Glacier Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking

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Glacier Basin

Hiking around Glacier Basin, in Rocky Mountain National Park, is the perfect way for the whole family to experience some of the wonders of the backcountry trails in the park. Read More

  • The East Portal Trailhead takes you to Glacier Basin within Rocky Mountain National Park
  • This is a 5.06-mile loop hike through Ponderosa pines and sage
  • A moderate hike with minimal elevation gain
  • Trailhead is just outside the park at the southwest end of Colorado Highway 66


To hike around Glacier Basin and enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountain Park area is something that makes a Colorado vacation special. The entire family can take part in the adventure when you use the East Portal Trailhead, beginning just outside of the park.

Get some panoramic views of the Continental Divide. You can climb the flank of Emerald Mountain and walk through forests of Ponderosa pine. You can access many other trails as well, taking you further from the crowds and giving you the real experience of the backcountry of this natural and pristine area.


Take US Highway 34 from Estes Park towards Rocky Mountain National Park. After Marys Lake Road, take a left onto Colorado Highway 66. You follow signs for the YMCA and pass this landmark, going another mile right to the parking lot at the end of the road. Walk around the gate that blocks the road west of the parking area. Here you will access the East Portal Trail to Glacier Basin.


  • Distance – 5.06 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 2.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain – Minimal
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Trail Type – Loop

Plan & Prepare

You can hike this trail all year, but be aware of lower temperatures at high elevations. Wear warm clothes and it would be smart to wear them in layers so you can add or subtract layers as needed.