0.3 Miles / 0.5 km
Time to Hike:
~9 minutes
Surface Type:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado
40.396689, -105.635016
June 07, 2024
June 12, 2024
30 '

Total Change
31 '

20 '


The Hidden Valley Creek Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado is an easy 0.3-mile out-and-back walk that features wildlife viewing opportunities and views of the neighboring mountains.

This short out-and-back walk leads hikers along Hidden Valley Creek as it cuts through the valley adjacent to Trail Ridge Road. The trail itself is dirt and only leads into the woods for about 0.15-miles before coming to an abrupt end. During our walk here in early June 2024, we found at least four elk eating dinner in and around the creek. This walk took less than 5 minutes or so, but unfortunately the elk surrounded the trail as we walked out - when we only saw 1 elk on our walk in. I only mention this because despite the brush, trees, and leaves, there may be far more animals near the trail than you realize. We took our time getting back to parking and swung a far path out to the road to give the animals plenty of space, hence the wonky GPS track that appears like a loop instead of an out-and-back. Great wildlife viewing, just a bit too close for comfort!

Wildlife Viewing
This trail is great for viewing wildlife, especially deer, elk, and moose due to the open spaces for grazing and finding food in addition to the creek's water source for drinking. If you wish to spot wildlife, your best chances are in the early morning or in the early evening. Always keep a safe distance while viewing - approx. 75-feet for elk and longhorn sheep; 120-feet for bear and moose.

Dogs are not allowed on this trail.

Hikers will find a small parking turnout at the coordinates provided along Trail Ridge Road. The turnout is large enough to fit no more than 4 vehicles as of June 2024.

Timed-Entry Reservations
Between the months of late May through early October you must purchase a timed-entry pass to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. If you wish to visitor and hike anything off of the Bear Lake Road, you must purchase a dedicated Bear Lake timed-entry pass. You can find more information about timed entry on the park's website.

Elevation sickness: This trail brings hikers through terrain that ascends up to 9,000-feet above sea level. Around the 7,000-foot mark above sea level, hikers may start to experience symptoms of elevation sickness including headache, muscle aches, shortness of breath, among other warning signs. In order to avoid elevation sickness it's recommended to ascend to higher elevations and take short walks to acclimate over the course of several days before taking a long or physically-demanding hike. At any time you feel elevation sickness kicking in, that's the time to turn back and head for lower altitude or the parking lot.

Wild animals: While rare, hikers may encounter bears or mountain lion along the trail. Again, this is rare due to the insane amount of people who hike these trails each day; however, it's smart to know that these wild animals could be on-trail. Please read-up on how to properly handle a bear or mountain lion encounter before hitting the trails.

Explore 30 trails near Estes Park, CO
  1. Parking

    40.396689, -105.635016
  2. Main Trailhead

    40.396689, -105.635016
  3. View of mountains from the trail

    40.396828, -105.635528
    View of mountains from the trail
No community routes found. To add your own hike as a Community Route for this Trail guide, leave a Trip Report with an attached GPX file.



Photo Albums

2 Trip Reports

No Star-Ratings
Trail Guide By:
Admin user profile picture
0.3 miles / 0.5 km
Trail added
June 07, 2024
Hiked on
June 07, 2024
Updated on
June 12, 2024
0.3 miles / 0.5 km
June 07, 2024
Hopped on this trail for a random walk thinking maybe we would see some wildlife. Turns out we found at least three elk (if not four) and at least two of them blocked our walk out to the car, so we hiked up to the road and back to parking. Great spot to find wildlife during the early morning or early evening.

Weather Forecast

In Estes Park, CO

Explore Hiking Trails

New Hikes

Albert Birch Ruins and Cabin Trail
0.4 Miles
0.6 km
Beaver Ponds Trail
0.1 Miles
0.2 km
Alluvial Fan (East) Waterfall
0.4 Miles
0.6 km
Boulder Falls Trail
0.2 Miles
0.3 km

Before you boogie...

Find our trail guides useful? Consider becoming a Supporter to unlock perks!

MyHikes is an indie platform that makes exploring public trails easier for everyone. The platform has no investors, runs no ads, and is owned and operated by one person, Dave Miller. Dave has personally mapped and written over 1,600 trail guides on MyHikes for the public to explore. As of 2024, MyHikes has helped over 1,300,000 outdoor enthusiasts plan their next adventure.

But it takes a lot of time 🕦, money 💰, and work, and espresso shots ☕ to run MyHikes, including hiking , mapping , writing , and publishing new trails with high-quality (accurate) information... along with software engineering (coding) the platform like building new features, site and mobile app development for iOS and Android, site maintainance . and much much more.

Supporters unlock website and mobile app perks with an annual one-time payment of $25 (you renew) 😎👍. Or you can simply make a Donation of your choice. Otherwise, you can support us by telling your friends about MyHikes - both quick and free 🎉

Admin user profile picture

Dave Miller
MyHikes Founder