Tucked into an odd corner on the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park, between the East Portal, the YMCA of the Rockies and the Glacier Basin Campground, sits a little gem of a peak, Emerald Mountain.
Emerald offers a nice panoramic view of Longs Peak and the Continental Divide as well as the Mummy Range. The short, yet somewhat steep, hike up Emerald is mostly off trail, climbing through sage brush and some ponderosa pines.
Emerald Mountain is situated on the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park and is easily accessible from both inside and outside of the park.
TOPO map showing the route up Emerald. The red line starts at the East Portal trailhead, and the blue line starts at Glacier Basin campground
View of Emerald Mountain from Lily Mountain. The red line follows the trail from the East Portal to where the off trail section starts. The blue line follows the East Portal trail from Glacier Basin campground and the yellow line is the off trail portion of the hike
Emerald Mountain can be accessed either via the East Portal Trailhead or from Glacier Basin Campground via the East Portal Trail. From the East Portal trailhead it is just a short hike of about a half mile to where the trail cuts across open terrain and enters into the aspen trees. Just below reaching the aspens, off to the right there is a set of flat boulders followed by a faint trail.
On the trail, but looking up where the off trail hike starts
Since Emerald Mountain is in Rocky Mountain National Park, all park regulations apply.
The Park has five drive-in campgrounds and numerous back country campsites. The closest campground to Emerald Mountain is Glacier Basin Campground, however the Morraine Park Campground is within hiking distance for those interested in a longer hike. For backcountry camping, there are three such campsites near Emerald, those being: Wind River Bluff; Over the Hill and Upper Wind River.
For information on the drive-in campgrounds visit the park's camping web site.