After 1,763 photos from the top of Lily Mountain down to the ducks at Lily Lake here are the best photos of our adventure.
We went to Estes Park last week on a whim. Derek surprised me with the whole adventure. He picked a few spots, we eeny-meeny-miny-moed it, and chose to go hike Lily Mountain which was a half mile away from Lily Lake. He even brought the camera and I’m so happy because these might be the best pictures I have ever taken. So in love with the Colorado landscape right now. Enjoy the pretty pics!
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This hike is 4 miles round trip and the trail travels through Roosevelt National Forest. We almost missed the trailhead because this sign is not visible while driving and the ‘parking’ in front is just the extra space on the side of the road. You can also park in the parking lot by Lily Lake and add a mile to the hike.
Here is a look at the terrain map on Google Maps.
This is the entrance to the hike, the trees are seemingly standing guard as you enter. This hike is different from other hikes in Colorado because the whole hike besides the tippy top is through a forest. Because of this, we felt secluded even though there were multiple hikers on the trail with us. We couldn’t even really hear the other hikers, making the hike that much more enjoyable.
From the very beginning, there were beautiful mountain views in between the trees.
The trail was not the easiest to follow. A little bit into the hike we came across an area that was destroyed by the September 2013 flood. This part was hard to pass, but not as difficult as summiting. It was hard to understand where the trail was going and kind of made the whole thing feel like we were trailblazers. There are large sticks/tree branches placed over areas that look like trails to let hikers know not to enter. These helped immensely. Always be sure to respect the trail, sometimes it’s for your safety and sometimes its to preserve the beautiful land and wildlife Colorado has to offer.
The trail follows along Highway 7 for the first part of the hike, allowing for Estes Park town views between the trees. I caught this beautiful pic of the town and winding road below.
Steps made out of rock helped quickly elevate the trail. They are sporadic and thin at the beginning.
The rock steps become larger as the hike nears the top and require almost a lunge position to climb. This hike is great for a leg workout and definitely not the best for beginners or those out of shape (it kicked our butts). Some recommend this hike for pets, but I don’t. You also won’t be able to take your dog to the top very easily.
I always try to appreciate the small things on the hike and look at the smaller beauty besides the giant mountains surrounding.
There were lots of fallen and dead trees on the hike.
There were small wildflowers growing sporadically adding to the atmosphere.
There was a lot of moss on rocks and little plants growing in between making the hike almost whimsical and enchanting.
A beautiful look at the strong roots of the surrounding trees breaking through the ground.
The trees became thinner and denser as we neared the top. At this point, we were exhausted. The trail felt like it was shooting out of the ground perpendicular to the earth. It became exhaustive to climb. The hike began to feel like it was winding back and forth incessantly nearing the summit.
This was a nice indicator that we missed trying to get to the top. It indicates that the huge boulders to the right are in fact the way you’re supposed to go to the summit. I read that the hike ended with a ‘small’ climb, but that was an understatement. To summit, we had to get on our hands and knees and climb huge boulders for about 10 minutes while trying to be careful. This is where I don’t recommend the trail for pets, children, or the faint of heart.
The following are all from the top of the hike. The view is always described as panoramic meaning that you can see all around you (not always the case when you summit) and it makes you feel like you’re on the top of the world. I’m not usually scared of heights, but this did make me a bit uneasy. Probably the most beautiful hike I have completed thus far and definitely the most satisfying to summit because of the rock climbing it took to get to the top and the beautiful on top of the worldview we were greeted with.
We hiked back down and I don’t have any pictures from it. We were absolutely exhausted when we reached the top and did not look forward to the hike down. Our feet, ankles, and knees started killing us because we were landing on them roughly taking the large rock steps down. It was totally worth it. I thought we were going to be extremely sore the following day, but we weren’t. After the hike, we headed to Lily Lake.
This is the immediate view you are greeted with after turning the corner to enter the area. I was glad we decided to make the quick stop for pictures.
It was early evening at this point and I was able to capture a great glisten on the water.
There was a lot of wildlife near/in the lake including birds, ducks, otters, and fish.
This little guy was grooming himself while we took pictures.
Overall, Estes is always a pretty area to visit. Whether you come to visit the shops and taffy places galore or for the view, there’s something for everyone. There are multiple hikes of different difficulties, and there is a beautiful trail around Lily Lake that is recommended for families with young children. If you ever come to Colorado, try to make Estes a stop. It is a gorgeous and very well known tourist spot.
If this isn’t your first hike, then I would recommend Lily Mountain. It was a great hike and climb, and I think I’ll want to do it again another time. I hope you enjoyed the pretty pictures, and let me know of other great hikes in the Colorado area, we’re always looking!
Thank you so much for reading and all the support. I hope you have a wonderful week!