Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (Guide & Photos)

If you’re visiting Rocky Mountain National Park you’ll probably want to make a stop at Lily Lake. Located on the east side of the park Lily Lake is a 15 minute drive from Estes Park. The Lily Lake property was purchased by the Rocky Mountain National Park in 1992. The lake is surrounded by a popular accessible trail that took 5 years to complete with funding from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

Elevated view of Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park from the Lily Ridge Trail
Views from the Lily Ridge Trail

Lily Lake consists of a short 1 mile loop around the lake with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. There is also an extended part of the trail that takes you up the mountain to the north of the lake and is well worth doing.

Foggy view at Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Foggy view at Lily Lake

The trail around Lily Lake is mostly paved and ADA-compliant and still offers plenty of views of the surrounding mountains. It’s the perfect spot if you want something easy with great views. Since it’s on the edge of the park it wasn’t as crowded as other areas (Bear Lake & Trail Ridge Road).

Tips for Visiting Lily Lake

Here are a few things to know before visiting Lily Lake.

  • No matter your hiking ability Lily Lake Trail is a really easy flat 1-mile loop around the lake.
  • If you you want the best views of Lily Lake go up the mountain for the best views (still makes the entire hike 1-mile). After entering Lily Lake if you head north to the right you’ll see the path split near the small bridge and takes you up the mountain.
  • The parking lot is small so I could see it being hard to get a spot on a busy day.
  • There is a bathroom in the parking lot of Lily Lake if needed.
Lily Lake on Google Maps

Lily Lake Pictures

Here are some of my photos from my trip to Lily Lake including the short hike up Lily Ridge Trail. If you’re a photographer I’d recommend bringing a 24-70mm lens or a wide angle (I love my Canon RF 15-35mm).

Want to improve your travel photography?
Read: Travel Photography Tips to Improve Your Photos

Frequently Asked Questions about Lily Lake

Where is Lily Lake located?

Lily Lake is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is situated in Colorado, United States. To access Lily Lake you must use Highway 7 which technically isn’t in the park making it more of an outlying area.

Is Lily Lake inside Rocky Mountain National Park?

While Lily Lake is located in Rocky Mountain National Park it’s considered an outlying area and is accessed via Highway 7 and not an internal National Park road.

How do I get to Lily Lake?

To reach Lily Lake, you can take Highway 7 from Estes Park, Colorado. The lake is approximately 6 miles south of Estes Park and can be easily accessed by car. Keep in mind it’s an outlying area of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Lily Lake?

While there is no pay station at Lily Lake due to it’s location you are required to have a timed ticket and park pass currently when visiting Lily Lake.

How long is the walk around Lily Lake?

The main loop trail at Lily Lake is about 1-mile and likely will take 15 minutes to complete. There is also a part of the trail you can do that doesn’t add much length but adds elevation which could take about 25 minutes in total to complete the full loop with elevation.

Can I swim in Lily Lake?

Legally yes you can swim in the lakes at RMNP except Bear Lake but the water will be extremely cold.

Are there any hiking trails around Lily Lake?

Yes, as mentioned in this post there is a short and scenic trail that loops around Lily Lake. It is an easy, flat trail suitable for all ages and skill levels, providing a great opportunity for a leisurely stroll in nature. There is also an alternative route you can take which has much more elevation without adding much distance.

Can I bring my pets to Lily Lake?

No, dogs are not allowed on trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Are there picnic areas at Lily Lake?

Yes, there are picnic tables and benches available near Lily Lake, making it an ideal spot for a picnic with family or friends. Remember to pack out any trash and leave the area clean (there is a bear proof trash can there as well)

Can I fish in Lily Lake?

Yes, fishing is allowed in Lily Lake if you follow local regulations.

Are there restroom facilities at Lily Lake?

Yes, there are vault toilets located at Lily Lake.

Are there any camping facilities near Lily Lake?

There are no camping facilities at Lily Lake itself. However, Rocky Mountain National Park offers several campgrounds nearby.

Is Lily Lake accessible for people with disabilities?

Yes, Lily Lake has accessible pathways and facilities, making it inclusive and enjoyable for people with disabilities. The flat, well-maintained trail around the lake ensures easy access for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility challenges.

I hope you enjoyed my photos from Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re visiting the area it’s well worth the short visit, especially if you’re looking for a low effort hike that’s close to Estes Park.

Planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Check out my full Rocky Mountain National Park Travel Guide.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *