Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful natural habitats in the entire world. Coloradans here in the greater Denver area are incredibly lucky to be so close to such a spectacular landscape. Many locals take the genuinely stunning Rocky Mountains for granted because it’s in our backyard, but we know you won’t make the same mistake. Eldora Lodge, located near the charming city of Golden Colorado, is a breathtaking 60-mile drive through the Rockies from some of the most beautiful hikes in North America.
Emerald Lake Trail
Let us start out by stating that there are nearly 200 trails inside Rocky Mountain National Park. We hand-picked these three trails because they’re moderate in length and difficulty but also awe-strikingly beautiful. Our staff has never been on a trail inside this marvelous park that disappointed, so feel free to map out your own day plan. With that being said, Emerald Lake Trail is the perfect place to begin this list. This 3.1-mile out-and-back trail has everything: waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, emerald lake water, and lush forestry. Emerald Lake is arguably the most popular trail in the entire park, so plan on arriving early to avoid crowds. One mile into the hike you’ll come across lanky, peaceful Dream Lake, which is an added bonus.
Bear Lake Nature Trail
The Bear Lake loop is one of the easiest trails inside Rocky Mountain National Park, but it remains one of the most scenic paths in Colorado. It’s also conveniently located on the journey to Emerald, Dream, and Lake Haiyaha. This 0.7-mile trail circles around breathtaking Bear Lake, a crystal-clear body of water surrounded by unique snow-capped, sun-bleached, or misty mountains (depending on the season). There aren’t many opportunities to explore off-trail at Bear Lake, but this loop is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
We strategically choose these three trails because they can all be hiked in succession. Just remember to pack enough food and water for a 4-6 hour excursion at Bear, Emerald, and Haiyaha lakes. Lake Haiyaha is a moderately-difficult one-mile detour off Emerald Lake Trail. The out-and-back path provides sweeping Rocky Mountain valley views on the journey to Lake Haiyaha. The hike is exceptionally lovely during fall foliage or winter hoarfrost. Haiyaha, much like Emerald, allows hikers to explore the surrounding foresty and rocky hillside. Find the perfect spot to have a picnic before trekking back to your vehicle.
Golden Colorado Lodging
If you have more even time on your hands, we also highly recommend Sprague and Bierstadt Lake. Finish each evening with a soak in an outdoor hot tub at Eldora Lodge near charming Golden Colorado. Our two decks overlook the awe-inspiring Roosevelt National Forest! Have a chat with our friendly staff upon arrival to gain insider knowledge about parking tips and hidden gems inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Dial 1-303-642-7181 to reserve a room at the top-reviewed hotel in Golden Colorado, according to TripAdvisor.