Lily Lake, Lily Lake Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Lily Lake - 0.9 miles

Lily Lake Trailhead

Estes Cone and Longs Peak tower over Lily Lake

Estes Cone and Longs Peak tower over Lily Lake

Round-Trip Length: 0.9 miles ((1.1 with Lily Ridge Trail extension))
Start-End Elevation: 8,930' - 8,930'
Elevation Change: 0' elevation change
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No

Lily Lake - 0.9 Miles Round-Trip

Lily Lake is located six miles south of Estes Park, just east of the Rocky Mountain National Park boundary along Highway 7.

This short loop at the base of Estes Cone provides sweeping views that include Mt Meeker ( 13,911'), Twin Sisters (11,428'), and Longs Peak (14,259') - the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Lily Lake is ideal for families or those with limited time or abilities. Maximize sunlight by traveling clockwise in the morning, and counterclockwise in the evening.

Extend your trip by hiking the Lily Ridge Trail, which breaks off the loop and climbs 350' in just .2 miles to Lily Ridge above the lake.

Enos Mills - the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park

The landscape surrounding Lily Lake inspired a young naturalist named Enos Mills and led to the formation of Rocky Mountain National Park.

In 1884, at only fourteen years old, Mills left Kansas and moved to Colorado, settling in a cabin at the base of Longs Peak. The following year he climbed Longs Peak for the first time, a feat he'd repeat over 250 times.

Mills spent his entire life devoted to the conservation of the Rocky Mountains and in 1907 he proposed that this region of the Rockies be officially designated as a national park. In 1915, his dream became reality with the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park. Mills died seven years later but his dedication to the preservation of this area will live on forever.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 18.403 W105 32.279 — 0.0 miles: Lily Lake Trailhead
  • N40 18.499 W105 32.617 — .035 miles: Lily Ridge Trail (left for Ridge Trail)
  • N40 18.577 W105 32.409 — 0.70 miles: Max elevation 9100' (Ridge Trail only)
  • N40 18.402 W105 32.278 — 1.10 miles: Complete loop at Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • The Lily Lake trail is handicap accessible. The Lily Ridge trail extension is not handicap accessible.

  • Four picnic tables and a pit toilet are located at the trailhead. Four additional picnic tables are located along the south shore.

  • This is a popular trail with limited parking. Arrive early to secure space and avoid crowds.

Camping and Backpacking Information

There is no camping at Lily Lake - day use only.

Fishing Information

Fishing is permitted at Lily Lake with a valid Colorado fishing license for persons 16 or older.

The eastern shore is often closed for spawning protection, however the lake provides ample space.

Catch and release only. All fish must be returned to the water unharmed.

Fishing for Native Greenback Cutthroat Trout

Greenback cutthroat trout, like those found and fished in Lily Lake were one the predominant trout species east of he Continental Divide in Colorado. Due to land and water exploitation, the species was slowly disappearing. Add in the stocking of non-native rainbow, brook and non-native cutthroat trout, and competition became too much for the Greenback. By 1937, they were though to be extinct.

Now, through hard work and collaboration among private and public agencies, the Greenback cutthroat trout is making a comeback. Today, there are more than twenty stable populations of Greenback cutthroat trout in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rules and Regulations

  • Pets are restricted to the parking area only and are not allowed on the Lily Lake or Lily Ridge Trails. Dogs must be on a leash in the parking lot of 6' or less.

  • All vehicles including bicycles are prohibited on trails.

  • Feeding animals is strictly prohibited and enforced.

  • No camping or fires allowed.

Directions to Trailhead

The Lily Lake Trailhead is located 6 miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7 between Estes Park and Allenspark.

Between mile posts 6 and 7 south of Estes Park, either turn west into the Lily Lake parking area, or east into the Lily Lake Visitor Center, just across the highway from Lily Lake. The loop trail begins just past the parking area on the west side of Highway 7.

Contact Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397

Visitor Information:

Backcountry Office:

Campground Reservations:

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"We saw a mother and baby moose on the southern shore of Lily Lake this year. It was beautiful!"
Elana  -  Estes Park  -  Date Posted: June 23, 2012


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