Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in June
Learn all about what to expect visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in June (Written by Erin McCarthy)
June in Rocky Mountain National Park is nothing short of spectacular. The weather is pleasant, there is ample opportunity for hitting the trails, fishing, rock climbing — the list goes on. With that being said, there are some drawbacks to visiting in the peak season but we have tips and tricks below to navigate the crowded Park. Read on for our complete guide to visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in June.
benefits of visiting in june
June is a fantastic time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Experience breathtaking expansive views, wildlife, blooming alpine wildflowers, and piercing blue skies. While the winter and spring present limitations for hiking and backpacking, the summer is the perfect time to hit the the trails. In fact, the Park has 355 trails ranging from mellow, flat strolls amongst the meadows to challenging, steep climbs up peaks reaching 12,000 feet. There is truly something for everyone when it comes to hiking in Rocky National Park in June.
drawbacks of visiting in june
By and large the biggest drawback of a June visit to Rocky Mountain National Park is the crowds. The peak tourist season runs from June – September and visitor numbers on average in June reach over 700,000. The famous Old Fall River Road also isn’t open until July. With that being said, since June is still one of the most enjoyable times to visit weather-wise and activity-wise, below are some tips for avoiding the summer crowds:
Ride the shuttle bus: On the east side of the Park, there is a free shuttle bus that takes you to the many popular trailheads in this area. It’ll guarantee more time on the trails and less time trying to find a parking space at the busy trailheads.
Use the Grand Lake entrance: Over eighty percent of visitors enter Rocky Mountain National Park through the east side entrances (Estes Park, Beaver Meadows, Fall River, and Wild Basin). The west side of the Park is stunning— including lots of hiking trails and wildlife sightings.
Be an early bird: Get a head start on your day and watch the sun rise over the Continental Divide. Hitting the more popular trails before most people are even awake certainly has its perks.
Hike a less popular trail: with 355 trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, there are truly plenty of options for less crowded trails.
things to do in june
Take a scenic drive on Trail Ridge Road: Take a once in a lifetime drive along the 48 mile “highway to the sky” — the highest continuous paved road in the nation. Travel up through montane meadows, subalpine forests, up to Milner Pass on the Continental Divide, and finally above treeline. At its highest point, Trail Ridge Road reaches above 12,000 feet to breathtaking alpine vistas. Make sure to pack the right gear as it can be windy at the top and twenty to thirty degrees colder!
Fishing: Trout fishing in the lakes and streams of Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular activities in the summer months. Keep in mind that there are possession limits, catch and release regulations in some areas, and you need a Colorado fishing license for anyone 16 years of age and older. Before you head out read the full list of rules and regulations here.
Horseback riding: Horses have long been a traditional part of Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, 260 miles of trails are open to horse use. There are two stables located within the park: Glacier Creek Stables and Moraine Park Stables which are open for private and commercial horse use. Plan your route and check the trail conditions if you plan to travel this way.
Hiking: There are endless options for hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park in June. Check out our full list of recommended summer hikes in the next section.
Take a guided tour: If you’re short on time for planning, let a guided tour show you the sights. Wildland Trekking has options for guided backpacking tours and guided day hikes through Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rock climbing: Whether it be bouldering, big wall climbing, or mountaineering, Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular location for climbing. Longs Peak is a desirable climb for many. There are several rules and regulations for climbing within the Park boundaries, and it is always imperative to follow leave no trace principles when entering the backcountry.
Backpacking: If you’re looking for more than a day hike, Rocky Mountain National Park has plenty of spectacular routes for multi-day backpacking trips. The weather in June is near perfect for backpacking but it is essential to pack warm layers for the chilly nights in higher elevations. Backpacking permits are required and can be purchased at the Wilderness Offices located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center.
hiking in june
Here are some suggested day hikes for Rocky National Park in June:
1. Emerald Lake
- Mileage: 3.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 650 feet
- Trailhead: Bear Lake
It is highly recommended to use the park shuttle to reach this trailhead in June. Take the fork to the left just beyond the Bear Lake trailhead. Climb your way up to Nymph Lake and keep your eyes peeled for views of Longs Peak along this paved section of the trail. Next you’ll reach Dream Lake, which sits amongst an abundance of summer wildflowers. From the shores of Dream Lake, travel another 0.6 miles and you’ll reach the 10,000 foot subalpine Emerald Lake located in Tyndall Gorge. Look to the west for spectacular views of the 12,713 foot Hallett Peak.
2. Alberta Falls
- Mileage: 1.7 miles
- Elevation Gain: 200 feet
- Trailhead: Glacier Gorge
It is highly recommended to use the park shuttle to reach this trailhead in June. As you begin on the trail, you’ll first cross Chaos Creek and briefly join the Glacier Creek Trail. The trail splits shortly after so make sure to turn right— a left turn will take you to Bear Lake. Travel through pines and aspen groves for 0.8 miles to the 30 foot Alberta Falls. This waterfall plunges into Glacier Creek — a perfect sight for an afternoon picnic.
3. Bierstadt Lake
- Mileage: 2.4 miles
- Elevation Gain: 675 feet
- Trailhead: Bierstadt Lake
It is highly recommended to use the park shuttle to reach this trailhead in June. You’ll begin with a one mile 600 foot climb along switchbacks, through lodgepole pines and aspens, to reach the top of the Bierstadt Moraine. Along the way enjoy stunning views of the mountains of the Continental Divide. At the top of the moraine you’ll reach the Bierstadt Lake Loop Trail junction. Turn right at the junction, and in another 0.3 miles you’ll reach the southwestern shore of Bierstadt Lake, encompassed by pine forest. Here you have the option to travel around the entire lake (another 0.7 miles). Either way you slice it, you’ll enjoy stunning views before heading back to the trailhead.
4. Adams Falls
- Mileage: 0.9 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 113 feet
- Trailhead: East Inlet
The Adams Falls hike is a fantastic option on the less crowded, west side of the Park. Begin on the East Inlet trail. You’ll hike one-third of a mile through a forest of pines and aspens until you reach the Adams Falls Trail. Turn right, and hike towards the overlook of Adams Falls— plunging 55 feet into a gorge below. From here you can climb to the top of the waterfall, and on a clear day you can see into the town of Grand Lake.
5. Bear Lake
- Mileage: 0.8 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 45 feet
- Trailhead: Bear Lake
On this short but sweet hike, one of the most popular hikes in the summer, you’ll travel through the subalpine forest filled with spruce, fir, lodgepole pine, and aspen. It is recommended that you travel in a counter clockwise direction along Bear Lake. Near the beginning of the trail, near the eastern shore of Bear Lake, is a fantastic view of Hallett Peak. On the north side, of the lake you’ll see Half Mountain and Longs Peak.
weather in june
Rocky Mountain National Park in June is filled with warm, sunny days followed by chilly nights. Keep in mind that the west side of the Park at Grand Lake has more precipitation— afternoon storms and potentially high winds are possible. At Grand Lake in June, there is a high of 71ºF (21ºC) and 32ºF (0ºC) and an average of five days of precipitation. In Estes Park in June, you can expect a high of 74ºF (23ºC) and low of 45ºF (7ºC).
JOIN A GUIDED COLORADO HIKING ADVENTURE
Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some of the most epic and amazing hiking vacations in the world. Wildland Trekking offers trips with the best of Rocky Mountain: waterfalls, mountains, views, wildlife, solitude, adventure and fascinating natural and cultural interpretation.
Guided Rocky Mountain treks are all-inclusive which covers permits; local transportation (excluded on certain tours); meals; equipment; safety systems and professional hiking/wilderness guides; all of which allows visitors to maximize their time in Rocky Mountain and focus entirely on enjoying the Park.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE TOURS
- GUIDED BACKPACKING ADVENTURES: these are for people interested in an authentic Rocky Mountain adventure away from the roads and crowds.
- PORTERED & LLAMA TRIPS: on these innovative trips, guests hike with light day packs and camp near in stunning backcountry locations.
- INN-BASED PACKAGES: these tours are all-inclusive packages with lodging, amazing daily hikes, expert guides, meals, transportation and more!
- CAMPING-BASED HIKING PACKAGES: camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of Rocky Mountain on wonderful outdoor vacations.
- DAY HIKE TOURS: maximize your day in Rocky Mountain on a fully guided, award-winning hiking tour on one of the Park’s best trails.
About the Author
Erin McCarthy is a freelance writer and former Colgate University Outdoor Education Leader. When Erin isn’t writing, she is exploring the mountains and rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. You can view her complete portfolio at www.erinannmccarthy.com.