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Alpine Ridge Trail

Hiking trail
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Alpine Ridge Trail
    / Alpine Ridge Trail
    Photo: Chase Marston, Macs Adventure
m 3640 3620 3600 3580 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 km
A short out and back hike from the visitor's center on Trail Ridge Road. Though less than a mile, the rewarding views provide a worthwhile hike!
Distance 1 km
0:25 h
56 m
56 m

After parking at the Alpine Visitor's center, continue to the rear of the parking lot to join the .3 mile walk to the top of a nearby peak. The route is mostly paved with sections of built in stairs, and has numerous educational signs along the way up. Make sure to take time to read these informational blurbs to gain a better understanding of the surrounding peaks. And, if you have time, take advantage of the café and gift shop. 


The hike also takes you to nearly 12,000ft, so make sure to take it slow and bring water, even though it is a short walk!

Author’s recommendation

As with all of the days of hiking, and early start helps as parking can be limited at the visitor's center. However, there is a high turnover as many cars don't stay long. 
Profile picture of Chase Marston
Chase Marston
Update: July 16, 2019
Highest point
3,656 m
Lowest point
3,599 m

Safety information

Please 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.


The hike also takes you to nearly 12,000ft, so make sure to take it slow and bring water, even though it is a short walk!

Tips and hints

Points of Interest


Alpine Visitors Center

This hike starts and ends at the Visitors Center, which is a wealth of knowledge about Rocky Mountain National Park! 


Alpine Ridge Trail Signage

The trail is full of informational signs helping walkers understand the vegitation, surrounding peaks, and seasonality of the region. 


Food & Drink


After leaving Estes Park, there will not be a distinct town until Grand Lake. Make sure to bring plenty of food for the whole day's adventure. However, the Visitor's center does have a café should you need to get food before or after this hike. 


Alpine Ridge Visitor's Center (3,599 m)
40.441484, -105.754032
40°26'29.3"N 105°45'14.5"W
13T 436052 4477032


Alpine Ridge Visitor's Center

Turn-by-turn directions

0.0 miles - Walk to the end of the parking lot while keeping the visitor's centre to your right. Here you will find the beginning of the trail and its well-maintained stairs. Continue STRAIGHT ON up the stairs on over the pavement until the top of the knoll. 


0.3 miles - ARRIVE at the top of the trail and the end of the out and back. Take time to enjoy the views, and then return the way you came. 


0.6 miles - Arrive back at the visitor's centre and end this hike. 


all notes on protected areas


40.441484, -105.754032
40°26'29.3"N 105°45'14.5"W
13T 436052 4477032
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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.

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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1 km
0:25 h
56 m
56 m


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