Giant cliffs flank this narrow gorge below Longs Peak and the Continental Divide, soaring 3,000 to nearly 4,000 neck-craning feet above Black Lake. On your way to this alpine tarn, which itself sits in an impressive glacial cirque at the foot of McHenry’s Peak, you’ll pass three waterfalls. It’s 10 miles round-trip to Black Lake from Glacier Gorge Junction on Bear Lake Road in the park.
drive time: Denver: 1 1/2 hours
guides:Lonely Planet’s Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, by Clem Lindenmayer, et al ($20). Trails Illustrated map Rocky Mountain National Park #200 (800-962-1643; www.backpacker.com/mapstore; $10).
contact: Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206; www.nps.gov/romo