With limited time, as soon as we landed in Colorado, we unloaded our suitcases and headed to the great outdoors. Hermit Park is located just a quick 10 minutes outside Estes Park (right along the road we took into town from Denver). With Estes Park laying in the valley between mountains, that 10 minute drive takes you up in elevation and above the city.
We entered the park with a quick $6 entry fee (per car), talked to the rangers for a minute, and then headed up to the Kruger Rock trail parking lot. Since we had just landed (and weren’t adjusted to the elevation difference), we wanted a hike that had great views, but also wasn’t too strenuous. A few of the trail stats for the hike we settled on are listed below:
Kruger Rock Trail
Distance: 3.7 mi (roundtrip)
Elevation Gain: 1,137 ft
Elevation Max: 9,257 ft
Up we went. The trail starts in the meadow and slowly rises for the first mile until you are suddenly greeted by a viewpoint that overlooks all of Estes Park. Heads up: This is not the end of the trail. We met a fellow traveler who thought it was…sorry bud. This is only half way to the end and then you have to go all the way back.
After the first overlook, there are a few more overlook areas that are a little smaller, but have similar views. From there, you really start to climb to get to the highest point of the trail aka the end point. If we didn’t feel any change in elevation before, we definitely felt it at this point. Man, I felt out of shape with how hard the hill had me breathing. It might be that I am not in the best shape but obviously we blamed it all on altitude and lack of oxygen 🙂
After a few pit stops, we made it!! It was absolutely AMAZING at the top – 360 views of the mountains and allll of the green. We enjoyed the views for a little while and then headed back down in double time. We may have been incentivized to get back to enjoy a nice cold brew with a few friends.
Overall, we would 100% recommend this hiking trail. It was a great afternoon hike that was long enough to feel like you did something, but not too intense. Additionally, it had amazing views pretty much the whole way.