Hiking In Colorado In March – In Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking is the number one activity. Whether you want to walk peaceful lakeside trails or hike a 14er, this park has something for you! We’ve put together a shortlist of hikes for all skill levels so you can find a trail adventure that’s right for you.
For those who have limited time, mobility or skills, a simple walk around the lake or meadow is enough. The scenery and wildlife are just as wonderful if you’re not huffing and puffing at the edge of a steep mountainside. We recommend trying this route:
Hiking In Colorado In March
Want to challenge yourself a bit more and spend most of your day hiking beautiful trails? This moderate day hike provides great views for a relatively short amount of time on the trail. Be sure to get up early in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, pack a lunch or snack, and wear protective layers!
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Please note that the following hikes are technical hikes for experienced hikers only. Do your research on the Rocky Mountain National Park official website and take all necessary precautions for your own safety.
For information on additional hiking trails in the Estes Park area, including facilities, guided options, and pet-friendly hikes (since pets are only allowed along trails, parking lots, picnic areas, and campgrounds in TLDM), visit us Colorado is famous for its alpine lakes and has many trails and lake views to choose from. In fact, alpine lakes are so famous in Colorado that almost every mountain hike takes you through a pristine lake nestled in the mountains. It’s hard to go wrong, here’s an overview of Colorado’s best alpine lake hikes for every skill level.
I have been hiking Colorado for over 13 years. I’ve walked over 1,000 miles of terrain here in Colorado over the years. This list comes from years of research and is a labor of love.
When it comes to the best lake tours in Colorado, this post has it all. During the broadcast you will find:
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Exactly. In fact, almost every hike in Colorado leads to an alpine lake. You can spend a lifetime trying to see all of Colorado’s alpine lakes and barely scratch the surface.
An alpine lake is defined as any lake above 10,000 feet above sea level. These high-altitude lakes tend to be much cleaner than lower-altitude lakes and are often filled directly by melting snow. Cold water is characteristic of alpine lakes.
Almost countless. There are over 2,000 alpine lakes in Colorado. Most of these lakes are only accessible on foot, although some can also be reached by car.
There are several famous alpine lake hikes in Colorado to explore. Clear and beautiful water often reflects dramatic mountain landscapes.
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Yes. Technically, you can swim in many of Colorado’s alpine lakes, but you probably don’t want to. Temperatures are often completely freezing as most alpine lakes are fed by melting snow.
Not to mention that the bottom of the lake is often rocky and very slippery. If you choose to swim, do not use any sunscreen. With such a fragile ecosystem, skin oils and sunscreens can kill the wildlife that lives in the lake.
Think you have to be a pro to enjoy amazing hikes on Colorado’s alpine lakes? think again! Many of the state’s most spectacular lake views are easily accessible to novice hikers.
If you can’t enjoy Colorado’s alpine lakes, why not take a hiking trail that takes you through four different lakes? Start at the Bear Lake parking lot and hike the gentle trail to Hiaha Lake, passing the lovely Emerald Lake.
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You’ll pass three additional lakes along the way, including the iconic Dream Lake. The Lake Hiha’a hike is available year-round and is a great choice for beginners or those looking for a quiet day out and one of Colorado’s best winter hikes.
Distance: 3.6 miles Altitude: 846 feet Difficulty: Easy Red Ribbon & Local Directions: No Dogs. In winter you have to walk to avoid avalanche areas so be careful.
Local tip: The Bear Lake parking lot fills up quickly all year round, even on weekdays, so plan to arrive early or be prepared to take the bus.
Wellington Lake is not so much an alpine lake as it is a warm place of recreation, it is a great place to visit early in the season before Colorado’s alpine lakes melt.
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There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, camping, and even short, easy hiking trails that provide plenty of family fun.
Distance: Varies, the hike at the refuge is short, about three miles to the lake crossing. Elevation: Nothing notable. Difficulty: Easy bureaucracy and local tips: This is a great place for families, however there are daily fees and other camping fees to use this area.
Sprague Lake is one of Colorado’s most accessible alpine lakes. It also has wheelchair-friendly trails, making it an ideal choice for those who might need an extra push to hit the trails.
Don’t let the easy access fool you though. Sprague is one of the best sunrise viewing spots in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Distance: 0.8 miles Elevation: 32 feet Difficulty: Easy with red ribbon access ramp and local directions: No dogs. Walk around the lake at sunrise for a spectacular view.
Known for year-round snow, the base of St. Mary is one of Colorado’s most accessible alpine lakes.
Take the two-kilometer trail to St. Mary’s Glacier (not actually a glacier, but a field of permanent snow), home to a perfect alpine lake.
Adventure lovers can go to the “Glacier”. Be sure to bring some grip and maybe a climbing stick or two.
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Distance: 1.9 miles Elevation: 807 feet Difficulty: Easy Red Ribbon & Local Tips: Both parking lots have a $5 parking fee for St. Mary. The area is also a great place to improve your mountaineering skills or go skiing in the middle of summer.
Talk about Colorado’s iconic view! Maroon Lakes offers the best of Bells, which is Maroon Bells. If you are lucky you will see the full reflection of this high peak in front of the lake. It’s a busy area, but there’s a reason the view is delicious!
Distance: 1.9 miles Elevation: 160 feet Difficulty: Easy Red tape and local tip: Maroon Lake is worth a visit all year round, including winter (very cold).
Also note that there are restrictions on where you can walk, so follow the signs and rules. no dog
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Another noteworthy alpine lake hike near Breckenridge is Crystal Lake, which offers the dual charm of solitude and scenery.
The round trip distance from the lower trail is about 8 miles depending on the route including walking, but the upper trail is actually an easy 4 mile round trip. You need high ground clearance to get to the top.
Distance: depends. 8 to 4 miles round trip Altitude: depends. 2,568 feet maximum, approximately at Wheeler Trail take-off. Difficulty: easy to medium depending on the route. Red tape and local tips: Unlike many of Colorado’s famous high-clearance roads (where you can usually get away with a small SUV), the road to the top of Crystal Lake is a real jeep trail.
Start on the main road and either take Crystal Creek Road (up the ramp on the right if you’re looking at the end of the lot) or straight on (about 5 cars coming out) to the top of the lot where the off-trail vehicular road intersects.
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Follow the Wheeler Trail to the junction with Crystal Creek Road. There are many campsites and dog-friendly areas.
Isabel Lake is one of the best winter hikes in Colorado (add about five miles round trip for a winter hike). In the summer, this is one of the best and easiest lake hikes in Colorado.
Start at Lake Brainard and head up the valley to Lake Isabel, where you’ll see the Isabel Glacier, a permanent ice field.
Distance: 4.4 miles in summer, 11 miles in winter Altitude: 448 in summer, 1030 in winter Difficulty: Easy (moderate in winter) Red Ribbon & Local Tips: Daily fee required to use the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. There is no toll in winter, but the road is closed. They’ve been working in the area recently, so check with the Forest Service for the latest information.
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If you’re looking for a modest day trip with a lot of visual benefit, check out Silver Dollar Lake outside of Georgetown. This modest route evokes the classic appeal of Colorado Rocky Mountain.
You also get two lakes for the cost of one hike. Wildflowers are quite magical in the summer.
Distance: 3.9 miles Altitude: 1062 feet Difficulty: Medium Bureaucracy and Local Tips: Sometimes the road is closed, which adds about a mile each way. All in all, it’s a gentle hike with its own views, well worth the short trip if you’re in the area.
For a real adventure, combine hiking with the lake
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