"Though Lion Gulch Trail actually begins in the foothills life zone, the entire hike’s ambiance is characteristic of the montane zone, in which it eventually arrives. Located between Lyons and Estes Park, Lion Gulch is a highly floristic trek to a broad valley homesteaded in the late 1800s. The route rises steadily, with a few brief segments stony and steep. The trail never strays too far from the water, and it travels in and out of shade before opening into a wide valley at the head of Lion Gulch.
As is true throughout the Rockies, timing is important. By mid-June, wildflower species may number around 50, while one month later yields upwards of 100 species, qualifying Lion Gulch as a “century” trail. The uncommon (and uncommonly beautiful) wood lily blooms here in early July, while hikers may find the distinctive calypso orchid in June. If your hike is perfectly timed, they may both be in bloom. Wildflower alert: A “century” trail that features more than 100 species at peak bloom, including the rare wood lily."