Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Skiing and Showshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park

December 23, 2009, 7:52 am

Mills, Jewel and Black lakes

Distance: 4-, 5- and 8-mile roundtrips

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

Elevation range: 9,240 to 10,620 feet

Trailhead: From the main Beaver Meadows entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, head west for a quarter of a mile to Bear Lake Road. Take Bear Lake Road 8.2 miles to Glacier Gorge parking lot.

Fees: $20 for a seven-day pass

Facilities: Restrooms and water at the main entrance and Bear Lake parking lot

Maps: Trails Illustrated Map No. 200, Rocky Mountain National Park

Avalanche danger: None to low. For updated information, call 498-5311 or visit

Why go: This trail leads to the best winter scenery the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. Recent ranger reports put the snowpack at 2 feet at Bear Lake with snowshoeing conditions reported as good. The different destination lakes accommodate a variety of skill and fitness levels for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. On weekends, the trail might be crowded as far as Glacier Gorge, but after that the crowd normally thins out. It can get windblown in spots on the rocky parts. There are several vantage points to soak in the impressive views of Longs Peak from the lakes, so bring your camera. Continue to Black Lake only if you are fit and know how to navigate off-trail, as much of the last leg is making your own trail to the lake.