Experience the beauty of spring in the Rocky Mountains. While some may refer to it as mud season, spring is a time of fresh air, blooming flowers, and warm afternoons. The snow is melting and the waterfalls are magnificent throughout Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
There are plenty of things to do in Estes Park in spring and some great benefits to traveling to Colorado this time of the year.
Avoid the Crowds
Spring is the quietest time of the year to visit the Rocky Mountains, so you’ll enjoy wide open and uncrowded trails. Plus, the historic town of Estes Park has yet to enter the busy summer tourist season. Be sure to check out seasonal hours for local shops and restaurants as well, as some will be modified during the slow season.
Best Things to do in Estes Park in Spring 2022
As the snow starts to melt, fishing is a popular activity among locals and travelers alike. Early spring is great as the water levels haven’t gotten too high from snowmelt yet, and the water flow tends to be slower. Rent your gear at a local shop or have a guide take you out to the waters. In Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll find greenback cutthroats, rainbow trout, brookies, brown trout, and more.
Keep in mind that a Colorado fishing license is required for anyone over 16 years of age to fish in Rocky Mountain National Park. Pay for an annual license, day pass or five-day pass.
Estes Park Hiking in Spring
Sprague Lake is an easy 1-mile walk around the lake that is accessible for most skill levels and offers stunning views of the Continental Divide. This path is paved and is wheelchair accessible and appropriate for strollers.
Chasm Falls is a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail that features a waterfall and beautiful views of the rugged terrain. Depending on the amount of snow for the season, Old Fall River Road may be closed to vehicle traffic so you’ll have to walk about a mile to get to the trailhead.
If you’re looking for a longer hike, Ouzel Falls is a 5.3-mile out-and-back trail with river views and a waterfall. Similar to Chasm Falls, you may have to park and walk to the trailhead depending on the snowpack during your visit. This trail has an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet, making it a slow and steady climb.
Deer Mountain Trail is a 6-mile trail that is moderate to challenging with beautiful views atop the final summit of the trail. This hike has an elevation gain of 1,400 feet, making it a challenge for most hikers, especially if you’re not used to the altitude. This hike tends to get busy so arrive early if you can.
Tips For Spring Hiking in Rocky Mountain NP
Bring micro spikes and hiking poles as this time of the year it’s common for snow to melt and refreeze making for icy conditions at times. Like any time of the year when you’re hiking in Colorado, be sure to prepare for all types of weather and temperatures.