9 Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park with Kids

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in Colorado, and nestled between Grand Lake and Estes Park, with entrances at either end. This place is awesome.  And huge.  Because of that, there are plenty of great, easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park to do with kids.

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We have visited this beautiful national park many times and during all ages and stages with our kids. Some toddled along while we carried others in a pack, and through the years they are now all hiking on their own.

We love this park and want to share the best, easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that the whole family can enjoy.

Here are all the best easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park!

pinnable image of easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, 4 images in a collage in background of scenic lakes and mountains

An Intro to Rocky Mountain National Park

Over four-and-a-half million people visited Rocky Mountain National Park in 2019, making it the 3rd most visited National Park.  If you want to see ALL of Rocky Mountain National Park, well…you might need to move there.  Our family has been up there a number of times and have barely made a dent in the park. 

Whether you are looking for easy hikes, challenging climbs, lakes, waterfalls, ponds, or incredibly views, you’ll find it all at Rocky Mountain National Park. (And the kids will love it, too!)

Rocky Mountain National Park is quite large. There are two main sides to the park: The Estes Park Side (east side) and the Grand Lake Entrance (west side).

This post will mainly focus on the east side, as it is the more popular side.

You can read more about great hiking on the west side.

girl on hike, mountains in back at Rocky Mountain National Park with kids

Best Hikes for Kids in Rocky Mountain National Park (East Side)

If you’re heading to Rocky Mountain National Park with kids, one of the best things to do is hike! Here are a few easier hikes for families that everyone will enjoy.

1 & 2. Lily Lake and Sprague Lake

Of course with 4 kids, we aren’t able to scale mountains and hike 10 miles at a time.

These are the best easy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park for if you have toddlers or strollers.

You’ll get the beautiful water and views in an easy stroll. Plus, Sprague Lake is known as one of the best places to spot a moose.

We have hit many of the easy, leisurely places to explore, such as Sprague Lake and Lily Lake.  Each of these lakes are easily accessed as you can park right there.

They also are great hikes for kids because they are easy and with minimal elevation. As a bonus, these lake trails are stroller-friendly, so baby can enjoy the views too 🙂

>>Make sure you have all the right stuff for a great hike!<<

3. Alluvial Fan

Distance: .5 mile from East lot; .3 mile from West Lot

Level: Easy (though there is a short steep section on East side)

How to get to the Alluvial Fan in Rocky Mountain National Park

This is one of the easiest hikes for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Enter the Fall River Entrance Station. Shortly after you pass the Sheep Lakes on the left, take a Right (follow the signs to Alluvial Fan). A small parking lot will appear, or continue on to the second parking lot.

Alternatively, if you are already in the park and on Bear Lake Road, head back to highway 36 and turn left/west. You’ll then take highway 34 east and then take a left to Fall River Road. The parking lot will be down the road and on your right.

What You Need to Know About Hiking to the Alluvial Fan with Kids

The Alluvial Fan is located on the northern side of RMNP (East Entrance). Reaching the water is just a short walk/hike from the parking lot. Note that there are two small parking lots; one of each side of the trail with the water feature right in the middle.

If you come upon the first (east) lot and it is full, drive a little farther and try your luck at the west lot. The walk is short from either end. It’s another one of the easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park that you can take a stroller on.

water flowing down rocks at Alluvian Fan in Rocky Mountain National Park

Alluvial Fan Water Fall in fall (I imagine it’s pretty awesome and full in spring!)

The east lot has a short section of 19% grade, so it’s a little steep, but totally doable for kids. The trail is a groomed, packed pebble trail. It is accessible for chairs and strollers, though you may want to check the west lot first if you are worried about the steep grade.

Once you come upon the water, it’s a beautiful sight! The kids can play across the large rocks in the stream or you can view the scene from a beautiful bridge. To get close to the main waterfall, you do have to scramble a bit over rocks, so just enjoy it from a distance if you’d like.

4. Bear Lake– Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Distance: .5 miles

Level: Easy

How to Get to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Enter the park through the Beaver Meadows Entrance. Shortly after entering, turn left on Bear Lake Rd (Requires reservation that includes this road!) Drive this road all the way to the end and it will put you in the Bear Lake Parking lot.

Note: The lot fills up quickly, so I suggest parking at the park and ride. You’ll see a sign for it, and it is right across from Glacier Basin. Park here and enjoy the ride to Bear Lake.

What to Know About Hiking Bear Lake With Kids

Bear Lake is one of the most popular spots on the east side of the park. Unless you decide to hike in from another location, you can park right at the lake (or take a shuttle from the park-and-ride if parking is full) and the lake is just steps away. 

Being one of the easier hikes for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park, it is accessible for chairs and strollers, and there are wooden benches all around the lake to stop and get some great pictures, relax and take in the view, or have a quick snack. 

The loop around the lake is just over a half-mile, so it can easily be done with little ones. 

5. Nymph Lake

Distance: .5 Miles one way

Level: Easy

How to Get to Nymph Lake

The trailhead for Nymph Lake is the same place as Bear Lake. Either park at Bear Lake, or take the shuttle to Bear Lake.

lily pads on Nymph Lake Rocky Mountain National Park with kids hikes

What to Know About Hiking to Nymph Lake with Kids

Nymph Lake is a pretty easy trail, and it doesn’t take long to get there. Once you arrive, you’ll see a beautiful lake covered in lily pads. This cute lake is fun for kids to explore and there is plenty of space to walk around.

If it’s crowded right when you come upon it, keep walking and you’ll find a better spot to enjoy Nymph Lake.

Nymph lake is especially one of the great, easy hikes for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park because a good stroller could handle it.

Nymph Lake Trail continues on to two more lakes (Dream Lake and Emerald Lake…highly recommended!), if you’d like. Going past Nymph Lake is not stroller-friendly.

Check out the video below to see highlights of the entire trail!

Emerald Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

6. Bierstadt Lake Trail

Distance: about 3 miles round-trip to the lake and back

Level: Moderate (has some incline the first half, but nothing too strenuous)

How to Get to the Bierdstadt Lake Trailhead

If your kids are accustomed to hiking a bit, then Bierstadt trail is another of the great hikes for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Getting to the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead is easy. Enter through the Beaver Meadows Entrance and head to Bear Lake Road. Park in the park-n-ride, (grab your mask!), and take the shuttle to the Bierstadt Lake stop.

There is a parking lot for Bierstadt Lake Trailhead, but it only fits a couple cars, so I definitely recommend the shuttle.

hiking trail to Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park with kids hike

Bierstadt Lake is less of a leisurely stroll, and more of an up-the-mountain, 566-foot elevation gain hike.  This trail is not stroller friendly, but I would recommend setting the baby in a carrier (front or back) and taking baby along!

The bigger kids chat with each other or find cool rocks and don’t even notice how it ascends. 

We’ve done this hike in the summer and gotten stuck in a storm, and we’ve done it in spring when the top was still snow-covered. That just made it all the more fun (the snow, not the thunderstorm) for the kids though and they didn’t seem to mind at all.

You’ll have to decide your kid’s attitude and experience hiking. We’ve done this a couple times, and ours did fine.

Make sure to bring a pack with snacks and water and other necessities. And of course, always carry out what you bring in. Here is our favorite day pack to carry.

7. Bierstadt Lake Trailhead to Bear Lake

Distance: 3 Miles

Level: Moderate

About 3 miles from Bierstadt trailhead to Bear Lake

Start with the same trail as above, but instead of stopping at Bierstadt lake, keep going to Bear Lake. 

Altogether, it is about a 3-mile hike (Bierstadt trailhead –> Bierstadt Lake –> Bear Lake).  You can then take the shuttle from Bear Lake back to the park-n-ride (or Bierstadt Trailhead, if you were lucky to get a spot there).

It took us a few hours, but all the kids had a great time.  We put the 3-year-old in a hiking backpack.  The 5, 7, and 9-year old put on their walking shoes and did great, noticing the different flowers and searching for animals. 

On the start of the trail, you overlook mountains and can see yourself get higher and higher off the road as you complete each switchback.  Once you are at the top, the trees get much thicker.  The terrain is flatter and the air smells like forest.  It is very peaceful. 

The rest of the hike was up and down terrain through the trees.  It was a beautiful trail, filled with greenery and large boulders along the side.  It ended at the Bear Lake loop.

Do your high-elevation or long hikes early in the morning.  Weather can change quickly and you do not want to get stuck at the top of a mountain as a thunderstorm rolls in (as happened to us)

8. Alberta Falls

Distance: 1.2 miles roundtrip OR 2 miles roundtrip

Level: Easy to Moderate

How to Get to the Alberta Falls Trailhead

The shortest hike for Alberta Falls can be accessed from Glacier Gorge Junction. You can take the shuttle here, and it’s about .6 miles to the falls. While it is shorter, it is also an incline of over 150 feet in just over a half mile.

You can also access Alberta Falls from the Bear Lake Trailhead. The waterfall is about 1 mile from here, making a 2 mile roundtrip.

OR- you could begin at Bear Lake, hike to Alberta Falls, and then continue through to Glacier Gorge Junction, making a 1.6 mile hike. From there you can take the shuttle to wherever you need to go to more hikes for kids in Rocky Mountain National Park.

9. Copeland Falls – Easy Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

Distance: .3 miles

Level: Easy

How to Get to Copeland Falls

Copeland Falls is located in the very southern part of Rocky Mountain National Park on the East Side. From Estes Park, head south on CO-7 for about 12 miles. Turn into the Wild Basin Entrance Station and head to the Wild Basin Trailhead / finch Lake Trailhead. Copeland falls is just over a quarter-mile from the ranger station, and has minimal incline.

Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

These hikes are great for families and kids to enjoy. Each of them are beautiful and fun, yet each delivers a different type of scenery or feature along the way.

So if you are needing some beginner hikes, then try out one of these easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park the next time you visit for an awesome time!

pinnable image of easy hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, 4 images in a collage in background of scenic lakes and mountains

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  1. Beautiful! We moved to Idaho, so we’re now within driving distance of the park. We haven’t been yet, but we’d love to do a similar day with our kids here soon.

  2. Gorgeous part of the country. I was there many years ago in September and the trees turning all colors like your photos was amazing.

  3. Your photography is beautiful. Thanks for the weather tips. The kids and I are not morning people and prefer hiking mid-day. We’ll have to be mindful of storms in the future.

  4. Great info! I’m in Colorado now, and debating a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m not sure, since it’s the middle of winter!

    1. That’s a tough one! I’m sure it’s gorgeous, but the weather/temperature can make it hard to decide! And a lot is still closed from the fires, though a lot has reopened too!

  5. This is great! We have wanted to visit Rocky Mountain NP for a while, so hopefully one of these days. (I’m just intimidated by the driving time for now…)

  6. Looks like a fantastic day out for a family, I mean seriously – check out those views!

  7. All these kid-friendly hikes in Rocky Mountain NP look amazing! I’d most like to go to the Alluvial Fan waterfall hike — it looks so fun.

  8. So many amazing hikes!! I love hiking so much, I will have to had these to hikes to list!! thanks for sharing

  9. All these places are so beautiful! So nice to get the kids out to hike and learn to appreciate the beauty that nature has to offer.

  10. We have family in Colorado and all of these places are such amazing places to visit. We really should go out there more but the trek is just a long one and the weather is always so spotty in the off season, unless you are skiing.

  11. I would absolutely love to take a hike in the rocky mountains. I just know that it would be such a lovely adventure.

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