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Hiking alone

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Hiking alone

I'm stopping by RMNP before I meet up with my brother and his wife in Yellowstone and I was wondering if it's really that dangerous to hike alone. I would think most of the popular trails are well populated with people so I don't really see an issue with being attacked by a bear. I plan to hike in the bear lake area (Emerald Lake, Fern Lake) and hike back to the shuttle bus parking lot. Would that be ill advised to hike that alone?

Grand Island...
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167 posts
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1. Re: Hiking alone

When you say Fern Lake, are you talking about the trail from Bear Lake, past Odessa Lake and Fern Lake to the Fern Lake Trailhead? I don't enjoy hiking alone, but I don't think that one should be a problem. There will be people from Fern Lake to the trailhead. The hike to Emerald Lake would have other hikers most of the way, depending on when you leave the trailhead. We usually leave the trailhead about 7 am, and it's never crowded, but usually see at least a few people on the way.

Estes Park, Colorado
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622 posts
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2. Re: Hiking alone

I would consider the Bear Lake to Emerald Lake area to be completely safe to hike alone. I am unable to comment on the Fern Lake area. The Bierstadt Lake area is a nice hike also, which can be done from Bear Lake.

Nederland, Colorado
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3. Re: Hiking alone

I hike alone quite often. It is very important to be aware of your surroundings, of course. This is common sense, but don't take your iPod. You don't want anything to hamper the ability to hear what is going on around the trail. (I see it all the time and I will never understand it!) You may want to avoid hiking early in the morning or at dusk. However, a bear or mountain lion attack is highly unlikely. Weather is more of a hazard than wildlife.

The trails you mentioned should be fine for a solo hiker. Don't know when you will be there, but those are popular trails and there will probably be other people around. If not, I sometimes whistle or sing just to let the critters know that someone is coming.

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4. Re: Hiking alone

Believe me, you won't be alone.

Loveland, Colorado
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5. Re: Hiking alone

Are you talking about the loop hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead to the Fern Lake Trailhead? (that's a beautiful hike by the way!) It's a decently long hike and there are plenty of people on the trail, so you'll be just fine. Make sure to check the shuttle times because you don't want to arrive at the Fern Lake Trailhead after the last shuttle leaves, you'll be in for a loooong walk/hitchhike back to Bear Lake Trailhead!

Pretty much any hike you do from the Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge, Cub Lake or Fern Lake trailheads will be pretty populated with hikers. I would say you would be fine doing almost any hike from those trailheads with out being too isolated. Now, if you're hiking at 5am on a Weds morning, there will be considerably less people, but if you're going on a weekend, you'll find plenty of people.

The hike to Emerald Lake is the most popular in the Park and you'll be far from alone there no matter what time of day you go!

St. Louis, MO
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6. Re: Hiking alone

Emerald Lake is a wonderful, but very popular hike. You'll see many other hikers, and I think it would be a great choice for a solo hike. It's beautiful and probably my very favorite hike in the park too. I'm not aware of bears in Rocky Mountain National park either and have never seen any -- just lots of elk, little critters and birds, deer, and big horn sheep.

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7. Re: Hiking alone

Last year, I hiked solo in this and other areas of the park all summer and into Fall, and will do so again this year (getting a late start!). There are few people at the trailheads before, say, 9am, but by mid-day these trails are pretty packed. Bear certainly exist, but they're likely to avoid you if they hear you first. Personally, I attach a bear bell to my pack to let them know I'm in the area. Enjoy!

8. Re: Hiking alone

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