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Distance:
0.9 Miles / 1.4 km
Type:
Loop
Difficulty:
Easy
Time to Hike:
~27 minutes
Features:
Surface Type:
Universal Access
Park:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Town:
Estes Park, Colorado
Directions:
40.306453, -105.537938
Added:
June 06, 2024
Updated:
June 12, 2024
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34 '

Total Change
63 '

Ascent
59 '

Descent

Lily Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado is an easy 0.9-mile universally-accessible loop hike that features views of the lake and surrounding mountains like Longs Peak. The Lily Lake Trail is also a great spot to watch wildlife.

Hike
This short and mostly-flat hike begins at the main trailhead for Lily Lake and follows the trail counter-clockwise by following the north shore first. During our hike here in the early evening in June 2024, we started the hike along the north shore to find a muskrat run up a hiker's leg after getting scared - the muskrat, realizing the hiker's legs were not a tree or bush, darted off and jumped into Lily Lake -- likely one of the funniest hiking experiences I've had. Your experience may vary, but Lily Lake is a beautiful place to take a walk regardless of startled muskrat or not. From the north shore of Lily Lake, hikers will find stunning views of Rocky Mountain National Park's highest peak, Longs Peak in addition to other mountains like Estes Cone and Mount Meeker.

The trail bends around the lake and from the western shore, hikers will get views of Twin Sister Mountain as it towers over Lily Lake. The south side of Lily Lake includes additional views like that of Lily Mountain, located to the north. Just before the hiker reaches the southeastern corner of the lake, you'll find a boardwalk that spans over the water - providing more wildlife viewing opportunities to find fish, birds, moose, or elk. Finally, hikers will swing around to the eastern side of Lily Lake to find similar views that you found at the trailhead.

During our hike here in June 2024, we found an elk on our way out - the animal was on the central part of Lily Lake's north shore, but just out of sight for a decent photo. Again, if you wish to find wildlife here, aim for early morning or early evening and maybe you'll find something neat!

The trail wraps up at the main trailhead around mile 0.9 to complete the loop.

Pets
Dogs are not allowed on this trail.

Parking
Hikers will find a parking lot located at the coordinates provided on the west side of S Saint Vrain Ave in Estes Park, Colorado. The lot is large enough to fit a dozen vehicles or so. Overflow parking is located on the street or across the street in a separate lot.

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 lake'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.

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.

Restrooms
As of June 2024, there are restroom facilities at the parking lot.

Warnings
Elevation sickness: This trail brings hikers through terrain that ascends up to 8,900-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 31 trails near Estes Park, CO
  1. Parking

    40.306453, -105.537938
  2. Main Trailhead

    40.306453, -105.537938
  3. View of Lily Lake and Estes Cone

    40.307364, -105.538033
    View of Lily Lake and Estes Cone
  4. View of Lily Lake, Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Estes Cone

    40.307561, -105.538392
    View of Lily Lake, Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Estes Cone
  5. View of Lily Lake, Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Estes Cone

    40.308522, -105.540297
    View of Lily Lake, Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Estes Cone
  6. View of Lily Lake, Estes Cone, and Longs Peak

    40.308686, -105.541031
    View of Lily Lake, Estes Cone, and Longs Peak
  7. View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain

    40.308728, -105.541389
    View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain
  8. View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain

    40.308714, -105.542253
    View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain
  9. View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain

    40.3083, -105.543456
    View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain
  10. View of Lily Lake and Lily Mountain

    40.308064, -105.542914
    View of Lily Lake and Lily Mountain
  11. View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain

    40.307167, -105.541664
    View of Lily Lake and Twin Sisters Mountain
  12. View of Twin Sisters Mountain

    40.306686, -105.541161
    View of Twin Sisters Mountain
  13. View of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Estes Cone

    40.306647, -105.541131
    View of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and Estes Cone
  14. View of Lily Lake and Lily Mountain

    40.305939, -105.539658
    View of Lily Lake and Lily Mountain
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.

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Trail Guide By:
Admin user profile picture
0.9 miles / 1.4 km
Trail added
June 06, 2024
Hiked on
June 06, 2024
Updated on
June 12, 2024
0.9 miles / 1.4 km
June 06, 2024
Perfect spot for an evening or sunrise walk. This trail is super busy on weekends but less busy during the weekday. During our hike here, we saw an elk and a muskrat run up a hiker's leg.
Hiking

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In Estes Park, CO

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