Attractions Destinations

15 Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for the Whole Family

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on
January 19, 2023

Immerse yourself in nature with these 15 easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park! 

With over 355 miles of hiking trails ranging from lakeside strolls to steep mountain peak climbs, it can be very overwhelming to pick and choose which hikes to do in Rocky Mountain National Park.

If you’ve never hiked before or are traveling with children or older adults, we’ve got great advice about which trails are appropriate for different fitness and experience levels.

In this post, I’ll share 15 easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that provide a low difficulty level and maximum natural beauty.

These hikes are perfect for kids and adults alike and provide the perfect opportunity to get ample fresh air without breaking too much of a sweat!

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Check out our list of the best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
The peak of the Alberta Falls Trail

Tips for Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park

Before we get started with listing our favorite easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s important to review some overall principles about hiking there.

As you plan your Rocky Mountain National park hikes, be sure to keep in mind the following tips:

  • If you’re new to the park consult with a park ranger at one of the 4 visitor centers for further advice about easy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition, consider going on a free Ranger-led walk that can increase your confidence while you learn more about the park.
  • Hiking with children presents its own set of considerations. Be sure to check out our list of family hiking essentials that we bring with us every single time we go hiking with kids.
  • Keep in mind that park elevations range from 7,500 – 12,000 feet and that even very fit individuals coming from lower elevations may experience altitude problems.
  • Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, shortness of breath, insomnia, and rapid heartbeat.
  • To minimize symptoms drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol, don’t skip meals, and get plenty of rest.
  • There are very few paved trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. They include Alpine Ridge Trail, Forest Canyon Overlook, Alluvial Fan West Trail, and Beaver Ponds Boardwalk.
  • Finally, always wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, as ultraviolet light is very strong in the mountains.

Oh, and psst…we love visiting Rocky Mountain National Park with kids so much that we’ve written several other guides to help you plan your trip:

Easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park:  Bear Lake
Bear Lake

Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park!

Rocky Mountain hiking allows you to enjoy the fresh mountain air while taking in the incredible scenery, stunning waterfalls, majestic wildlife, and wildflower-lined trails. 

Here’s our list of 15 easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for you and your family to try during your visit.

Additional planning tip: Check here if you’d like to double-check the difficulty level of a hike, or if you’re looking for an entire list of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain that include the more challenging options.

Easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park:  Lily Lake Loop
Lilly Lake

1. Lily Lake Loop

Location: Longs Peak – Difficulty: 0.82 – Round Trip Miles: 0.8 – Elevation Gain: 10

Perhaps the easiest lake trail in the park is Lily Lake Loop.

This trail is level, wheelchair accessible, and perfect for even the youngest of children.

To be honest, it’s more of a ‘walk’ versus a ‘hike’.

On it, you’ll enjoy a full loop around Lily Lake, as well as beautiful views of mountains, wetlands, and wildflowers. 

Enjoy a lakeside picnic along your journey, or take advantage of this popular fishing spot!

Easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park:  Bear Lake Loop
Bear Lake Loop

2. Bear Lake Loop

Location: Bear Lake Road – Difficulty: 0.89 – Round Trip Miles: 0.8 – Elevation Gain: 45

The Bear Lake corridor of Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular areas in the park due to the awesome, family-friendly Bear Lake Loop hike.

Beginning at the Bear Lake Trailhead, you’ll pass through a diverse forest with picturesque views of Bear Lake, Longs Peak, Hallet Peak, and Half Mountain on your hike.  

Keep in mind that a few steep portions of this trail make it less accessible than Lily Lake Loop. 

Additional planning tip: Get an early start on this hike during peak summer months to beat the crowds. Also, parking is limited here so if you’re not at the Bear Lake trailhead before 7:30 AM, you’ll likely have to park in the free Bear Lake Shuttle lot and ride the shuttle to Bear Lake.

Sprague Lake Loop in Rocky Mountain National Park

3. Sprague Lake Loop

Location: Bear Lake Road – Difficulty: 0.92 – Round Trip Miles: 0.9 – Elevation Gain: 10

This lake hike is another wheelchair-accessible option with a fairly flat trail everyone can enjoy. 

It’s the perfect example to show that you don’t need to go high to see other-worldly sights!

You’ll experience panoramic views of the continental divide with peaceful mountain backdrops. 

Visit in the morning to view mountain reflections bouncing off the lake. 

4. Copeland Falls

Location: Wild Basin – Difficulty: 1.01 – Round Trip Miles: 0.9 – Elevation Gain: 75

If you’re looking for a less popular, more remote hike, Copeland Falls is the one for you. 

Begin your journey at the Wild Basin Trailhead, enjoying the subalpine forest along your way to the falls. 

This is the easiest journey to waterfall views in the entire park, so you best take advantage!

You can easily extend your hike from here, with various connecting trails, or enjoy the quick jaunt. 

Alpine Ridge Trail; beginner hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
Alpine Ridge Trail

5. Alpine Ridge Trail

Location: Alpine Visitor Center – Difficulty: 1.02 – Round Trip Miles: 0.6 – Elevation Gain: 209

This trail is easily accessed once you reach the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Trail Ridge Road.

Located directly behind the visitor center, this hike is short but steep (it’s appropriately nicknamed “Huffers Hill”).

Still, a quick huff is well worth the effort by the time you get to the top!

Experience alpine tundra terrain, panoramic views, and blooming wildflowers in the warmer months. 

Additional planning tip: As part of the trail moves across open terrain, wind levels are high, making this hike chilly, even in summer!

Make sure you pack appropriate layers for the trek up. 

6. Coyote Valley Trail

Location: West Side – Difficulty: 1.03 – Round Trip Miles: 0.9 – Elevation Gain: 15

Explore the Kawuneeche Valley along the Coyote Valley Trail.

This wheelchair-accessible route takes you on a journey over the Colorado River with wonderful wildlife-spotting opportunities. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll get sightings of elk, moose, coyotes, deer, hawks, eagles, and more!

You’ll also enjoy expansive views of the valley and wildflower-covered meadows in the spring months. 

7. Lake Irene 

Location: Alpine Visitor Center – Difficulty: 1.09 – Round Trip Miles: 0.5 – Elevation Gain: 95

This hike is the shortest on our list, with a quick trail towards Lake Irene.

It’s a good choice for a wee hike between activities. 

There are also plenty of picnic areas and options to extend your hike with connecting trails. 

Check out our list of the best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Hard-pack, unpaved trail

8. Adam Falls

Location: West Side – Difficulty: 1.13 – Round Trip Miles: 0.9 – Elevation Gain: 113

If waterfalls are your goal, make sure to take the hike to Adam Falls.

This easy hike is great for kids; they’re going to love the impressive rapids of Adam Falls.

The upper look point will offer incredible views of the falls, lower gorge, and distant Grand Lake. 

Additional planning tip: Extend your hike to East Meadow for possible moose sightings!

9. Holzwarth Historic Site

Location: West Side – Difficulty: 1.44 – Round Trip Miles: 1.3 – Elevation Gain: 70

Explore a trail through the Holzwarth Historic Site, a dude ranch nestled in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Make sure to peek into some of the buildings along your way. 

10. Tundra Communities Trail

Location: Alpine Visitor Center – Difficulty: 1.45 – Round Trip Miles: 1.1 – Elevation Gain: 175

The Tundra Communities Trailhead is located near the top of Trail Ridge Road. 

Open tundra and unique wildlife make it one of the best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Make sure to dress warm and layer up for this chilly adventure!

Additional planning tip: This trail’s high elevation can make it tricky to catch your breath. Make sure to take frequent stops along the way. 

11. Nymph Lake 

Location: Bear Lake Road – Difficulty: 1.55 – Round Trip Miles: 1.1 – Elevation Gain: 245

Extend your Bear Lake Loop with a hike to Nymph Lake. 

Relax lakeside and enjoy the glistening waters and surrounding pond lilies for a scenic picnic location. 

12. Lily Ridge Loop

Location: Longs Peak – Difficulty: 1.60 – Round Trip Miles: 1.2 – Elevation Gain: 200

Lily Ridge Loop gives you two hiking options; you can either stick to the semi-loop for a quick and easy hike or up the ante a bit for the full loop!

The Lily Ridge Trail gives you a beautiful view of Lily Lake that is perfect for a family photo op. 

Best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park:  Alberta Falls trail
The beautiful Alberta Falls

13. Alberta Falls

Location: Bear Lake Road – Difficulty: 2.06 – Round Trip Miles: 1.7 – Elevation Gain: 200

One of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park is the trail to Alberta Falls.

Here, you’ll marvel at the 30-foot waterfall connecting to a gorge on Glacier Creek.

This is one of the best waterfall hikes in the entire park, and luckily, it’s super accessible. 

Additional planning tip: Start your journey from the Bear Lake Trailhead to extend your hike. This hike does have some elevation to climb but is very doable for kids, as well as for older adults if they take their time.

14. Dream Lake

Location: Bear Lake Road – Difficulty: 3.14 – Round Trip Miles: 2.2 – Elevation Gain: 450

Your journey to Dream Lake will take you past both Bear Lake and Nymph Lake, so it’s a great option to see various landmarks in the park. 

If you’re questioning whether or not to extend your hike to include Dream Lake, I guarantee that the views are well worth it!

Easy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park:  Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake

15. Emerald Lake

Location: Bear Lake Road – Difficulty: 4.84 – Round Trip Miles: 3.5 – Elevation Gain: 650

While our final hike offers a slight jump in difficulty, it is still easy to complete and accessible for young children. 

It’s an additional stop along your lake tour past Dream Lake. 

Once you reach the lake, you’ll see a direct view of Hallett Peak, with waterfall sounds in the distance. 

Conclusion: Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

That rounds up the best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park for all ages and abilities! 

Whether you’re looking for the best view of the park, chasing waterfalls, or in the mood for a healthy wander into nature, Rocky Mountain Park has hiking trails for your needs. 

Remember to always research your hiking trail before setting off and bring along hiking emergency supplies (even on the easiest of trails). 

Have fun exploring!

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*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

Are you a beginner hiker or traveling to Rocky Mountain National Park with kids?  Check out these 15 easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that are low of difficulty and high on beauty!  #RMNPhikes
Are you a beginner hiker or traveling to Rocky Mountain National Park with kids?  Check out these 15 easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that are low of difficulty and high on beauty!  #RMNPhikes
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Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

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