Directions: The trailhead is located south of Estes Park on Route 7 just north of Lily Lake. There is a small wooden trail sign but otherwise the trailhead is difficult to spot. Is is just south of the large rock cut that you drive through on Route 7. The trailhead has enough room for a handful of cars along the side of the road.
Lily Mountain is a terrific hike just outside of the eastern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park. In the winter, the hike is a little more difficult but great for those looking for National Park level views without the need for snowshoes. Because this trail just a steady amount of usage, the trail is typically packed down, microspikes or other traction is recommended especially for the steep rocky climb to the summit.
The hike starts off rolling along Route 7 through sparse forest and large rock formations. After about .5 miles, you'll reach a rock-slide gully. The trail crosses the gully and continues north on the other side but during the winter, it might be difficult to find the trail, tip - don't head up the rock-slide.
After another .5 mile you'll reach the elbow of the trail. The trail heads back to the south up the mountain, but first, proceed straight ahead to the large rock formation for a great view. Back on the trail, keep heading up, the trail gets steeper on this stretch but switchbacks help to moderate the climb. As you near the top, the trees will thin and the views start to open up. After a short fun scramble you'll reach the summit. The flat rocky summit is incredible. The entire park stretches out before you, truly an amazing view.
The panoramic view includes such iconic mountains as Twin Sisters Peak, Longs Peak & Mt. Meeker, Hallet Peak, Flattop Mountain, Ypsilon Peak, and the list goes on an on...
Lily Mountain is a great hike in any season, but it is especially good for a winter hike. The lower elevation results in less snow, you won't need snowshoes (but traction will help) and the 4 mi (RT) is a great length for winter hiking. With the tremendous view and the easy access, Lily Mountain is a great winter hiking option.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Rocky Mountain National Park
Date Hiked: January 18, 2016
Distance: 3.8 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 1,388 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 8,684 to 9,786 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 40º 18' 49" N; 105º 32' 08" W