Colorado Hiking: Rocky Mountain National Park

6 Days & 5 Nights 4.6 Read 5 reviews
  • Explore the best sections and hiking trails of Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Photograph bugling elk and bull moose wandering the 200,000 acres of protected wilderness
  • Drive Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States
  • Hike along the Continental Divide, marveling at 12,000-foot peaks, lakes and alpine tundra
  • Stay at the historic Stanley Hotel and the idyllic mountain cabins of Estes Park and Grand Lake
Hike the best trails and hidden gems of Rocky Mountain National Park, exploring the striking landscapes of the Continental Divide connecting Estes Park to Grand Lake. Starting in Estes Park, enjoy a quick loop around Estes Lake before venturing into the depths of Rocky Mountain National Park. Drive to Fern Lake for a point-to-point hike in Glacier Basin; discover glistening lakes, jagged peaks, brilliant wildflowers and lush forests of aspen and pine as you trek from Bear Lake to Moraine Park. Continue to Aspenglen to complete the eastern park circuit and for a hike up Deer Mountain. Drive along the iconic Trail Ridge Road, or the “Highway in the Sky,” linking Estes Park to Grand Lake. Hike to nationally-acclaimed historic sites and along the high-alpine tundra of the Continental Divide. Each night, relax in iconic lodges and quaint cabins in the historic mining towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake.
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This tour is graded moderate, with daily hikes averaging around 6-9 miles. This tour is perfect for those who want to explore the expanse of Rocky Mountain National Park by foot and with the flexibility of their own car. Hikers should expect longer treks along dirt trails and varied terrain, at higher altitudes and exposed heights. Trails are well-signed, maintained and traveled frequently. Travel includes drives around town and up the narrow Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake. Enjoy staying at charming mountain towns, lodges and cabins each night.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.


Drive & Hike | Enjoy the best of a large region by car and on foot. Day hikes in the best places. Itinerary usually inn to inn, with mapping provided. No bag transfer. Car hire offered as an option or included.

Ideal if you have an interest in:

Wildlife, National Parks & Trails, Mountains

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 5 Years


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Activity Level & Terrain

This tour is graded moderate, with four days of hiking and a maximum distance of 9 miles. Daily hikes average around 6-9 miles (4-7 hours) along well-signed and well-traveled trails, regularly monitored and maintained by National Park rangers and staff. The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.


Navigating is easy using the Macs Adventure Navigation App. Your daily hikes will be mapped in the app with GPX tracks, route notes and turn-by-turn directions. All of these resources are available to download for offline use, which is recommended as cell service can at times be spotty within the National Park.

You will be provided with trip specific contact information in addition to 24/7 telephone support from Macs Adventure should you require assistance.

Experience & Fitness

Due to being a National Park on 265,769 acres of preserved federal land, the trails are available to hikers only.

As weather patterns in the mountains are often unpredictable and can change suddenly, hikers should be prepared for hiking in the rain, mud and on the rare occasion, snow, should there be an early or late snow season that year.

Daily afternoon thunderstorms are a common occurrence in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. As a rule of thumb, it is best to get an early start for each hike to avoid exposure to thunderstorms and lightning strikes.


We specifically hand-picked your accommodations in comfortable mountain lodges and cabins to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay while exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.

All accommodations are conveniently located only a short walking distance to each town’s main plaza and restaurants. Additionally, each offers individual character and welcoming hospitality.

Single Rooms & Solo Travelers

This trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you’d like separate rooms, a single supplement is required.If you would like to request a twin room (same room with two separate beds), please notify us during booking so we can request this option

This trip is also available to solo hikers (a solo supplement is required).


While staying in Estes Park and Grand Lake, you can choose to eat breakfast at nearby restaurants and bakeries (not included). In Grand Lake, most private cabins have a small kitchenette to cook and store food, should you choose to make breakfast in the morning instead.

Lunches and dinners are not included in this trip. For lunches, you can find markets, cafés or restaurants located within each town for dining out or to purchase a packed lunch to take with you on hikes. For dinner, you can dine at local restaurants all within a short walking distance from your night’s stay.  

  • 5 Nights at hand-selected mountain lodges and cabins
  • 3 Breakfasts
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Turn-by-turn route notes and driving directions
  • Macs Adventure Navigation App for mobile phone
  • 24/7 telephone support
  • Rocky Mountain National Parks Pass and Timed Entrance Permit
  • Rental Car
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Additional nights before, during or after the trip
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities and tips
  • Flights
  • Extra Nights in Estes Park and Grand Lake
  • Room Upgrades (only where applicable)

When To Go

The best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park is July and August for clear skies, warmer weather, drier trails and frequent wildlife viewings. June is also a great month to visit (winter season depending), as wildflowers are in full bloom or fall foliage is at its peak.  This trip is available to start on any day of the week from June to September, during the peak summer and fall season. As these locations are year-round tourist destinations, we suggest youbook as soon as your plans are finalized to ensure availability for specific dates.;

Note, due to a heavy snow winter in Colorado, some of the higher elevations hikes for this trip may be impacted by snow into late June, and possible as late as early July. Please call your Macs representative with any questions about the current snow-pack conditions and trip availability. 

Getting to the Start

By Air

Denver International Airport, has flights from international and national destinations.

Upon arrival at the airport, follow signs pointing you in the direction of the rental car agency to pick-up your rental car. Budget, Enterprise and Hertz are some of the many rental car agencies available to rent from Denver International Airport. Driving to Estes Park takes about two hours from the airport.

Getting Around

For additional transportation services outside the provided itinerary, such as a taxi to a specific restaurant or location, the host at your evening’s accommodation can help assist you in making the necessary arrangements.

Getting from the End

Depending on your travel arrangements, you may want to drive back to Denver or continue onward to Winter Park and other nearby summer/ski resort destinations. While rental cars can be returned at Denver International Airport, we suggest arranging your preferred drop-off location during pick-up.

If desired, you can easily add-on a rental car to this itinerary. Please notify us at the time of booking and we would be happy to assist you (additional costs apply).

General Information

National Park Entrance Fees

While hiking within Rocky Mountain National Park, a parking pass will have to be purchased upon arrival at one of the three park entrance stations: Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, Fall River Entrance Station or the Grand Lake Entrance Station. We recommend purchasing a week pass for this trip (7-day park pass, $35 via cash or credit card, not included). Or you can purchase an annual park pass at $80 (which includes entrance at any US National Park for a full year). For more information or to purchase a National Park pass online prior to trip departure click this link and visit the national park pass section found within the pre-departure information pack.

Rocky Mountain Timed Entrance Permit (New 2021)

Rocky Mountain National Park is the fourth most visited National Park in the USA. To ease traffic inside the park, they have introduced a timed entry permit system new for 2021. Tickets go on sale at 8:00 AM MST on the 1st of the month, for the following month. For example, tickets for the month of July will be released on June 1st at 8:00 AM MST. Tickets will sell out almost immediately, sometimes within just a few minutes, so we strongly advise purchasing tickets at that time. If you aren’t able to secure tickets at that time, a small number of additional tickets will be available to purchase at 5:00 PM MST the day before your desired day of entry. For example, some tickets for July 24th can be purchased at 5:00 PM MST on July 23rd.

There are two permits available. The Bear Lake Corridor ticket is the permit you will need on Day 2; on Day 3, 4, and 5, you will need the Park Access (excludes Bear Lake Rd) permit. On Day 2, you do not need a permit if you enter before 5 am. On Day 3, 4, and 5, you do not need a permit as long as you enter before 9 am.

If you can’t secure a permit when they go on sale for your preferred time, we suggest simply entering the park early! An early start is also fantastic for wildlife viewing so we always recommend an early start in Rocky Mountain National Park. Below are the website links to view more information and secure the tickets.

To purchase tickets:
For more information:


Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a packing list on what to bring. This includes warm and cold hiking gear, hiking boots, rain gear and lots of other specifics.

Please be prepared by packing all the necessary items for a comfortable trip. If you have any questions about what to take, we'd be happy to share our own top tips and advice. 

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip. For more information, please visit our travel insurance page by clicking this link.

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Day 1 Arrive Estes Park Day 2 Hike Bear Lake to Fern Lake - 9 miles 9 miles / 14.5 km Day 3 Hike Deer Mountain - 6 miles 6 miles / 9.5 km Day 4 Explore Trail Ridge Road & Hike Colorado River - 8 miles Day 5 Hike the Continental Divide - 9 miles 9 miles / 14.5 km Day 6 Onward Travel

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