Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: The Essential Guide

Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: The Essential Guide

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Overview

Plan your trip to Rocky Mountain National Park using the most up-to-date hiking guide filled with gorgeous color photos, custom maps, elevation profile graphs and all the information you need to know to be prepared and stay safe. This 512 page book was written by someone who has spent the last 15 years hiking every nook and cranny of the park and knows each trail intimately.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996962681
Publisher: Rocky Trail Press
Publication date: 05/03/2019
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 426,266
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 5 Years

About the Author

Erik Stensland was born in Minnesota in 1968 but moved many times before he was 18. His first real memories are from the mountains outside of Helena, Montana, where at ages 5 and 6 he would spend his days hiking through the forest, exploring miles of mountain terrain around his house. Everywhere he moved he was drawn to the natural world, spending his days creating his own secret trails up to the top of nearby hills or climbing a tree to get a better view. His junior high and high school years were spent cycling throughout the countryside where he could enjoy quiet and beautiful views. Throughout Erik’s life, the beauty of nature has called to him.



After college Erik moved overseas, living in Austria, Bulgaria, Albania, and Kosovo. He met his wife, Joanna, in Austria and they spent over a decade working with the Albanian people, doing everything from creating an ecotourism program, teaching English, assisting local artists, starting a refugee agency, helping local churches meet the needs of their society, and many other projects.



After suffering severe burnout, Erik and Joanna moved to Colorado in 2004. Erik became a landscape photographer in the hope that this might be a way to get paid to hike, as the silence of the wilderness is where he is renewed. While it has involved more office work than he ever imagined, he’s still managed to explore nearly every corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking every trail, most of them more times than he can count.



In 2007 Erik opened his gallery in Estes Park. Since then Erik has become one of the primary photographers focusing on Rocky Mountain National Park. He’s published numerous books, opened other gallery and display locations, and contributes to various local and national publications.


Erik tends to avoid the spotlight and can most often be found heading in the opposite direction of the crowds, looking for quiet trails that lead into places of beauty and silence.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface - xi
  • Introduction - xiii
  • Trails Listed By Location - xvi
  • Overview Map of Rocky - xvii
  • Using This Book - 1
  • Approach - 1
  • Trail Distances - 2
  • Difficulty Level - 8
  • Hiking Time - 9
  • Time to Go - 11
  • Seasons - 11
  • Ecosystems - 13
  • Wildlife - 14
  • Trail Conditions - 14
  • Elevation - 14
  • Elevation Profile - 17
  • Maps - 18
  • Trail Coverage - 18
  • First Things First - 19
  • About RMNP - 19
  • Logistics - 34
  • Hiking in Rocky - 36
  • Leave No Trace - 45
  • Trail Etiquette - 51
  • Preparation - 58
  • Safety - 79
  • Types of Hikes - 97
  • Loop Hikes - 97
  • One-way Hikes - 97
  • Lake Hikes - 99
  • Tundra Hikes - 100
  • Wildflower Hikes - 100
  • Waterfall Hikes - 101
  • Summit Hikes - 102
  • Wildlife Hikes - 103
  • Historical Hikes - 103
  • Autumn Hikes - 103
  • Winter Hikes - 104
  • Early Spring Hikes - 105
  • Full Map of Rocky - 106
  • The Trailheads - 108




  • THE HIKES


    Accessible Hikes - 131

  • 1 – Beaver Boardwalk - 132
  • 2 – Lily Lake - 134
  • 3 – Sprague Lake - 138
  • 4 – Coyote Valley - 142
  • 5 – Bear Lake - 145
  • 6 – Holzwarth Historic Site - 150
  • 7 – Alluvial Fan - 154



  • Easy Hikes - 157

  • 8 – Chasm Falls - 158
  • 9 – Forest Canyon Overlook - 161
  • 10 – Hidden Valley Loop Trail - 163
  • 11 – Lake Irene - 166
  • 12 – Upper Beaver Meadows Loop - 169
  • 13 – Adams Falls and East Meadow - 173
  • 14 – Tundra Communities Trail - 178
  • 15 – Lily Ridge Trail - 182
  • 16 – Alberta Falls - 186
  • 17 – Summerland Park - 190
  • 18 – The Pool - 194
  • 19 – Bear Lake to Park & Ride - 198
  • 20 – Dream Lake - 203



  • Moderate Hikes - 207

  • 21 – Alpine Ridge Trail - 208
  • 22 – Western Ute Trail - 212
  • 23 – Tombstone Ridge - 216
  • 24 – Calypso Cascades - 220
  • 25 – Emerald Lake - 224
  • 26 – Black Canyon Trail - 228
  • 27 – East Shore Trail - 232
  • 28 – Bierstadt Lake Loop - 236
  • 29 – Gem Lake - 240
  • 30 – Cub Lake - 244
  • 31 – Mills Lake - 248
  • 32 – Cub Lake Loop - 252
  • 33 – Ouzel Falls - 256
  • 34 – Cascade Falls - 260
  • 35 – The Loch - 264
  • 36 – Haiyaha Loop - 268
  • 37 – Deer Mountain - 274
  • 38 – Lulu City - 278
  • 39 – Big Meadows Loop - 282
  • 40 – Fern Lake - 286
  • 41 – Odessa Hike - 290
  • 42 – Finch Lake - 296
  • 43 – Eastern Ute Trail - 300
  • 44 – Black Lake - 304
  • 45 – Twin Sisters Peaks - 308
  • 46 – Balanced Rock - 312
  • 47 – Sky Pond - 316
  • 48 – Granite Falls - 322



  • Strenuous Hikes - 327

  • 49 – Estes Cone (from Longs Trailhead) - 328
  • 50 – Sandbeach Lake - 332
  • 51 – Lone Pine Lake - 336
  • 52 – Lawn Lake - 340
  • 53 – Ypsilon Lake - 344
  • 54 – Ouzel Lake - 348
  • 55 – Chasm Lake - 352
  • 56 – Estes Cone (from Lily Trailhead) - 356
  • 57 – Flattop Mountain - 360
  • 58 – Timber Lake - 366
  • 59 – Mirror Lake - 370
  • 60 – Lumpy Loop - 374
  • 61 – Pear Lake - 380
  • 62 – Lake Verna - 384
  • 63 – La Poudre Pass - 388
  • 64 – Thunder Lake - 394
  • 65 – The Boulderfield - 398
  • 66 – Bluebird Lake - 402
  • 67 – Bighorn Flats - 406
  • 68 – Haynach Lakes - 410
  • 69 – Crystal Lakes - 416
  • 70 – Bear Lake to Grand Lake (North Inlet) - 420
  • 71 – Bear Lake to Grand Lake (Tonahutu) - 424
  • 72 – Lost Lake - 430
  • 73 – Lake Nanita - 436
  • 74 – Western Loop - 442
  • 75 – Longs Peak (Keyhole Route) - 460



  • Definitions - 471


    Additional Resources - 473


    Index - 475


    Quick Stats - 481


    About the Author - 487

    Preface

    Welcome to Rocky Mountain National Park, one of America's premier hiking destinations. With over 350 miles of hiking trails winding through deep forests, alongside rushing streams, up to dramatic mountain lakes, across open tundra, and to the top of towering peaks, there is enough here to satisfy almost any hiker of any ability. Whether you want a gentle stroll or to push yourself to your limits, Rocky has it all.


    This guide is designed to meet the wide range of hiking interests and abilities, from the ease of a wheelchair-accessible hike to the strenuousness of climbing Rocky's highest peak. It is unique in its format, listing the hikes in order of difficulty beginning with the easiest hike and ending with the hardest hike. This makes it very convenient to match hikes with your ability level.



    This book has been written with a strong emphasis on reducing our impact on the wilderness. With the growing visitation to Rocky Mountain National Park, we need to do all we can to ensure that our visit does no harm to this amazing national treasure. Most of the damage done to our natural places is not intentional and can simply be avoided with greater awareness. I've therefore made it a point throughout this book to bring attention to ways we can be more aware of our potential impact.


    At the same time, I've written this book to help ensure that you have the safest trip possible. Hiking in the mountains is certainly not without risks and every year there are many who find themselves in situations they had never anticipated. My goal is to keep you from being one of those. One of the ways I've focused on safety is by limiting this book to only official hiking trails. This not only reduces your chances of getting lost in the wilderness but also ensures that you aren’t encountering dangerous terrain such as cliff ledges or steep scree slopes. I also bring attention to most of the potential dangers you might encounter on each hike and explain how to avoid them.



    As a professional landscape photographer specializing in photographing Rocky Mountain National Park, I've spent the last fifteen years exploring every corner of this incredible place. I've hiked every trail and most of them more times than I can count. When I was asked by the Rocky Mountain Conservancy to create this guide, I decided that I wouldn't rely on my memory, but I would go and hike these trails again. In the last year I've re-hiked every trail in this book. You might have seen me out there with my voice recorder taking notes or with various cameras taking photos and a GPS unit hanging from my pack. As I've written this book I've tried to make sure that the trail descriptions are accurate, easy to follow and also personal, as if I were showing you around myself.



    My hope is not only that you will experience great hikes and be introduced to some new territory but also that you will fall in love with this place as I have. I hope you will be moved from being merely an admirer to becoming a supporter and champion of Rocky Mountain National Park and all of our nation's wild places. Lastly, I hope you will reconnect with your deepest self and be reminded of what is truly important in life. This is where the hope for our world lies — deep within each of us.

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