Deer Mountain Trail
August 2019. While visiting my son near Denver, I had another day to myself to go hiking. Again, I headed for Rocky Mountain National Park. Deer Mountain Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is definitely worth the effort, and it took some effort! This is a 6 mile round trip out and back trail, depending on where you start. The summit is at 10,013 ft and boasts amazing views of the mountains and also of Estes Park. The 3 miles in is all up with switch backs and a rocky path at times. A very doable hike, just a lot of uphill effort. For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park click here.
Deer Mountain Trailhead is easy to find. Take Hwy 36 from Estes Park. You will enter Rocky Mountain National Park from the Beaver Meadows entrance. Then just follow the road until you see the Trailhead. For more information on the trail you can click this link, Deer Mountain Hike
The Trailhead was easy to find. The path immediately starts going up through a grassy area, the views are stunning. It continues to climb for just about the entire 3 miles to the top, with a 1400 ft elevation gain. The views are amazing from just about the start as well. Beautiful panoramic views can be seen from the start. The trail was moderately busy but became less populous closer to the summit. It was a cloudy day, even so, still beautiful.
After walking a bit, the grassy area turns into a forest and you will encounter a lot of switchbacks. I would say the Deer Mountain trail had plenty of switchbacks. Notably, the inclines weren’t terrible so the switchbacks weren’t that bad. Regardless, the views are beautiful through the gaps in the forest. I must admit, I took a lot of opportunities to sit and rest at these gaps! About 2 miles in, I found out from another hiker that the trail was 6 miles round trip. Not 3 miles as I thought. I decided I was too invested in this hike to turn around, so I kept going.
The trail levels off towards the top for maybe a mile or so, then it’s back to the uphill grind. The trail again levels off for about a tenth of a mile. Then you will come upon a sign pointing the way via a lot of stone steps. Up of course. I must admit, these steps were grueling and seemed never-ending. At this point, I was working pretty hard. Regardless, it was definitely worth every bit of effort. On the positive side, the steps don’t last forever! If you continue straight on the trail you will head towards Estes Park.
Reaching the summit of Deer Mountain Trail is the best reward for your hard work. I can’t begin to describe how awesome the views are and what a great feeling I had reaching standing on the top! That is to say, I was all smiles. Estes Park is visible from one side and mountain peaks from the other, both amazing.
Not surprisingly, my way down was unremarkable, and quick. Rain was approaching as I headed down and I had to pick up Steve at the airport. The hike up took longer than expected so I was running behind. The rain held off with just a few raindrops landing on me while I hopped in my Jeep. In addition, I made it to Denver Airport just as Steve landed! As for Deer Mountain trail, I would highly recommend it. To sum this hike up, it is a heck of a climb but worth every step.
For more of my Colorado hikes and road trips follow the links below.
St Mary’s Glacier Hike Aug 2017
Our Rocky Mountain National Park Trip Aug 2018
My Favorite Colorado Road Trip Aug 2016
I used Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park guide book to determine which hike I wanted to do. This book covers a lot about each trail listed along with difficulty level, distance, and location. In regards to location, it is additionally broken down by area and includes maps of each trail. It also has a lot of colored photos which I like.
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39 thoughts on “Deer Mountain Trail-Worth the Effort”
Amazing vistas! Amazing cloud formations above unbelievably high peaks! And then that little squirrel – I could swear it has a smile in its eyes 😊 Wonderful!
Thank you! I just loved that little squirrel!!!
❤️ wonderful expression in its eyes
Great photos! Love the wildlife shots!
Thanks! The squirrel practically begged to have his picture taken!!
Love your photos of this hike! It’s been awhile since I went to RMNP because the park doesn’t allow dogs. Recently, however, I took a mountaineering course and we were in RMNP. I found a new appreciation for the park. Beautiful hikes and scenery everywhere. Congrats on completing this hike.
Thanks!!! There are so many great hikes there! I am hoping to get back end of October depending on my son’s schedule and if I feel like making the 10 hour drive!!!
The views look to be well worth the effort. The altitude may prove difficult from those not used to living at a higher altitude. I remember how strenuous our hiking was in Bryce, before we got used to being up at 8-9,000 feet. Thanks for sharing. Allan
I agree on the altitude! I was puffing pretty good up those stairs to the end!! Not sure if it was altitude or the steps!!! Probably both!!!!!
Once again, fabulous photos! Love that long trail pic, and the animals. Everything! Here’s maybe an odd question from someone who hasn’t hiked much in deer country. Do you think or worry about ticks? I’m never sure how you can check the back side of yourself. I guess seeing Deer Mountain brought it to my mind. Thanks for sharing!😁
Thank you! We have ticks in Iowa too so I wear a hat when around trees. Otherwise I do a check in a mirror when I get home. As a former ER Nurse I have seen the “bullseye” rash on patients so know what to look for, of course you can’t see one well on a head of hair so therefore the hat! Also if caught early and antibiotics are started it is very curable. So I guess I don’t worry about ticks but I do take precautions!!! Hope that makes sense!
Thank you for this mini lesson on ticks! I feel so much better knowing you’re a nurse and know what you’re talking about and you STILL hike! 😂 I’m not going to worry any more👍🏻
Lol!! There are times I hike to places against my own advice!!!
Well now, that would be an excellent post! Include photos!😂
What a gorgeous trail!
It was! I am more of a lake and waterfall person but I think this was absolutely just as great!
what a sensational view! it took my breath away just from the photo. i love your pictures. what kind of camera do you use? I’m heading to Phoenix, AZ for a few days. Do you know any simple hikes out in that area that I could do?
I’m not familiar with hiking in Phoenix but I follow a site on here called ‘Hike Phoenix’. Written by a gal named Allie. She has some good posts so you might get ideas there!!! Good luck and enjoy Phoenix!!
Beautiful mountains and countryside!
What a hike!! So glad you made it to the top, the view is incredible! 6 miles round trip.. woah! Hope the way one was a lot easier. Loved the photo of you, you looked quite in your element. Nice capture of nature’s furry friends you met along the way. I enjoy reading about your travels. Enjoy and wishing you many more adventures!
Thank you for all the kind words! I do love to hike! The way down was much easier!!
How wonderful ! Liked and shared, and flipped to my Travel Magazine :
I did not know you had a travel magazine. I don’t have flipboard but will have to check it out!
Your flip board is so awesome! I shared it on both my Gen-X Facebook and my Personal Facebook! Great information and articles!!! Spectacular job! Thanks for featuring my posts as well!!
Thank you, Gen-X.
Hi, I am running behind, but have been wanting to comment on this. I “think” this is the day we were both in RMNP at the same time maybe. Your pictures are so amazing. I want to go!!! We have been home for a little over a month, and your post makes me want to run to Estes Park. It’s only about 1,100 miles. Ha ha.
Yes I remember!! I want to go back too! It’s a 10
Hour drive for me but with my son out there I don’t mind the drive!!
I understand that looooong drive thing. We are in southeast Missouri. It was like 14 hours for us. Very worth it. I’d love to go back and see the apsens now. Wonder if they are turning yellow yet. I saw on one of the comments you are in Iowa. LOVE Iowa. I was born in southwest Iowa and grew up about 15 miles from Iowa. How wonderful that your son is in Colorado. Beautiful state!!
A few years ago I was out there in mid October and I was too late for the aspens there was some but most of them had already fallen. I have lived in Iowa all my life and currently live around the Des Moines area. I absolutely love that my son lives in Colorado if he’s not going to live here!
Oh, around Des Moines! Drove through there in May on our way to Spirit Lake. We stayed in Pella, the weekend after the Tulip Festival. Kiddo and I took a big road trip up to Hannibal, MO, over to Burlington Iowa, Pella, past Des Monez, up to Sac City (World’s Largest Popcorn Ball!) and on to Spirit Lake. We had so much fun. I love Iowa.
Good point- if he’s not in Iowa, Colorado is pretty awesome, too.
Iowa does have it own character!!! Sounds like a fun tour!
Oh my gosh, I didn’t know if that comment went. I hit send and it disappeared… ha ha. Thank you, sorry for rattling on. We just had a great time.
You are fine!!! Always glad to hear from others experiences!!!