Safety informationPlease note that in the early part of the summer, parts of the trail go through habitat that is commonly inhabited by elk during the calving season. Mother elk can become territorial during this time, and it is important never to approach an elk, especially with a calf. The National Park posts cautionary and informational signs during the calving season to help you stay aware of elk habitat.
Tips and hints
Points of Interest
Estes Park Visitors Center
This hike starts and ends at the Visitors Center, which is a wealth of knowledge about Rocky Mountain National Park! Take some time to familiarize yourself with the layout, history, and ecology of the park, along with the locations of the various hikes you'll be completing during your tour.
Lake Estes Marina
The Marina (which you'll pass about 2/3 of the way through your hike) is a great place to sit and enjoy the lake! It faces the mountains, and even has some sandy beach areas where you can take off your shoes and wade into the water before continuing along the path.
Matthews-Reeser Bird Sanctuary
On the western bank of the lake is the Matthews-Reeser Bird Sanctuary, a small wetland area that makes for prime bird-watching. You'll find some educational signs along the path itself that help you know which species to keep an eye out for!
Food & Drink
About 2/3 of the way through today's hike you'll pass the Estes Park Resort, which does have a restaurant where you can stop for food if you wish. Otherwise, the best option for food will be to pick up snacks and water in town before starting the walk, as you will not pass any grocery or convenience stores along the trail itself.
We recommend wearing hiking boots that are well broken-in, plus a rain jacket and waterproof trousers in wet weather, as well as taking sun cream and a hat on nicer days.
In your information pack, you’ll find a detailed list of all the required hiking gear, including some good hiking boots, appropriate clothing, a rain jacket and a backpack.