The Coyote Valley Trail is a half mile long, wheelchair accessible path on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Kawuneeche Valley. The wide, flat trail follows the Colorado River as it flows along the margin of the forest and a sprawling mountain meadow. There are plenty of benches for taking a break or just taking in the view. A picnic area with seven tables is available just a short walk from the handicapped parking area.
The trail starts at the Coyote Valley Parking Area which is located about five miles from the western entrance of the park. Restrooms and a trail map are available at the trailhead. The path goes west for a short distance before crossing a bridge over the Colorado River and arriving at the picnic area.
At this point the trail takes a right turn and follows the river heading north. Keep a look out for wildlife. One of the many interpretive signs along the path explains that the streamside, or riparian, ecosystem supports more plants and animals than anywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park. It reads, in part, “some animals – like beaver, muskrats, and moose – live here year-round, while deer and elk visit only briefly to drink. Birds nest in plants….and trout spawn in shallow waters.”
After a short walk the trail splits and forms a small loop . At the end of the balloon (a loop at the end of an out and back trail is sometimes called a balloon hike), retrace your steps back to the picnic area and parking lot. More interpretive signs along the way give information about how the glacial valley was formed, life in a mountain meadow, and visitors to the Kawuneeche Valley through history.
-For an easy, wheelchair accessible trail on the east side of park, see Lily Lake – An Easy, Free Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.