“A quick loop right off of the peak-to-peak highway near Estes that offers a taste of RMNP's bounty.
— Brian Smith
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is a great way to experience a taste of RMNP's bountiful scenery, flora and fauna. It's an easy drive (or shuttle ride) from Estes Park and the trail is located directly off of the highway.
Any trail from the Lily Lake
trailhead is bound to be packed during the prime tourist season. Don't expect to put down any PR's running this loop, unless you're wearing snowshoes.
From the Lily Lake
TH, start out on the Lily Lake Trail
in a clockwise direction. This section of trail offers a nice, flat warm-up with stunning views of Longs Peak (14,259') and Mount Meeker (13,911') and, of course, the serene Lily Lake
. Once you've reached the opposite side of the lake, look for the Lily Ridge Trail
to branch off to the left - take it.
Lily Ridge Trail
switchbacks its way up the ridge on the northern shore of the lake before flattening out and descending to the lake's eastern shore. This trail could prove a slight challenge for some but the views down on the lake are worth it if you're willing to put in the extra work.
Once you descend back to the lake, you'll be back at the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
The wildflowers around Lily Lake
are stunning in the spring after the snow melts. Keep an eye out for deer, birds of prey and the [not so] occasional chipmunk.