The Best Views in the National Parks: Thunder Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
thunder lake

Photo by Erik Stensland

Wild Basin holds the park’s best secrets: miles of river-tracing trail leading to views of the Continental Divide that are often overlooked for the more showy (and easier to access) peaks near Bear Lake. You’ll love the 6.2-mile hike to Thunder Lake, through forest and past a series of waterfalls. Then, says photographer Erik Stensland, “the trees stand aside to reveal this stunning view of Pilot Mountain (left) and 13,310-foot Mount Alice.” Sometimes, regardless of the journey, the destination really is the reward. Trailhead 40.234198, -105.654402 off County Highway 115 Season year-round Permit required; $26