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Friday, December 2, 2016

Lawn Lake Trail in RMNP

Rocky Mountain National Parks has 355+ miles of hiking trails in some of the most beautiful country in Colorado.  One trail that I really enjoyed (not only for the natural beauty, but also the historic significance) is the Lawn Lake Trail.

From Estes Park, CO take Hwy 34 west and enter RMNP at the Fall River entrance.  After about 1 – 1 ½ miles turn right on Old Fall River Road.  The parking lot for the trailhead is about 100 yards on the right.  The trailhead is on the north side of the parking lot.  There is an information board at the base of the trail.  

I hiked up to Lawn Lake and back, it was a 12.4 mile trip.  The trail's elevation gain is 2249 feet from trail head to the lake.  I found the trail well marked and easy to follow.  Watch for the trail to split about 1.8 miles from the trail head.  If you take the left fork you will be on the Ypsilon Lake trail so, stay to the right.

The trail has many switch back and provides a lot of great views of the famous Long's Peak (14,259 ft).  At times the trail places you near the edge of the steep Roaring River and allows you to see the massive destruction caused by the 1982 flood when the Lawn River dam broke.  The trail turns away from the river about 3 miles into the hike and runs into the surrounding forest.

The rock formations and boulders along the way add spectacular contrast to the forest.  The huge boulders decorate the trail and give hikers great places to sit and enjoy the surroundings.  About 1/2 of a mile from the lake the trail runs into the path of the great flood and gives a great view of how wide and massive the force was.  Lawn Lake, the goal of the hike, sets in the cup of the mountains at the top edge of the timberline.  The fragile tundra surrounds the lake and boulders provide seats for the human audience.  Filled with melted snow and rain it is clear, cold and a beautiful blue.  I took time to sit, relax, and enjoyed a snack.  It is a very pretty area and was well worth the hike.  (Photo from www.landscapeimagery.com)

The trek back to the trailhead allows a different perspective that provides great views.  It is a great trail worth every step.  The trail does not get a lot of visitors.  During my 6 hour hike I passed about 13 hikers on my way down and never saw any on my way up.  I highly recommend taking the hike up to see Lawn Lake.  I also highly recommend that you take a good pair of trekking poles with you and plenty of water, snacks, and a good camera.

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