Guidebook

Run the Rockies: Best Trails in Rocky Mountain NP

The must-run trails in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Jesse Weber

Description

Colorado’s mountains are a giant playground for trail runners, with quality trails and worthy challenges all over the state. You don’t have to enter Rocky Mountain National Park to get an inspiring run in the Rockies, but the trails here are simply legendary. If you seek to add national park trails to your running repertoire, Rocky Mountain is not to be missed.

With iconic names like Longs Peak, Lumpy Ridge, Twin Sisters, and the Continental Divide Trail, the park is an undisputed mecca for trail runners. Of course, its extreme popularity with all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts means that some areas get quite busy. The good news is, as a runner, you shouldn’t have an issue going faster and farther to escape the crowds. Just get as early of a start as possible to avoid congestion around the trailheads. If you want to go for speed, and not worry about slowing down for hikers, weekdays during the off seasons are your best chances for wide-open trails.

So, while it’s true that the park’s popularity can be a downside for runners, that’s no reason to skip over this unbeatable destination. There’s no better place in Colorado for a wealth of foot-travel-only trails, with short and long-distance backcountry routes, and uninterrupted miles along the Continental Divide.

Cub Lake Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cub Lake Loop

Colorado
9.7 km
243 m
243 m
Run alongside meadows, creeks, and a subalpine lake on this nicely-varied loop.
Moderate
Private
Deer Mountain
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Deer Mountain

Colorado
9.7 km
418 m
418 m
A trail running favorite, at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Difficult
Private
Lumpy Ridge Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Lumpy Ridge Loop

Colorado
16.8 km
767 m
767 m
The well-known mountain run around and over Lumpy Ridge, just inside the boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Difficult
Private
Twin Sisters
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Twin Sisters

Colorado
10.4 km
713 m
713 m
Estes Park’s must-run mountain, for the slightly masochistic.
Difficult
Private
Ouzel Falls and Bluebird Lake
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Ouzel Falls and Bluebird Lake

Colorado
19.9 km
831 m
831 m
Up and up through some of the park’s wildest backcountry, passing waterfalls and lakes, and leaving the crowds far behind.
Difficult
Private
Mount Ida from Milner Pass
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Ida from Milner Pass

Colorado
15.1 km
756 m
756 m
A jaw-dropping alpine ridge run, without too much strain or stress.
Difficult
Private
CCY Route
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

CCY Route

Colorado
12.8 km
967 m
968 m
High-altitude traverse of Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon Peaks.
Difficult
Private
North Inlet and Tonahutu Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

North Inlet and Tonahutu Loop

Colorado
41.6 km
1,390 m
1,390 m
Run the Continental Divide Trail through Rocky Mountain National Park.
Difficult
Private