I knew I definitely wanted to visit the famous Rocky Mountain National Park during our visit to Colorado this past summer but I had no idea how to decide which part of the 415 square miles of the park I should visit during my one day there. There are 300 miles of hiking trails and I wanted to do a hike that is beautiful but not too strenuous. I decided to ask some fellow travelers as well as to ask again at the visitor’s center when we’d arrive. It seemed to me that many people kept recommending Bear Lake. Bear Lake is not really a hike (which is great if you have really little ones with you). It is more of a path surrounding a clear lake with magnificent mountains rising up all around it some reaching 12,000 feet in height. Just driving around in Rocky Mountain National Park affords views of the surrounding majestic mountains.
We visited during Covid19 and needed to make an online advance reservation in order to be admitted into the park. (there are limited amount of slots available per time slot). Once we arrived at the parking lot and headed to the Bear Lake path we stopped at the information kiosk to ask for a recommendation of another hike to do once we finish circling the lake. Although the Bear Lake loop path is not particularly long it took us at least an hour because of all the stops we made to admire the views and take photos (and to feed the chipmunks that beg for food).
We continued on to the Alberta Falls Trail to the Alberta Falls. The trailhead began right near the Bear Lake trail. The path was mostly through wooded areas, not difficult. As we got closer to the waterfall the trees parted and we enjoyed beautiful views. The waterfall itself was a large full beautiful waterfall. We sat there and enjoyed a snack before heading back. We did not hike all the way back but took the free shuttle from the street near the trail back to the Bear Lake parking lot where we picked up our car.
Posted: November 5, 2020
Information, prices and hours posted here are current as of the posted or updated date. It is advisable to call ahead or check online to confirm hours and prices.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Check online for the current hours.
1-Day Pass – Automobile – $25.00
Valid for date of purchase. Covers single, non-commercial vehicle with capacity of less than 16 passengers.
1-Day Pass – Per Person – $15.00
Valid for date of purchase. Applies to walk-ins, bicycles, and non-commercial groups.
1-Day Pass – Motorcycle – $25.00
Valid for date of purchase. Covers one motorcycle.
If you have a fourth grader you can sign up to get free entrance to National Parks at: https://everykidoutdoors.gov/pass.htm