Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some of the most stunning hikes in the United States, with its snow-capped peaks, clear alpine lakes, and sweeping vistas.  We are always looking for new hikes in the park. One such hike we recently discovered that offers a wide array of features is the hike up Deer Mountain.  The trail head is a short drive from the Beaver Meadows entrance to the park.  The trailhead is located just east of Deer Ridge Junction on the Trail Ridge Road.

The Deer Mountain hike is a 6-mile round trip hike to the summit of Deer Mountain that takes hikers through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the park. The hike begins at an elevation of 8,940 feet and gains 1,200 feet in elevation, reaching a maximum elevation a little over 10,100 feet at the summit.

The first mile of the hike is relatively easy and provides hikers with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail then begins to ascend more steeply, passing through a dense forest of lodgepole pine trees. As hikers emerge from the trees, they’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Mummy Range and the Estes Valley below.  

The highlight of the hike is the summit, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Hikers can take a well-deserved break here and soak in the incredible scenery. On clear days, it’s possible to see as far as Longs Peak, which is one of the most famous peaks in the park. We very much enjoyed the view of Estes Park from the summit of the hike.  You can really get a feel how the town sits in the surrounding terrain.

The hike is rated as moderate, but hikers should be aware that the altitude can make the hike more challenging. It’s important to bring plenty of water and snacks and to pace yourself if you’re not used to hiking at high altitudes. The trail can also be slippery and icy in places, so it’s recommended to wear appropriate hiking boots with good traction.  We actually hiked the trail in March and there was a significant amount of ice present, but it was all doable with crampons.  This time of year, we had the trail pretty much to ourselves which more than made up for the added caution required with the ice.

If you’re planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, be sure to add the Deer Mountain hike to your itinerary. With its stunning views, manageable distance, and moderate difficulty, it’s an ideal hike for hikers of all skill levels. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the views from the summit are truly unforgettable.

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