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Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park has 359 miles of trails at all levels of difficulty for hikers, backpackers and horseback riders (limited). Along these trails with majestic scenery, are great places for trout fishing, bird and animal watching and photography. In wintertime, many of the hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park are marked for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. While you can eat at one of the Park picnic areas, it is a real treat to picnic along a hiking trail, stopping perhaps at the base of a waterfall or a glade full of wildflowers. Just remember to never leave trash - Pack it in, Pack it out.

If you aren't able to manage steep and rocky trails, take a more level hiking trail for a greater distance and you will still give your heart and legs a good workout. You should also be aware, especially if you normally live at sea level, that the altitude of both lower and higher trails may make you pause for a breath. Take it slow and enjoy the trail, you are not here for a power walk. Also, always take water along with you and drink water periodically when hiking. There are no water fountains along the trails at Rocky Mountain National Park but you can fill up at the picnic areas.

For those traveling with pets, you should note that pets are permitted in campgrounds and picnic areas only, provided that they are on a leash. Pets are not otherwise permitted outside of your vehicle while within the Park. This means that pets are not allowed on trails.

Choosing a Hiking Trail At Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is open year-round and is especially popular with summer visitors. If you are among the majority of the 3 million annual visitors who come in the summer, you can still pick a hiking trail that is not as popular as some (avoid the Bear Lake trails) and you will have those private moments in the woods.

There are 3 year-round visitor centers at Rocky Mountain National Park where you can find all manner of maps and suggestions for where to hike. The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the Fall River Visitor Center are both located near the Estes Park (east) side. The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is near Grand Lake (west). While there are more structured hikes during June thru September, such as ranger lead walks, a stop at one of the centers will help set you in the right direction, no matter when you come.