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Rocky Mountain National Park: Boulder Brook to Glacier Gorge

Rushing waterfalls, mountainous views, and a healthy dose of altitude highlight this 6.3-mile loop in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trip Tools

This 6.3-mile shuttle hike south of Moraine Park links the Boulder Brook and Glacier Gorge trails and can be completed in either direction. Start at the Storm Pass Trailhead off of Bear Lake Road for a shorter but steeper climb and a more gradual descent. From the small parking area, hike south through a grassy meadow rimmed by conifers and rocky peaks. After half a mile, the trail enters the forest and begins climbing alongside (and crisscrossing) Boulder Brook.

Tree cover becomes sparse near the top of the climb as the trail nears the junction with North Longs Peak Trail. In autumn, golden aspen groves create a striking contrast with the evergreen forest. After 2.4 miles, Boulder Brook Trail dead ends at North Longs Peak Trail; turn right and start the gentle descent to Glacier Gorge. (Stunning views of the park’s snow-capped peaks appear between the gaps in the trees.)

At mile 4.5, cross over Glacier Creek on a wooden bridge—grab your camera, the rushing creek pours through a rocky gorge below the bridge. From here, the trail snakes to the north, passing Alberta Falls, one of the park’s more popular (and accessible) spots waterfalls. At the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, take the free shuttle to the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead, cross the road, and follow the path back to Storm Pass Trailhead.

INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season).

CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206;

-Mapped by Backpacker’s Map Team

To Trailhead

From the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on US 36, continue west through the park entrance and make an immediate right onto Bear Lake Rd. Continue 4.8 miles to the Storm Pass Trailhead. More parking is available 0.2 mile up the road at the Bierstadt Trailhead.

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