Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Trails
If you’re looking for hikes near Granby, Rocky Mountain National Park is a world unto itself. Plan a leisurely stroll, epic multi-day trip, or something in between, at this stunning natural destination you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Choose Your Adventure
With hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park are, well, all of them! It just depends what kind of adventure suits you most.
Stroll on relatively flat terrain to a pristine lake or tackle a challenging peak. Set out on a quick half-mile loop you can conquer in under an hour, or go for a longer 7-mile trek with elevation gains ending in a magnificent bird's eye view. If you have a few days, you can log 30 miles on the Continental Divide Trail without ever leaving the park!
The views are striking no matter what—alpine tundra, glaciers, meadows, tree-lined slopes, and crystalline water. Take the Shadow Mountain Lookout Trail for views of Shadow Mountain Lake, Grand Lake, and Lake Granby along the way. Lulu City/Yellowstone Loop is a moderate to strenuous hike that takes you to Little Yellowstone, a volcanic rock canyon.
There are several trails with accessibility features such as benches, wooden paths, hard-packed gravel trails, and ramps, as well as parking and toilets. The Coyote Valley Trail follows along the Colorado River, and is a 1-mile round trip on level ground that’s wheelchair and stroller accessible. Amenities vary from trail to trail, so be sure to check with the park for details. The park also has a free shuttle that will take you to some trailheads.
Explore on your own, or take a walk with a knowledgeable ranger. If you’re coming in the winter, there are some hikeable trails that you can explore on snowshoes. Just be sure to check the latest on conditions and safety information.
Wildlife & Wildflowers
Keep those binoculars and cameras handy! Rocky Mountain National Park is home to hundreds of elk and bighorn sheep, as well as moose, marmots, pika, and the list goes on. The park is also habitat for diverse bird species, including the elusive ptarmigan. In the fall, keep an ear out for the high-pitched bugle of rutting elk. Try the Cascade Falls trail for an easy hike where marmots are often spotted and fishing is possible, or the Green Mountain Loop for a longer hike where you might see foraging moose and elk.
If you time it right, you can admire some of Rocky’s hundreds of wildflower species: elegant columbines, delicate mariposa lilies, lupine, mountain iris, and western yellow paintbrush, just to name a few. Catch the blooms at lower elevations in late April and early May, and wildflowers from late June to early August. Check out Adams Falls from the East Inlet Trailhead and Lake Irene along Trail Ridge Road to find wildflowers.
Remember to always keep a safe distance from wildlife, never feed any animals, and respect the plants and trees.
If you’re in charge of pre-trip research, you might start at the park’s website. It has an extensive list of hikes, including the names and elevations of many trailheads, the destinations you can reach from each one, plus information on mileage and elevation gain. The park’s website will also be the most up-to-date resource for any trail or road closures.
A successful visit requires a little extra planning. Keep in mind that pets are prohibited on all trails (leashed pets are only allowed in parking lots, roadside areas, picnic areas, and campgrounds), and permits are required for overnight trips.
Rocky’s weather is extreme and changes quickly, so you’ll want to be well prepared. The visitors centers and backcountry office are key resources for current information on weather, as well as up-to-date reports on the conditions of trails and roads.
Make sure your packing list includes the 10 essentials for hikers, and learn how high altitudes can affect visitors to the park. By educating yourself, you’re preparing for a more comfortable and enjoyable trip.