Ranch Park boasts several hikes, a beautiful lake, a lot of history, a small island with a gazebo, and the best picnic area on the Front Range of Colorado. If that's not enough, the North Fork of the Platte River runs through the park, ...
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Golden Gate Sate Park Blue Grouse Trail Landscape

Blue Grouse Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park

The Blue Grouse Trail is a short, 1.6-mile hike on the western edges of Golden Gate Canyon State Park. A pleasant trail with little gain in elevation and mellow terrain makes this a great escape from the city. The Blue Grouse Trail is a perfect hiking trail for spotting wildlife, from birds to deer, viewing fall colors and wildflowers, and ...
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Guide for Hiking Hanging Lake in Colorado

Hanging Lake is a short hike to two waterfalls and one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. On the same hike, you can explore Spouting Rock Falls, and even walk behind the waterfall. Reservations are required to hike Hanging Lake so don't leave home without booking (see info in trail snapshot below). It’s not a day hike near Denver, ...
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St. Mary’s Glacier near Idaho Springs, Colorado

The hike up to St. Mary’s Glacier ascends through a beautiful forest and ends with stunning panoramic views--the kind you expect from a perfect short hike in Colorado. If you walk around St. Mary's lake then hike up the glacier, you will gain incredible views of the Rocky Mountains to the west. It is a quick hike--1.5 miles round-trip if ...
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Mt. Bierstadt Trail on Guanella Pass

Summit a Fourteener, Mount Bierstadt, or go for an easy hike with your family high in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. In short, you've got options on this trail near the top of Guanella Pass. You can choose an easy stroll or a difficult hike. Explore the trail snapshot and profile below for hiking, camping, and trail map info. Trail Snapshot: Mr ...
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Evergreen Lake Trail

This Colorado hike (more of a stroll) is a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. You can rent canoes and sailboats from the nature center and warming house. In the winter, the Evergreen Lake transforms into an ice skating wonderland. Explore this hike profile for all the details. Trail Snapshot: Evergreen Lake Trail Hike Distance 1.3 mile Round Trip ...
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Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park

Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park

Can you think of a more mysterious name for a hike? Colorado's Golden Gate State Park has many trails, and the Forgotten Valley is a great place to start discovering this gem that is tucked between Golden and Boulder, Colorado. Get all the details on hiking the Forgotten Valley by scrolling down to the hike snapshot and hiking tips below ...
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Chicago Lakes Hike Near Mt. Evans

Want to take in some of Colorado's breathtaking scenery and put some miles under your hiking boots? The Chicago Lakes hike begins at Echo Lake. You'll pass three more mountain lakes as you punch up into the high country of Colorado's Mt. Evan's Wilderness. Explore the full trail profile below for the Chicago Lakes which includes driving directions, map, and ...
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Bear Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

From Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (just 2 hours from Denver), you can launch out on dozens of hiking adventures, trails that range from less than a mile to full day treks back into Glacier Gorge or Andrews Creek. If you are visiting Colorado and looking for a high variety of trails or just a good place to ...
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Crown Hill Lake Trails

Jefferson County seems to turn to gold about every park they touch here in Colorado. Crown Hill Lake Park is a prime example. It's an oasis in the midst of the busy city of Denver. The park has beautiful views of the Front Range mountains, including the Flatirons down in Boulder. Crown Hill Lake Park has three miles of paved ...
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Lakes Loop Trail at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

An arsenal turned into a Wildlife Refuge. What a great idea! The refuge boasts over 15,000 acres and over 300 species of wildlife. It also hosts three lakes and Denver lake hikes. The Lakes Loop Trail at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is a 1.7 mile loop that winds along the shores of two lakes in the park, Lake ...
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Arthur’s Rock Trail in Lory State Park

The Arthurs Rock trail in Lory State Park near Fort Collins, Colorado ends with a beautiful panoramic views. You'll pass through meadows, forest, then end your hike with a scramble to the top of Arthur's Rock. Dogs are allowed on a leash, just be sure to bring plenty of water as there are not many places to access drinking water ...
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Echo Lake Trail Near Mt. Evans

Echo Lake Trail Near Mt. Evans

Colorado's Echo Lake is looped by an easy hiking trail and serves as a trailhead to even more classic Colorado hikes. When we have friends and family visiting Colorado from out of town, this is one of best destinations for a great views. Go early to Echo Lake to get perfect photos of Mount Evans reflected in the water. Explore ...
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Emerald Lake Hike Rocky Mountain National Park

Emerald Lake is one of the most accessible hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are visiting RMNP, and have limited time to visit, the trail to Emerald Lake is an excellent option. You'll pass both Dream Lake and Nymph lake before you end your hike at Emerald Lake and it's stunning views of Hallet Peak. For more information ...
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