The Lily Lake Trail, beginning at a parking lot on CO 7, follows the lake’s shoreline for 0.8 miles. The level trail, a popular hike for families and disabled visitors, offers scenic views of 14,259-foot Longs Peak, Lily Mountain, and the Twin Sisters. The wide, gravel trail is fully accessible for wheelchairs with bridges and a fishing pier. The trail can be hiked either clockwise or counterclockwise. Pack a lunch for the hike and stop at one of the picnic tables scattered along the trail. Fishermen also use the trail to angle for greenback cutthroat trout. You need a fishing license and the lake is catch-and-release only. Lily Lake was a small natural lake on Fish Creek that was dammed in 1915, increasing its size to 39 acres.
- The Lily Lake Trailhead is six miles south of Estes Park on the west side of CO 7. There is a parking lot at the lake or on the east side of the highway in a large lot. The trail, lying in Rocky Mountain National Park, is free so you don’t need a park’s pass. Motorized vehicles, mountain bikes, horses, and dogs are not allowed on the trail. Restrooms, water, and an interpretative kiosk are all at the trailhead.
- The Lily Lake Trailhead is at 8,930 feet. Total elevation gain on the easy trail is ten feet. The wide, flat trail, composed of packed gravel, is one of four handicapped-accessible trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. The restrooms are also ADA accessible, as well as picnic tables and a fishing pier. The trail is perfect for both wheelchairs and strollers.
- A good side hike is up 1.1-mile Lily Ridge Trail, which busts off the north side of the lake and climbs about 200 feet onto Lily Ridge. The trail threads across the south slope of Lily Mountain, passing through pine woods and grassy glades. It offers great views of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker, the two highest mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail dips back down to the Lily Lake Trail at the west end of the lake.
- Jurassic Park is a collection of fins and rock faces high on Lily Mountain above Lily Lake. The cliffs offer lots of popular rock climbing routes of many grades as well as dramatic views of Longs Peak. The area is accessed from the Lily Lake Trail. Follow a climber’s trail uphill to the area.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
–Stewart M. Green