Lily Lake Loop Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Length: 0.9 mi.
Width: 54 in.
Surface type: fine crushed stone and sand
Typical grade: 1 %
Maximum grade: 4 %
Typical cross slope: 1%
Maximum cross slope: 17 % see description and photo #9
Obstacles: high cross slope (described in text)
Use Fee required?: timed entry permit in summer
Accessible features: two accessible parking spots and single vault toilet.
What a beautiful, easy trail within Rocky Mountain National Park! The Lily Lake Trail:
• is at 8,880 feet in elevation
• is almost flat
• Is just under a mile if done as a loop
• surfaces are mostly finely crushed stone, and there is some boardwalk
Stunning views include Longs Peak, Lily Lake, wildflowers (seasonal), a marsh, and a beautiful evergreen forest on the north side.
At the time I hiked the trail (August, 2021), there was one area of concern. A storm had washed debris across the trail so one small area had considerable side slope. National Park Service trail rangers were aware of the issue and acknowledged the need to do more than just shovel away the newly washed in dirt and gravel. A redesign of this area would be required to prevent the next storm from recreating the obstacle.
If this obstacle exists when you hike the Lily Lake Trail, you could turn around and retrace your steps OR traverse the small area with a hiking partner. If you start the trail clockwise, you can hike the majority of the trail before you reach the obstacle.
The Lily Lake Trail begins adjacent to Highway 7, six miles south of the town of Estes Park. The parking lot fills quickly so you may need to wait for a spot to empty OR park in the larger ldirt ot across the highway. There is a 6-inch pavement drop off when you attempt to cross the highway using the shortest route to/from the trail. To avoid the drop off, you’ll need to venture a short distance down the highway.
This trail is definitely worth the minor inconvenience of the crowded parking lot and the very small section with a lot of cross slope. Don’t miss it!
August 13, 2021