Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park: Create Lasting Memories

Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park: Create Lasting Memories

The moments we create with our loved ones live with us forever. If you asked a random person the fondest memory they shared with their parents, chances are high it will be one when they were still a toddler. Sharing fun experiences might not mean much for adults but means the world to our kids.

One of the best places to bond as a family is the outdoors. Going for a stroll and enjoying the scenery is an exceptional experience. Rocky Mountain National Park is a wonderful spot to enjoy the rugged outdoors of colorful Colorado.

Perched in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its towering peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and diverse wildlife, it offers an ideal setting for family adventures.

Hiking with kids in Rocky Mountain National Park can be a transformative experience, fostering a love for the great outdoors, and creating lasting memories. In this article, we look at the most kid-friendly hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park to help you plan your next adventure.

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Nymph Lake-0.5 miles (One way)

To access this hiking trail, you will go to Bear Lake. The walk to Nymph Lake is about half a mile one way and usually takes around 20 minutes making it a fairly easy hike. This trail links up with other paths in Rocky Mountain National Park, such as Dream Lake and Emerald Lake trails.

If you want to keep hiking after reaching Nymph Lake, it’s another 0.6 miles to get to Dream Lake, and then an additional 0.7 miles to reach Emerald Lake. One of the most beautiful sights along this path is the Lilly pads! In the warm months, you can see lots of green leaves and bright yellow flowers floating on the water.

The trail is a mostly gentle uphill hike that’s suitable for hikers of all experience levels. The path isn’t too steep, with a total elevation gain of around 235 feet, although there are some slightly steeper parts. The trail to Nymph Lake is wide, mostly paved to support strollers, and is well-marked from the beginning, making it easy to follow.

Holzwarth Historic Site-1.3 miles (Round trip)

One of the most fascinating things from the early settlers on Rocky Mountain’s west side is the Holzwarth Historic Site. The Holzwarth family built the old guest ranch in the 20th century, which they called the Never Summer Ranch.

You can take a 1.3-mile hike there and back, and you will see the amazing Kawuneeche Valley. And if you have history buffs in your entourage, they will enjoy exploring the guest cabins and other buildings there.

In summer, volunteers offer tours of the property giving guests a glimpse of what life was like in the early 1900s. In peak season, a park ranger-led program runs once a week and it entails making a campfire, singing songs, and storytelling. The hike to get to Holzwarth is about 0.5 miles from where the trail starts. You can find this trailhead about 7.4 miles to the north of the Grand Lake Entrance on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Lily Lake – 0.8 miles loop

Lily Lake is revered by so many families for various reasons such as beautiful birds and colorful wildflowers along the path. The pleasant 0.8-mile path is also wheelchair and stroller accessible and goes around the lake offering some of the most beautiful scenery you will encounter in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Along the lake’s edge, you will find some picnic tables offering families resting spots to enjoy meals and take in the beautiful scenery. There is no admission fee needed to access Lily Lake. Just come in from Highway 7 on the east side of Rocky and park in one of the two parking areas. Keep in mind, that these parking spots fill up fast, go early in the morning or later in the day.

Alberta Falls – 1.6 miles (Round trip)

The easy walk to Alberta Falls, a beautiful tumbling spectacle, offers a great experience for all family members. The walk to the waterfall is almost as nice as seeing the waterfall itself. The rumble of gushing water with every step forward is a drum roll of what to expect when you reach the destination.

The trail is surrounded by trees, and it looks most beautiful in fall when the aspen leaves turn yellow. There are big rocks near Alberta Falls where you can relax or have a snack. To start this 1.6-mile round-trip walk, go to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. In the summer, the parking lot gets full early, so either gather your group very early in the morning or take the park shuttle.

Bear Lake – 0.8 Loop

The trail is a short walk around Bear Lake. It is less than a mile and takes about fifteen minutes to complete. If you want to enjoy beautiful scenery without doing much walking, this is the place to go! It’s one of the easiest hikes for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park and is also wheelchair and stroller accessible. In addition, there are benches around the lake to stop and take great pictures, relax, enjoy the view, or have a quick snack.

To get to the path, enter the park through the Beaver Meadows Entrance. After you enter, turn left onto Bear Lake Rd (you need a reservation for this road!) Just follow this road to the very end, and it will take you to the Bear Lake Parking lot.

Alluvial Fan – 0.5 miles from the East, 0.3 from the West

The Alluvial Fan is found north in Rocky Mountain National Park (using the East Entrance). It’s easy to get to the lake from the parking area. There are two small parking spots on either side of the trail, and the lake is right in the middle. If the east parking lot is full, go a bit farther and try the west lot.

Alluvial Fan is a great spot for a picnic lunch and perfect for families with vibrant kids who like climbing rocks. The route is also stroller-friendly ensuring toddlers do not miss the fun. You can also sit on a rock by the water and take in the beautiful scenery. The walk is short from both ends, and it is one of the most kid-friendly trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Hiking with kids in Rocky Mountain National Park is an unforgettable adventure that provides not only the opportunity to connect with nature but also to create lasting memories with your family. As we leave this pristine wilderness behind, we carry with us not only photographs but also a treasure trove of experiences that will forever enrich our lives.

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