Thing to Do

Hike the Alpine Ridge Trail

View of the Alpine Ridge Trail looking down at the Alpine Visitor Center and Parking Area
View of the Alpine Ridge Trail looking down at the Alpine Visitor Center and Parking Area

NPS/Schonlau

  • Distance: 0.6 mile round trip (1 m)
  • Elevation Gain: 162 feet (49 m)
  • Trail Type: Out and Back trail with a steep incline. The trail begins at an elevation of 11,796 feet above sea level

Starting from the Alpine Visitor Center parking lot, this is a short hike with incredible views. Take your time and pace yourself. Elevation makes this hike challenging.  

There are interpretive signs along the way to stop and read and catch your breath. Enjoy the alpine wildflowers and views of the alpine tundra. Alpine avens, moss campions, and alpine forget me nots can be found here. At the top and end of the hill you will get beautiful vistas of the Never Summer Mountains, and may even see the plains of Wyoming on a clear day.

Tread Lightly: Stay on the paved asphalt trail and do not pick flowers. Do not walk off trail onto the Tundra! Repeated footsteps often destroy tundra plants, allowing exposed soil to blow away. Recovery may take hundreds of years, so please use designated trails when exploring this unique area.

Note: Pets are prohibited on ALL park trails, tundra, and meadow areas. Leashed pets are only allowed in picnic areas, parking lots, campgrounds, and along roadsides

Altitude Warning: Altitude sickness affects many visitors every year. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. Take your time, drink water, eat, and rest. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go down to a lower altitude.

Weather Warning: Weather in the mountains can turn in an instant! Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Check the forecast before heading out. Lightning can strike anywhere in Rocky. Watch for building storm clouds and return to the trailhead immediately if you hear thunder. As a rule of thumb, try to be back at the trailhead by noon.

Details
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

From May 27 to October 10, 2022, Timed Entry Permit Reservations are required to enter most areas of Rocky Mountain National Park between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To access the Bear Lake Road Corridor, Timed Entry Permits are in effect from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are only available to be booked through https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086910. One Timed Entry Permit Reservation is $2.00 and non-refundable. 

Timed Entry Permits are vehicle permits. One Timed Entry Permit will cover one vehicle and all passengers in the vehicle. Timed Entry Permit Holders must enter the park during their reseved 2-hour reservation window. 

To learn more, visit the park's Timed Entry Permit Reservation webpage at https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm

Extreme weather can change the status of Trail Ridge Road at any time—be ready to adjust your travel plans if needed, and always check the weather before you start your drive.
Accessibility Information
This is a paved trail. Be aware of high elevation gain. Altitude sickness affects many visitors every year. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. Take your time, drink water, eat, and rest. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go down to a lower altitude.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: July 15, 2022