Lily Lake

Estes Park, Colorado

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Lily Lake’s level loop trail may be the easiest place in Rocky Mountain National Park to see a variety of woody plants—but no pondlilies. Lily Lake, or Lake of the Lilies, was smaller and shallower when tourist Isabella Bird mentioned it in her travel book, A Lady’s Life in the Rockies, in 1873. A dam to enlarge the lake into a reservoir in 1915 made it too deep to support pondlilies. Before its acquisition by the national park in 1992, Lily Lake served as a movie set for the epic television miniseries Centennial, based on James A. Michener’s novel of Colorado history. Rocky Mountain National Park built a wheelchair-accessible trail at the lake, as well as a spur trail called the Lily Ridge Trail, which takes rock climbers closer to cliffs above the lake. The NPS also bolstered the strength of the dam it inherited with the lake just in time to survive the huge fl ood that occurred along the Front Range in September 2013. The popularity of this easily accessible enlarged lake exploded with park acquisition.
Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

by Kent Dannen (Falcon Guides)

Lily Lake’s level loop trail may be the easiest place in Rocky Mountain National Park to see a variety of woody plants—but no pondlilies. Lily Lake, or Lake of the Lilies, was smaller and shallower when tourist Isabella Bird mentioned it in her travel book, A Lady’s Life in the Rockies, in 1873. A dam to enlarge the lake into a reservoir in 1915 made it too deep to support pondlilies. Before its acquisition by the national park in 1992, Lily Lake served as a movie set for the epic television miniseries Centennial, based on James A. Michener’s novel of Colorado history.

Rocky Mountain National Park built a wheelchair-accessible trail at the lake, as well as a spur trail called the Lily Ridge Trail, which takes rock climbers closer to cliffs above the lake. The NPS also bolstered the strength of the dam it inherited with the lake just in time to survive the huge fl ood that occurred along the Front Range in September 2013. The popularity of this easily accessible enlarged lake exploded with park acquisition.

© 2015 Kent Dannen/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Estes Park
Distance: 0.8
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 30 minutes
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 8,927 feet
Top Elevation: 9,030 feet
Local Contacts: Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office, 1000 US 36, Estes Park 80517; (970) 586-1242; www.nps.gov/romo
Local Maps: USGS Longs Peak; Trails Illustrated Longs Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Lily Lake

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Apr 2018