I hiked to Kruger Rock recently and now it’s one of my favorite local hikes. A two mile long trail leads to Kruger Rock which offers beautiful 360 degree views of mountains, lakes, and the nearby town of Estes Park. Kruger Rock is located in the Roosevelt National Forest, 3 miles east of Estes Park on Highway 36, in the Hermit Park Open Space.
There is a six dollar fee to enter the open space, payable at the park office near the gates. A free map is available, but it’s mainly good for finding parking areas and campsites. The trail map isn’t very detailed. Parking for the trail is located about two miles back a dirt road on the left. To reach the trailhead from the parking lot, walk past the pavilion and toilets and look for the trail sign near the road. The rocky peak of Kruger rock is visible from here, jutting up from the forest to the west.
The path starts out going through open fields, past a stand of aspens, then around a few rocky switchbacks before entering a pine forest. Along this ridge is where the first really nice views can be seen.
The trail turns left (west) at this point and climbs steadily uphill until it reaches Kruger Rock. The last fifty feet or so of the hike is a little rock scramble to the peak, but nothing too hard. After reaching the top of Kruger Rock at 9,355 ft. in elevation, you’ll have climbed almost 1,000 feet up from the parking area. The reward, a spectacular 360 degree view (check out the video below).