Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson

Property: Lily Lake Water and Recreation Rights
Priority Area: Estes Valley (map)


Lily Lake was one of the last privately owned parcels left in the area. It is surrounded by publicly owned and protected land, consequently it was important to continue safeguarding the character of the area as well as minimizing the development around the lake. Water rights were already being sold off, creating an urgency to protect the lake by preserving the water rights. Likewise the tranquility of the area was ensured when the recreational rights were also purchased and controlled.

Take Hwy 34 into Estes Park and then take Hwy 7 South to the end of the valley and up the switchback. Follow this all the way to Lily Lake which is located in Rocky Mountain National Park right across from the Twin Sisters Trailhead.

Management Summary

  Yes No Comments
Permit Required   *  
Permit Required   *  
Trails *   Fishing and canoeing are also permitted.
  • hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • horses
Restrooms *   At the Lily Lake Visitor's Center
Drinking fountains *   At the Lily Lake Visitor's Center
Dogs allowed   * Dogs are allowed at the trailhead area if leashed. This trail connects to others in the Rocky Mountain Park system which do not allow dogs. Please watch for regulatory signs.

Management Plan

Larimer County Parks & Open Lands teamed with the Estes Valley Land Trust and other partners to purchase the water and recreation rights to Lily Lake. The rights were purchased to further protect this scenic eastern gateway to RMNP, allow for continued recreation, protect wildlife and provide enjoyment for all those who visit. The National Park Service manages Lily Lake and will use the water rights to maintain water levels.

Property Information

Type of Acquisition #Acres Property
Bargain Sales
Fee Simple 14 $ 551,000 Larimer Co. - $ 45,000
Landowner - $ 236,000
Nat. Park Serv. - $ 135,000
Estes Park - $ 10,000
Tahosa Val. Assoc. - $ 25,000
RMPA* - $ 75,000
GOCO** - $ 25,000
2000 Yes

* Rocky Mountain National Park Associates
** Great Outdoors Colorado

Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson. All rights reserved.