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Deer Mountain

Rocky Mountain National Park

Northern Front Range, Colorado

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Deer Mountain

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  • A look up the Deer Mountain Trailhead from the road.- Deer Mountain
  • Shortly after you begin your hike you'll see the path down to the Aspenglen Campground.- Deer Mountain
  • A downed tree that looked fresh had been there long enough for an alternate route to be established.- Deer Mountain
  • Climbing up open meadows on the side of the mountain offer sweeping views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.- Deer Mountain
  • This will be your view for much of the hike once you switchback through open meadows.- Deer Mountain
  • The last push to the summit is a short and rocky stairmaster. Push through for a summit view.- Deer Mountain
  • I had plenty of room to pack out this trash left by others. Please be cognizant of any trash from meals/snacks you bring and securely pack them out.- Deer Mountain
  • The view atop Deer Mountain overlooking most of Estes Park.- Deer Mountain
  • The rocky area at the Deer Mountain summit offers near 360-degree views of Estes Park and the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park.- Deer Mountain
  • The geological marker at the Deer Mountain summit (10,013 ft).- Deer Mountain
  • Longs Peak towers over you most of the Deer Mountain hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.- Deer Mountain
  • A lone tree covers the trail in an open meadow overlooking the valley.- Deer Mountain
  • The setting sun hits the hills from behind to create streaks of sun beams.- Deer Mountain
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Rare summit hike. Many scenic viewpoints. Great beginner summit hike.
Cons: 
Lack of parking at the trailhead. Popular hike that is often congested. No trail access to water.
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Region:
Northern Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,073.00 ft (327.05 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
8,940.00 ft (2,724.91 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Deer Mountain is one of the few peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park that has a trail leading to its summit. What makes it even more attractive is its short round-trip distance and relatively moderate vertical climbing. While this remains a popular hike for these reasons, the limited parking at the trailhead helps to control the crowds.

The trail starts climbing immediately over the first mile through open wooded areas where you'll pass an access trail to reach Aspenglen Campground. After roughly a half mile, the trail opens into open meadows with views of the valleys and overshadowing mountains within Rocky Mountain National Park.

After about 0.8 mile, you'll reach the first true switchback. Be careful not to miss it. Know to keep your eyes peeled uphill once you hit the open meadows. After a couple switchbacks through open meadows offering vast views of multiple sides of the park, you'll enter a densely wooded area that is more rocky. You'll reach somewhat of a false summit before heading back downhill for about a mile. Don't worry, this means you're getting close! After reaching the intersection with the trail leading down to Estes Park, you are a short rocky stair sprint away from the true Deer Mountain summit.

The Deer Mountain Summit is open and rocky. You'll be treated to unique views down at the east entrance of park as well as Estes Park behind it. As you explore the summit, you can move around clockwise to the south-southwest facing vistas offering a new view of the valleys and taller peaks on that side of the park.

It is easy to see why this is a popular hike, so be sure to arrive for sunrise if you wish to avoid congestion.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(20 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(75 within a 30 mile radius)

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