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Three Gorgeous Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

This is part of my Girl’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park! Everything you need to know, from the best day hikes to the best places to eat. Check out all my posts by clicking here.

On a recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I saw hundreds of Americans and their families carrying on the summer tradition of hiking in the mountains. As a girl who has many fond childhood memories hiking this park and experiencing nature for the first time, I couldn’t help but be pleased to see new crops of kids getting those same experiences.  Today, I am sharing hiking trail advice courtesy of my friend Liz Curtis, a Texan and Rocky Mountain National Park expert. Liz just welcomed her first child, and guess where his first big vacation was?

Rocky Mountain National Park, of course!

Bear Lake

So, here’s a guide to three of the best trails in the park, courtesy of my dear friend Liz, pictured above. Enjoy!

For Beginners

  • Bear Lake and Alberta Falls

Liz: Get to the park early and park at the Bear Lake parking lot.  Hike around Bear lake, and then over to Alberta Falls!  Hint: On your way back from Alberta falls, hike to the Glacier Gorge parking area and take the bus back to Bear Lake to avoid a long, steep uphill hike!

Alberta Falls
Alberta Falls
Brandon snaps a selfie at Alberta Falls.


Bear Lake August
Bear Lake

Whitney’s note: Ditto. I hiked Alberta Falls trail two years ago with my family and saw folks of all ages and fitness levels all having fun and enjoying the scenery. Definitely a sense of community on this trail.

  • Fern Lake

Liz: Another favorite is Fern Lake.  We usually just hike to the falls, but the trail follows a river and goes through an impressive boulder yard.  Parking is limited, so get there early!

Fern Lake trail
Fern Lake Trail
fern lake boulders
Fern Lake Boulders

For Intermediates

  • Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake

Liz: Park at the Bear Lake Parking lot and hike up to Nymph lake, Dream Lake and then you’ll reach Emerald Lake.

Dream Lake
Dream Lake


Nymph Lake
Nymph Lake


Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake

For those Wanting a Challenge

  • Sky Pond

Liz: Sky Pond is the best hike we have ever done in RMNP!  It’s 9 miles round trip.  About a half mile until you reach the end, you will hit Timberline Falls, which you get to scramble up the side of before reaching Sky Pond.  There are a few gorgeous lakes along the way with trout aplenty, so bring your fly rod if you wish 🙂

sky pond (1)
Sky Pond Trail
sky pond (3)
Sky Pond

Other Important Sites (These are accessible by car!)

  • Alpine Visitor Center

Take the old Fall River road up.  It’s a shorter, steeper, windier drive, but not many people get to go on it!  Look for heard of elk in the tundra grasslands.  We also like to stop at the Lava Cliffs overlook.  If you look over the rock wall, there are always fat marmot and little Pika running around.  You can also hike up the tundra for some spectacular, unique views.  Be sure to have a wind breaker with you!

  • Rainbow Curve & Many Parks Curve

About halfway down, we love stopping at Rainbow Curve for a nice view of the park, and then a few more miles is Many Parks Curve. You can pretty much see all that encompasses RMNP (, including Long’s Peak!

Wow, if Liz’s pictures don’t leave you longing for a trip to the Rockies, I don’t know what will!

Thanks, Liz, for sharing your wisdom, incredible photos, and darling family with us. Y’all are so cute.

Happy hiking, ladies!

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One Comment

  • Mary Pat Bolner

    Awesome story about our favorite National Park! Beautiful pics, great memories & cute family enjoying the scenery!

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