Rocky Mountain National Parks 15 Best Day Hikes

While massive glaciers shaped the meadows and peaks, Rocky was an inhospitable land. It was not until some 11,000 years ago that humans began venturing into these valleys and mountains. Spearheads broken in the fury of a mammoth’s charge and scrapers discarded along a nomad’s trail tell us little about the area’s early native peoples. Even though it was never their year-round home, the Ute tribe favored the areas green valleys, tundra meadows, and crystal lakes. The Utes dominated the area until the late 1700s.

With the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government acquired the land now known as Rocky Mountain National Park. Spanish explorers and French fur trappers skirted the area during their wilderness forays. Even Major Stephen H. Long, the explorer for whom the peak is named, avoided these rugged barricades in his famous 1820 expedition.

In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act.

From its high glacial snow fields, rounded cirques, and jagged mountain peaks to its placid lakes and stunning montane forests, Rocky Mountain National Park is a territory of extraordinary beauty on a grand scale. The park encompasses over 400 square miles of Colorado’s Front Range, which juts up suddenly at the western edge of the Great Plains to create one of the most scenic and dramatic alpine areas in the country.

There are nearly 360 miles of hiking trails that range from very accessible to arduous and rewarding treks up to any number of incredible peaks within the park. It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few ideal day hikes that will give you a great introduction to Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

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