There is a short moderate hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that starts at the Alpine Visitor’s Center. It runs only two-thirds of a mile out and back, but it is steep and the air is very thin. This Alpine Ridge Trail is very busy and leads to the summit of the hill.
This trail is a series of steps that are unevenly spaced. The stairs run up the alpine hill above the treeline to the summit. There is no shade because there are no trees this high in the mountains. There is plenty of wind, and when we were there on the summer solstice (June 21), the temperature was in the 40s!
The Alpine Ridge Trail hike was really nice. We passed some beautiful wildflowers just starting to bloom, and there are amazing views along the way, too. At the end of the hike, we posed by a sign that had the elevation at 12,005 feet. We nicknamed this hike Top of the World Hike because you feel like you are standing on top of the world as you look down over the mountains and valleys. We later found out that this hike has also been nicknamed Huffer’s Hill because you will be huffing and puffing at this high elevation.
This hike is doable for everyone, but if you generally spend your time at sea level, be careful and take it slow. My boys counted over 400 high altitude steps. 12,000 feet above sea level can get to you fast. This is a great family friendly hike to a summit in Rocky Mountain National Park. We have a list of kid friendly hikes in Rocky Mountain.