There’s quite a lot to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. Veteran visitors confirm it’s an exceptional place, even as American national parks go. One of the most popular activities there is hiking. Still, with more than 300 miles of trails, it’s pretty hard to choose. So to help you decide, here are the eight best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

1. Gem Lake

OK, we know Gem Lake is not actually in Rocky Mountain National Park, but it is nearby just north of Estes Park, and it really is a gem. The hike here begins at Lumpy Ridge. It has a substantial elevation gain of 1,000 feet and a total elevation of 7,870 feet.

This national park trek takes you through aspen groves to Gem Lake. It’s a small, picturesque pool flanked by high, rugged rock walls, with memorable views that extend southwards toward stunning Longs Peak. Allow yourself three or more hours for this hike because you’ll want to have a snack, relax at the lake, and check out the rock formations.

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