Chasm Lake is one of the most beautiful lake hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. This intermediate level hike is highly trafficked, and is a common detour for those hiking Longs Peak. The well traveled trail rises steadily to the lake, but the views are worth the difficulty.
Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance – 8.4 miles round trip (13.52 km)
Height – 11,823 feet (3,603.7 m)
Elevation gain – 2,500 feet (762 m)
Duration – 6 to 9 hours (book time)
Trailhead Location – Longs Peak Ranger Station – 9,405 feet (directions below)
Dogs – Not Allowed
Need To Know Information
- This hike is located within Rocky Mountain National Park, however you do not need a pass to get in as this doesn’t take you through an entrance gate.
- Dogs are not allowed in RMNP and therefore are not allowed to Chasm Lake.
East Longs Peak Trail to Chasm Lake Trail
The only path to Chasm Lake is from the East Longs Peak Trail. The trail diverges and turns into the Chasm Lake Trail. Hikers will begin at the Longs Peak Ranger station and begin ascending steadily through a beautiful spruce, fir, and longpole pine forest.
Around 2.5 miles into the hike, hikers will reach treeline where the views are incredibly stunning. Views of Mount Lady Washington, Mount Meeker and Longs Peak are incredible. Views eastward to the flatlands are also incredible gorgeous, especially during sunrise.
3.3 miles in, hikers will reach the junction of the Chasm Lake Trail and the East Longs Peak Trail (Chasm Junction). Bearing left, hikers will quickly be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding peaks, Peacock Pool down below, and the waterfalls flowing out of Chasm Lake. This trail is well traveled, and easy to follow.
Hiking in Winter
This is a fantastic winter hiking option. The trailhead is open in winter. Hikers should bring foot traction (microspikes) to keep solid footing during snow and icy conditions. During winter, snowshoes may be necessary as well even though this is well traveled and often well packed.
There is available camping in various places for those wanting to do some overnight hiking. 1.2 miles into the hike lies the Goblins Forest Backcountry Campground, which contains 6 tent sites. Information can be found here.
Hikers may also choose to stay in the Boulder Fields (but this is a very busy campsite located closer to the summit of Longs Peak). Information can be found here.
Many choose to stay at Longs Peak Campground to get started early in the morning. Information can be found here.
Directions & Parking
Directions to Longs Peak Trailhead:
To reach the Longs Peak trailhead, you need to start from the Estes Park and travel 10 miles on CO 7, towards the south. You will see a big National Park sign, take right from here towards the Longs Peak Campground. Climb up and towards the end turn left to reach the parking. You will need to procure a backcountry permit for overnight parking here.
There are no day hike parking fees here. There are bathrooms at the trailhead.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about