Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking & Camping

Trip Length 5 Days
Group Size 4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,699 for REI Members
$1,874 for non-members
Departures Jun 2022-Aug 2022

Spectacular Rocky Mountain National Park is our wilderness playground on this active 5-day adventure filled with majestic alpine scenery and invigorating fun.

Jagged peaks, wildflower-covered meadows, crystalline lakes and abundant wildlife—Rocky Mountain National Park is a mecca for outdoor adventure and exploration in a diverse ecosystem that feels far removed from the hustle of daily life. Our immersive itinerary is carefully designed to maximize scenic opportunities, taking us on trails through lush forests, past cascading waterfalls, and to awe-inspiring views of the park's towering peaks along the way. Our campground, nestled within this gem of the National Park system, positions us perfectly to strike out each day on a variety of hikes, chosen to showcase the splendor and beauty of the fabled Rocky Mountains. Our guides do the planning, cooking, and driving, so the hardest decision each day will be which panorama was the most epic and who had the best wildlife sighting.

Midway through our exploration, we jump in our rafts for a half-day whitewater trip down the Cache la Poudre, Colorado's only designated "Wild and Scenic River", for an exhilarating change of pace. Before returning to Denver, we drive up and over Trail Ridge Road, nicknamed the Highway in the Sky and rated one of the country’s top ten most beautiful drives.

Each day's adventure unwinds into delightful nights at our comfortable campsite, where we savor well-earned, delicious meals prepared by our guides and share stories around the campfire with newfound friends. A perfect high-country escape to relax your mind and recharge your spirit. To top off our adventure before returning to Denver, we drive up and over Trail Ridge Road, nicknamed the Highway in the Sky and rated one of the country’s top ten most beautiful drives.

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the dramatic alpine landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park with our exceptional guides
  • Hike to over 10,000 feet where moose and marmot roam wild
  • Take a chilly dip in an alpine lake
  • Experience the famously scenic Trail Ridge Road
  • Savor delicious guide-prepared meals and sleep in comfort in our oversized tents


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members should be capable of hiking up to 7.5 miles daily (up to 6 hours) carrying a 5-10 pound day pack, over varied terrain with elevation gain and loss. There are some steep sections and exposed overlooks on the various trails we hike. Elevation gain/losses are between 800' and 1700' daily. Hikes take place at about 8500' to 11,000'.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Four nights camping accommodations; meals as indicated on the daily itinerary; professional guide services; transportation during the course of the trip. See this trip’s Gear List for details regarding any equipment that may be provided for your use during the trip.


Camping, 4 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Scenic drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and warm-up hike

Our trip begins this morning in Denver, Colorado. After meeting our guides and fellow travelers, a brief orientation ensures we're all prepared before we load into our private van and set out for Rocky Mountain National Park. Arriving at the park, we begin a (mostly) downhill hike through a forest of spruce, fir and lodgepole pine trees on top of the massive Bierstadt Moraine. This moderate trail allows us to acclimate to the park’s higher elevations and rewards us with stunning panoramic views of the jagged eastern face of the mountains along the Continental Divide. Along the way, we pause at Bierstadt Lake for a tasty guide-prepared lunch. After soaking in the dramatic alpine scenery all around us, we continue hiking directly to camp where appetizers and a hearty dinner await us in our comfortable outdoor home. The night ends around the campfire under a star-filled Rocky Mountain sky. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 4-6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: Minimal; Van transfer: 3 hours; Camp elevation: 8,500’

Day 2

Climb to sparkling alpine lakes lined with towering peaks

Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its sparkling alpine lakes carved into the slopes of rugged mountain peaks. Today we take in five of these gems on a beautiful loop hike. Situated in the Tyndall Gorge, Bear Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in the park. In addition to Bear Lake, we hike on a gradual ascent to Nymph Lake, lined by pond lilies and offering stunning views of Hallet Peak, Longs Peak and Glacier Gorge. One magnificent view leads to the next as we reach Lake Haiyaha in lower Chaos Canyon. Finally, we continue up a series of switchbacks to The Loch, another incredibly blue lake where we enjoy a picnic lunch. After a full day on the trail, our comfortable camp provides us just the right amount of pampering as we appreciate a delicious camp dinner and the camaraderie of our hiking companions. All meals included.

Note: In June, it's possible that late-season snow might prevent us from completing the full loop hike outlined above. In this case, we will change the itinerary to out-and-back hikes that still allow us to see many of the lakes. The benefit of early season departures is the enhanced beauty of the mountains with snow still on the peaks, and the greater chance to see baby animals.

Hiking: 7.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,738 / -2,738'

Day 3

Hiking into the Mummy Range

After breakfast we set off to see the park from a new perspective, leaving Bear Valley behind and venturing into the Mummy Range, a subrange of the Front Range made up of some of the most accessible 13,000-foot peaks in the Rockies. Near the start of our hike, we get a view of the infamous Old Fall River Road, the original auto route to Rocky Mountain National Park's high country, considered treacherously narrow and steep, requiring early cars to traverse the road in reverse because none of the other gears were strong enough to take on the 16% grade. Luckily today's hike is a more gradual ascent. We'll climb through a heavily wooded basin, soaking up the shade, and cross Roaring River via a footbridge. We'll take plenty of breaks as we climb, enjoying the scenic views and learning about alluvial fans We top out at 8,540 feet in elevation at beautiful Ypsilon Lake. This afternoon we’ll have time to visit one of the park’s visitor centers before taking time to relax and soak in the beauty of camp. All meals included.

Hiking: 8.2 miles, 2,270 ft gain/loss, Van Transfer: 45 minutes round trip

Day 4

Discover a trio of beautiful backcountry waterfalls

This morning we take a scenic drive along the eastern slope of Longs Peak in the Tahosa Valley to the Wild Basin Trailhead. Here, we load up our daypacks with lunch, snacks and cameras before setting out to visit three beautiful waterfalls. Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls are all uniquely captivating and offer a variety of great photographic opportunities. In the rushing streams, the songbird known as the water ouzel (or American dipper) entertains us as it flies along the water in a never-ending search for aquatic insects. This afternoon, those wanting to get back out on the trail can join our guides for a hike along the Lateral Moraine Trail with many scenic overlooks. Our guides prepare a special farewell dinner for us tonight, providing an opportunity to reflect on our exploratory adventures in this magnificent national park. All meals included.

Hiking: 4.9 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +887' / -1670'; Lateral Moraine hike (optional): 1.5 miles, Minimal elevation change; Van transfer: 1.5 hours roundtrip

Day 5

Hike in the alpine tundra and drive the scenic Trail Ridge Road

No adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park would be complete without driving across the Trail Ridge Road, widely considered one of the most beautiful drives in America. Gaining 4,500' in elevation, we see the vegetation and terrain transform while we try to spot marmots, elk and other wildlife that make this park their home. High in the alpine tundra, we stop to hike the Rock Cut Trail. Starting at over 11,000', this hike is much different than our previous hikes as we’re above tree line, affording us amazing views. Afterward, we continue on Trail Ridge Road across the backbone of the continent toward the west side of the park and the headwaters of the Colorado River. En route, we visit Holzwarth Historic Site for a short walk before continuing our drive back to Denver. We anticipate getting back to Denver between 6pm and 7pm tonight. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 1 mile above 11,000', Elevation gain/loss: +200' / -200'; Scenic drive on Trail Ridge Road: 2 hours with several breaks including hike; Total van transfer time: 4 hours

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose the proper equipment. Try to bring only what is necessary; this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.