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.
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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