• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    9 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2500 Feet

Forest
Lake
Scenic

Get the classic sunrise shot on Longs Peak. A fantastic (relatively) short hike with sublime views. 9 mile roundtrip hike with 2500' elevation gain. Option to summit Longs Peak (14255') if you've got the energy.

The 4.5 mile trail climbs around 2500ft from the Longs Peak trailhead, and starts by winding through dense forest. In the morning darkness, trudging through thick trees isn’t the most exciting, but when you finally climb out above treeline, the massive profile of Longs and the slowly growing light on the horizon is a welcome sight.

Make sure you know your hiking speed and leave early enough to arrive at the lake for the classic 'Sunrise hitting Longs Peak' shot! If you've got energy to spare after taking in the sunrise, backtrack a little back to East Longs Peak Trail and head up to the peak through the Keyhole route. This will tack on another 5.5 miles and add an additional 2500' in elevation, so make sure you're ready!

Pack List

Depending on season:
  • Camera
  • Gloves
  • Fleece + down jacket
  • Beanie
  • Water
  • Microspikes/snowshoes
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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Hiked this on 9/30/17. We started on the trail around 8am and made it to the lake around 10:30am or so. The hike itself is gorgeous with lots of viewpoints. The last bit of the hike takes you through a path of shale... the path is good, however there is definitely ice/ light snow over parts of it. The view at the lake is gorgeous and definitely worth it. Bring layers b/c there is little protection from wind if you go on a breezy day (which we did). Enjoy the hike, it's amazing :)

5 months ago
5 months ago

One of the best day hikes near Boulder area. The Chasm meadow leading up to the lake is absolutely wonderful. It is really awesome to hike in the winter too when the lake is frozen over.

5 months ago
5 months ago

After hearing about how amazing this hike was, I decided to see for my own eyes the wonderful view. Unfortunately, me and the weather weren't on the same page on the way there. I couldn't see anything more than a couple feet in front of me because of the fog, and it even started to rain during the third mile (luckily I brought a poncho)! However as I stopped to turn back on the last mile (there was an icy patch that wasn't safe to cross), the fog cleared up and I had the most incredible view from the mountain side. So, to anyone who is worried about the weather, just keep going and I promise it will be worth it!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Honestly, this is the only hike that I have done inside of RMNP, but it was AMAZING. It is a perfect balance of hiking through forests, alpine tundra, (we had some snowfields near the lake), and a phenomenal view of Chasm Lake at the top! Take a plunge if you are truly daring... IT'S WORTH IT.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is one of my favorite hikes I've ever done. Just wanted to add that if anyone wants to shorten their morning hike there is a backcountry campsite along the Longs Peak trail. Goblin's Forest is located 1.1 miles from the trailhead. Although shaving off only a mile from the hike doesn't seem like much it was also convenient to not have to worry about driving in and finding a parking spot in the overflowing parking lot. All in all I would highly recommend this adventure!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

The view was worth it, but 11,000 ft and a 2500 ft climb from the trailhead made this quite the challenge for me and my wife. We aren't in GREAT shape, but we do enjoy hiking in and around Atlanta. Over hydrate before this hike if you live in the flatlands like me!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Kyle Frost Admin

Based in Boulder, Colorado. Creative Director at The Outbound :) I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

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