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Rocky Mountain National Park: Lily Lake to Sprague Lake Loop

Traverse exposed ridgelines and thick pine forests for postcard views of Rocky Mountain National Park on this 20.6-mile lollipop loop.

Rating

This all-day loop on the park’s east side cruises 3 miles from Lily Lake to Stormy Pass before dipping south toward an abandoned mine and rounding the eastern slope of Longs Peak. The long climb toward treeline continues through alpine meadows and is interrupted with viewpoints of the Colorado plains and Long Peak’s east face. Watch for elk—and signs of approaching thunder storms—as the trail approaches mile 8.6 and the route’s high point at Granite Pass. You’ll skirt a backcountry campsite near mile 12 that’s located before the a rugged downhill section to the bottom of the Boulder Brook Trail. There is another 1,400 feet of climbing from the flats near Sprauge Lake to Storm Pass where you’ll close the 14-mile loop.

Note: The threat of lightning looms most of the summer and can force you to lower elevations by mid-day. If you get a late start, consider taking off from the Longs Peak Trailhead to hike the highest elevations first and stay below treeline in the later part of the day.

INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season). nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcntry_guide.htm

CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206; nps.gov/romo

-Mapped by Tim Shisler

To Trailhead

In Estes Park, turn south onto CO 7 (St. Vrain Ave.) and drive 6.4 miles. Turn right into the Lily Lake Traihead, and proceed 100 yards to the parking area.

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