What Hiking Trail Is Near Lily Lake in Colorado?
Rocky Mountain National Park in north-central Colorado is home to 415 square miles of mountains, forests and pristine alpine lakes. Lily Lake is easy to reach and provides the opportunity to enjoy the fresh mountain air, scenic vistas and recreational opportunities such as fishing and hiking.
Two family friendly trails offer views of the lake – one that loops the shoreline and another that takes hikers along a ridge above the lake.
About Lily Lake
Lily Lake is located along Highway 7, about 6.5 miles south of Estes Park. A parking area is available at the Lily Lake entrance. If that lot is full, additional parking is available across the highway at the Lily Lake Visitor Center. Access to the 17-acre lake and its amenities are free.
No bicycles or other vehicles are allowed on the Lily Lake and Lily Ridge trails. Leashed pets are allowed in the parking area but not on the trails.
Lily Lake Trail
The Lily Lake Trail, slightly less than a mile in length, is a developed, handicap-accessible loop that winds along the shoreline and provides scenic vistas of the lake, surrounding wetlands and nearby mountains, including Estes Cone, Longs Peak, the Twin Sisters peaks and Mount Meeker.
The trail features a natural, packed-gravel surface, is mostly level and is lined with logs. The loop includes occasional benches and several small wooden bridges. Wildflowers typically bloom along the trail’s edge in spring and early summer.
Lily Ridge Trail
If you hike the Lily Lake Trail counterclockwise, you will see the Lily Ridge trailhead just a short distance ahead, near the first wooden bridge. The Lily Ridge Trail begins at the lake’s northeast corner and makes a moderate, quick ascent of approximately 350 feet through rocky terrain and up to the ridge before leveling off and generally following the northern shoreline of the lake before rejoining the Lily Lake Trail at the lake’s northwest edge.
The Lily Ridge Trail is approximately .7 mile long by itself and travels along wooded and rocky areas but also provides several scenic overlooks of the lake. If you hike the Lily Ridge Trail, then complete the Lily Lake Loop counterclockwise, the total distance is approximately 1.3 miles.
Other Activities and Amenities
A picnic area and a pit toilet sit near the Lily Lake trailhead, and another small picnic area lies along the lake’s south shore.
The lake is popular with anglers, who drop their lines for species such as greenback cutthroat trout, brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. Anglers 16 and older must have a valid Colorado fishing license, and any fish caught must be released back into the lake.