Lily Mountain Trail
|Trail Name||Lily Mountain Trail|
|Nearest City||Estes Park|
|Distance||4 Miles Round Trip|
|Elevation Gain||927 Feet|
|Low Point||8,785 Feet|
|High Point||9,712 Feet|
|Trip Reports||Lily Mountain Trail|
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The Lily Mountain Trail is a moderately easy hike beginning on Colorado Highway 7 about 5.8 miles south of Estes Park (and just north of Lily Lake) to the summit of Lily Mountain at 9,712 feet. Although Lily Mountain itself is somewhat diminutive compared to the surrounding peaks, the trail offers a pleasant hike through Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pine forests, and breathtaking views both along the trail and at the summit of the surrounding peaks and countryside, including views of Estes Park, YMCA of the Rockies, and most all of the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park, including the peaks that make up the Continental Divide.
How to get there
From the intersection of Colorado Highway 7 and Highway 34 in Estes Park, proceed south on Colorado Highway 7 for 5.8 miles. The Lily Mountain Trailhead is on the right side of the road just before mile marker six. There is a small pull-of area by the trailhead sign. If the parking near the trailhead is full, you can park at Lily Lake and walk the 1/2 mile back to the trailhead. Facilities are available at Lily Lake. If coming on Highway 7 from the south, the Lily Mountain Trailhead is about 1/2 mile north of Lily Lake.
From the trailhead you will hike to the north, above and parallel to Highway 7. The first mile is is mostly level, with some gradual climbing through pine forest. There are several interesting rock outcroppings along the way, along with some beautiful views of the valley to the east and of the Twin Sisters.
After about a mile, you will come to a large rock outcropping on the north shoulder of Lily Mountain. From this point you will have great views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the west, and the town of Estes Park in the valley below. This is a great place to stop and take a break. If you walk around to the north side of the rock outcropping, it's an easy climb to the top.
From here the trail turns back to the south, and for the last 7/10 mile is a steady climb up the north ridge of Lily Mountain. The trail can become somewhat hard to follow for the last 1/8-mile to the summit. It is marked by cairns, which can at times be difficult to find - but keep looking, they are there! The last 100 yards or so requires some scrambling and simple climbing over the boulders to reach the summit. Once on the summit, you are rewarded with great views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the north and west, and the Twin Sisters to the southeast. Cellular phones will work on this trail.
Lily Mountain is located in the National Forest just outside of the Rocky Mountain National Park boundaries, therefore dogs are permitted on the trail. (Dogs are not permitted on trails within Rocky Mountain National Park).
Because of its short length, this is a good trail for children that would like to experience the satisfaction and the great views of a summit hike. The non-technical climbing near the summit was a big hit with my 12-year-old son. Just make sure that you set safety groundrules with your kid(s) before you reach the summit, and that you keep a close eye on your youngsters while on the summit, as there are precipitous dropoffs at the top.