We love going to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Our love for the Rockies started on our honeymoon. Now we are thrilled to be able to share the experience of this amazing park with our children. I love hikes that have some water component… all of these do and they’re all under 5 miles. If you’d like more information on how U.S. children in 4th grade can get in free, click here.
5 Great Family Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
If you’re about to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, I’ve listed some great books for kids at the bottom of this post.
1. Bear Lake
A great first hike to get your little hikers warmed up. It’s right next to the water and has huge boulders if they like to climb rocks. It’s an easy loop that is also stroller friendly. This trail connects to Alberta Falls (see tip below).
Distance: .7 miles
Elevation Gain: 25 feet
2. Alberta Falls
Follow the pretty stream to a roaring waterfall. This hike can begin at Bear Lake (above).
Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 220 feet
Tip: If your family is up for it, both Bear Lake and Alberta Falls can be done together. Park at the Bear Lake Park & Ride. Take the shuttle to Bear Lake. When you finish Bear Lake, go directly to Alberta Falls. The best ranger secret is to take the Glacier Pathway back to the shuttle to get your car. It saves you from the last uphill. Keep your eye out for that sign.
3. Sprague Lake (top picture)
You can drive and park at Sprague Lake, but it helps to go early. It’s flat, beautiful, and easy. Stroller friendly. Excellent place to picnic and go for a stroll.
Distance: .8 miles
Elevation Gain: 10 feet
4. Emerald Lake
A little steeper hike, but great for families that like to hike. Climb a smooth trail past 2 lakes to Emerald Lake in Tyndall Gorge.
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 713 feet
5. Cub Lake
Nice trail next to wetlands. Ends at a lake with lilypads. Little steeper and longer compared to the other ones.
Distance: 4.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 540 feet
Where to Stay?
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Estes Park (just outside of Rocky National Park), we’ve stayed at Black Canyon Inn and the YMCA of the Rockies.
Books for Kids (affiliate links)
- The Mystery in the Rocky Mountains by Carol Marsh (click here)
- Hey Ranger! Kids Ask Questions about Rocky Mountain National Park (click here)
- Who Pooped in the Park? Rocky Mountain National Park (click here)