(credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Nothing beats packing a picnic or gathering supplies in a backpack and then hitting the trails. Those looking for a mountain adventure will find it when they go exploring the Rocky Mountains. In addition to offering winding trails, the Rocky Mountains offer breathtaking places to go hiking, have a picnic and to sit back and enjoy the view. You never know what you might see while hiking these mountains. Everything from the mountain views to wildflowers and waterfalls to wildlife can be seen when exploring the Rocky Mountains.
Chasm Lake offers one of the best views throughout all of Rocky Mountain National Park. This site offers breathtaking panoramic views of water, walls of Long Peak and other alpine backgrounds. The trail to get to Chasm Lake is available from the Longs Peak Ranger Station and is about 8.5 miles round trip. This trail is best explored early in the morning and most hikers start their adventure between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
The Longs Peak trail is the highest point in the park and reaches as high as 14,259 feet at its peak, which is named after Major Stephen H. Long. During your hike you will see irregular tree growth, a waterfall, peaks with various heights and plenty of wildlife roaming the area.
Hikers making their way along the trails to Mount Ida will be surrounded by outstanding panoramic views. Round-trip hikers will travel 9.6 miles and reach an elevation of 10,759 feet. Looking at it, the hike may appear easy, however, this is one of the most strenuous hikes in the Rocky Mountain National Park. So if you are looking for something a bit easier, it is suggested you seek out an alternative trail to explore. The last 1.2 miles of the trail goes through some rugged terrain and does require some off-trail trekking. If you can handle the hike along this trail, the view will be worth all of the work.
Hikers on their way to the top of Mount Ida will be able to see sporadic views of the Never Summer Mountains. These mountains are to the west, just past the junction. The higher hikers get, the greater their chances are to see bighorn sheep and elk grazing in open tundra areas. In addition to wildlife, you will also see wildflowers, including alpine sunflowers and arctic gentian.
Hallett Peak is the perfect hike for those who are looking for the perfect mountain to fulfill their need to master a big mountain without the strenuous and dangerous climb they may face on other trails. This peak will take you to a height of 12,713 feet, making you feel like you have climb to the top of the Rockies without the dangerous drop-offs. The views from the top are outstanding and worth the hike.
The hike to Hallett Peak starts at the Bear Lake Trailhead, which is at the end of Bear Lake Road. This hike is a popular one, so it might be best to use the public shuttle to access the trailhead. During your hike to Hallett Peak you will have spectacular views of the Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Peak, Longs Peak and Chiefs Head Peak. To see these sites, just keep following the trailhead south.
The Ute Trail offers fabulous panoramic views and alpine tundra without the need to climb up to a high elevation. If you are looking for a relatively flat hike, this is the one for you. It will take you along Tombstone Ridge, where you will have views of Forest Canyon, Moraine Park, Estes Park and Longs Peak. Round trip, this trail is four miles and only goes up to an elevation of 11,430 feet. That is only 405 feet above from where the trailhead begins. There is a second trail to follow that is roughly at the one-mile mark offering a second hiking adventure. Many of the landscapes you will see may be dotted with a variety of wildflowers such as alpine sunflowers. You might even catch a glimpse of raves, hawks, elk and coyotes who make their way to the tundra during the summer.
Bluebird Lake offers an outstanding hike that will take you to several natural attractions along the way. While hiking, you will pass three waterfalls, an alpine lake and other breathtaking sites along the way. Round trip, this path will take you out for 12.6 miles and up to an elevation of only 8,500 feet. During your adventure to Bluebird Lake you will be taken through some remote areas along the Wild Basin Trailhead as you travel along the southeastern corner of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Your views along the way include those of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker located to the north of the trails. Though this paths is mostly filled with breathtaking water accented landscapes, you will also encounter views speckled with wildflowers and glimpses of wildlife.