Lily Lake – An Easy, Free Hike in Rocky Mountain NP

If you’re looking for an accessible, easy, and free hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Lily Lake would be a good choice. The lake is located about five miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7. The parking area, trailhead, restrooms, picnic tables, and a fishing pier are just steps from road at about 9,000 feet above sea level. The one mile long trail hugs the shores of the lake, is well maintained, flat, and wide.

Path at Lily Lake near Estes Park

For a little bit more of a challenge and great views of the Rocky Mountain National Park’s highest peaks, Long’s Peak (14,259) and Mt. Meeker (13,911), visitors can take the Lily Ridge Trail. The Lily Ridge Trail starts at the lake parking area and runs 1.1 miles along the ridge before rejoining the lake trail.

Pets and bikes are prohibited on the trails. Catch and release fly fishing for the native greenback cutthroat trout is allowed.

A little history on the Lily Lake shore

Enos A. Mills, called the “Father of Rocky Mountain National Park“, once had a cabin by Lily Lake. Mills led the effort to have the area made into a national park. He made forty solo trips to the top of Longs Peak and another 300 as a guide. His first ascent up the 14’er was at age 15, shortly after moving to Colorado from Kansas.

Lily Lake and the Continental Divide

Lily Lake and the Continental Divide beyond

A bench at Lily Lake in RMNP

A bench at Lily Lake in RMNP

Long's Peak and Mount Meeker over Lily Lake

Looking south over Lily Lake towards Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker

Lily Lake and Long's Peak

The lake trail, Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker in the background

Looking south from the south shore of Lily Lake

Looking south from the south shore of the Lake

Footbridge on the Lily Lake Trail

Crossing a small bridge on the trail

pier at Lily Lake in Colorado

Visitors to Lily Lake taking in the view from the fishing pier

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