The best day hikes in Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado is home to numerous beautiful day hikes that hikers at any level can enjoy. From novice to experienced hikers, the astounding beauty that surrounds the many trails awaits you and your hiking stick. Cub Lake, Emerald Lake, Mills Lake, Bierstadt Lake, Dream Lake and Odessa Lake are some of the lakes that provide a destination unlike no other.

For the novice hiker, Cub Lake Trailhead is an awesome place to begin a day hike. Before leaving the trailhead be sure your day pack is loaded with plenty of drinking water, sunscreen, along with rain gear. The total elevation gain over the course of 2.3 miles to arrive at Cub Lake is 540 feet. Streaming water lines the trail throughout the hike and the sun can be rather brutal throughout the day. As always, when hiking in the mountains, you will want to begin your hike early on in the day. Numerous thundershowers do tend to pop up out of nowhere throughout the day. Keeping your eyes on the sky is a must when hiking on any day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Dream Lake is a relatively short hike that begins at Bear Lake and offers stunning views. The hike to the lake is relatively short at 1.1 miles one way. The trail provides stunning views alongside the steep drop offs that follow the trail. The view of the snow peaks and occasional elk sighting make the hike extremely interesting. Again, start out early in the day to avoid the usual afternoon thundershower. This trail is very popular and does get fairly crowded as the day progresses, another advantage to an early start. Dream Lake is also the most photographed lake in the park, so be sure to take your camera to have your own photo of this beautiful lake.

For the hiker with a desire to sweat a little more, Lake Haiyaha may be the perfect day hike for you. The first mile takes you up to Dream Lake and then the rest of the climb takes you to Lake Haiyah with a total elevation gain of 745 feet. Large boulders surround this lake, which provide the perfect place to set out a blanket and enjoy the lunch that you have packed in your day pack. You will want to practice the leave no trace principle, as ground squirrels frequent the area and are always searching for a meal. By not feeding these animals their existence can continue, as they need to rely on nature for their meals, not humans.

With a little bit of common sense you will find the perfect day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park! Colorado is a beautiful state and boasts many snow capped mountains year round for all of us to enjoy. Day hikes provide the opportunity for you to challenge yourself and see God’s country through your own eyes. There are many more destinations that boast scenery that stuns the eye in more ways than one. Mountains, wildlife, wildflowers, and the occassional thundershower can provide an insight into the great state of Colorado!

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