If it’s your first visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, check out this list of some of the park’s top hikes to help get you started.
If you’re already there and feeling a bit intimated by the the crowds, try this alternative: head 30 miles south on the Peak-to-Peak Highway (Hwy 72), and pull off at Brainard Lake ($10 day use fee). Incredible access to the Indian Peaks wilderness, where you’ll find moose (I think I’ve seen one every time I’ve been up there), glaciers and snowfields, wildflowers in just about every conceivable location and plenty of cool breezes. Just yesterday I scrambled up Shoshoni Peak, whose route passes by Long Lake (2 miles), Lake Isabelle (4 miles), and Pawnee Pass (8 miles).
There are lots of other magnificent trails up here to explore, but make sure you’re on the trail by 8am at the latest.