Lily Lake Ridge Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Bierstadt Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Bear Lake Loop Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Trail to Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Niedrach Trail at Barr Lake State Park
The Niedrach Trail heads south from the nature center at Barr Lake State Park near Brighton, Colorado. The trail goes around the whole lake – 8.8 miles in total and is essentially flat the entire way. I went to the two-mile marker, but in that span I saw a herd of 20 deer, two bald eagles and scores of ducks and geese.
Sprague Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Length: Just under one mile, loop trail around Sprague Lake
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Notable Features: An easy but very scenic walk around Sprague Lake, one of the more popular areas of Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful clear water in the lake and a great view of nearby mountain peaks. There are picnic areas near the parking lot as well.
Lake Mary at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Location: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Trail Length: About 2.8 miles, double loop trail around Ladora Lake and Lake Mary
Elevation Gain: Minimal elevation change
Notable Features: An easy and pleasant trail that loops around two lakes in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Be on the lookout for birds, frogs and turtles around the lakes, and there are buffalo and deer roaming the surrounding prairie.
Lefty the alligator in Gulf State Park
Location: Gulf State Park, Alabama
Trail Length: About 1.9 miles, in and back trail
Elevation Gain: Pretty much zero – all at sea level
Notable Features: A relaxing walk through marsh with views of a lake, river and if you’re lucky, an alligator or two.
Sweetwater Trail at Cachuma Lake
Cachuma Lake is a visible reminder of California’s severe drought with drastically lower levels than in previous years. But it’s still a wonderful place to hike, camp, fish, and boat (no swimming allowed though).
Sweetwater Trail is the main hiking trail at the lake, stretching from the southwest corner of the recreation area to the Bradbury Dam Vista Point, about 2.5 miles away.
The trail is well-marked, but thanks to the recent diminishing water levels, doesn’t get as close to the lake shore as it once did. There are little spur trails that take you down to the edge, but the lake patrol is very stringent on the no-swimming policy (the lake is the water supply for Santa Barbara, so no people or pets are allowed to enter it). The trail leads hikers up and down short hills, into wooded areas and through grassy meadows.
Dogs are allowed, and this is a good hike for kids, although some younger ones may not want to go the full five-mile round trip. There’s a general store in the park not far from the trailhead for a post-hike snack.
Lake Gregory Regional Park
Lake Gregory Regional Park features a great easy trail that encircles the entire lake. One loop around the lake is just under 2.5 miles with almost no elevation gain.
The trail never strays far from the lake with fitness stations for those who wish to workout. Waterfowl of all kinds are scattered on the surface, but due to development around the lake, don’t expect many land animals other than a few squirrels.
There is lots of dining and other things to do (fishing and boating are popular activities) near Lake Gregory, and a few hotels and rentals are in the area, making it a great weekend getaway or day trip.