You can’t actually stay in the park though (unless you’re camping), so many travellers, us included, choose to stay in the nearby town of Estes Park. This is just a few miles from the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance, and has shops, hotels and restaurants, as well as a few attractions of it’s own, most notably the Stanley Hotel where we stayed.
My greatest passion in life is spending time in the Great Outdoors. I am passionate to the point that I chose the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (Mount Charleston) as my Landmark Review #1,000. My passion for the Great Outdoors created the "Vegas is Sun City Hiking List" that shares over 100 hiking spots close to Las Vegas. Several of these hiking spots are hundreds of miles downriver from the Colorado River that very river that originates in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Glacier Basin: Located on Bear Lake Road, approximately six miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Satation, this 150 site campground provide easy access to many areas of the East side of the park. Reservations are available for this popular summer-only campground which offers a shuttle stop, tent & RV (35 feet) spots and on-site Ranger-led evening programs.
Timber Creek: The only campground on the park's west side, Timber Creek is often the best bet for those seeking an open spot on a first-come basis. This campground offers 98 sites, accommodations for RVs up to 30 feet, a dump station and water hook-ups. Timber Creek is summer only and access from Estes Park is available only when Trail Ridge Road is open (usually Memorial Day through mid-October, depending on weather) approximate drive time from Estes Park is an hour and a half.
Colorado brims with historic monuments and nature trails that families with kids will love. Visit Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site to learn about the old traders, trappers, and Native Americans who once traded at this post. For pristine wilderness and solitude, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a good choice. There's also San Isabel National Forest, which is home to Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak.
This mansion-cabin is the highest priced on our list, but with the view of the lake and five-minute walk to downtown Frisco, we had to show it off! Bring grandma, grandpa, aunts, and uncles and make it a family getaway worth remembering. The three-level getaway has private garages, floor-to-ceiling windows, and four bathrooms. Find your own piece of paradise and escape to Frisco this winter!
In our Pigeon Forge, TN, cabins, you’ll find relaxing hot tubs, fantastic mountain views, game tables, lots of conveniences, and comfortable spaces that will make you feel right at home. Many are located just minutes from the downtown Parkway, keeping you close to all the restaurants, attractions, and shops the area is known for. After a day playing at Dollywood, shopping at the outlets, or taking in local shows, you’ll have an inviting place to relax and unwind. Whether you’re planning your honeymoon, a fun family vacation, or a big group getaway, our Pigeon Forge cabins will place you just where you want to be and offer you a huge range of amenities.
This charming cabin is found in Nederland, Colorado, right in the thick of the wilderness. This spacious cabin will give newlyweds the perfect setting to begin the start of married life with the comfort of high-end amenities and gorgeous views of the great outdoors from the comfort of an incredible accommodation. With all the amenities and facilities you would need for a home, a full kitchen, queen sized bed, full entertainment system, and a BBQ, couples will love their escape to this rental. This cabin is nestled into the Rocky Mountains, providing couples with a lot of new adventures to embark on.
Welcome to the 4 Seasons Inn on the Fall River in Estes Park. Nestled in the towering trees, the 4 Seasons Inn provides some of the most relaxing and romantic Estes Park lodging available to couples. We have a spacious deck with hot tub and seating that looks over the river as it passes through our property. There are also picnic and grilling areas for guest use.
If you want to hike in the Bear Lake Road corridor and plan to arrive after 10, your best option, and on some days your only option, will be to take the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles. An entrance pass is required to use The Hiker Shuttle. Purchase a pass online at go.nps.gov/rockyfees
The first stopping point as you come up Trail Ridge Road, you’ll find the main parking point for Many Parks Curve Overlook a little way past the curve itself (it’s well marked). Then you leave your car and walk a couple of minutes to the viewpoint. From here you get sweeping panoramic views across much of the south and eastern parts park, all the way back to Estes Park town and up to the mountains, including a view of Longs Peak.
First – Rocky Mountain National Park is open year round, 24 hours a day. So no worries there. However, if you want to drive Trail Ridge Road, you need to visit from around the end of May to early October. July through September are the busiest time of year, so my recommendation to avoid the crowds and still get good weather, plus plenty of light for activities, would be June.
Chapin Pass trail traverses a dense forest to beautiful views of the Chapin Creek valley, proceeding onward above timberline to the western flank of Mount Chapin. Tundra Communities Trail, accessible from Trail Ridge Road, is a hike offering tundra views and alpine wildflowers. Other trails are Tombstone Ridge and Ute Trail, which starts at the tundra and is mostly downhill from Ute Crossing to Upper Beaver Meadows, with one backcountry camping site. Cache La Poudre River trail begins north of Poudre Lake on the west side of the valley near Milner Pass and heads downward toward the Mummy Pass trail junction. Lake Irene is a recreation and picnic area.
We saw the park on a tour that traveled the totality of the park along Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake entrance at the west to Estes Park at the east. It was 40 miles of nature at its best. We entered and exited in the Montane zone where ponderosa pine dominate below 9,000 feet. We reached the alpine zone above 11,400 where it is too extreme for trees to grow. Here are my favorite first-hand experiences:
Nicky's Resort is a premier resort property in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. Nicky's Resort has been a landmark since 1964. Come visit for the first time or revisit the Nicky's Resort and see all the changes. This pristine property offers lodge rooms, cabins, river units, fireplaces, an outdoor heated pool (in season and is located along a breathtaking stretch of the Fall River. Catch a Rainbow Trout right off the deck of Nicky's Resort lobby. River is always stocked for our guests in the summer. Nicky's Resort is located 1 mile west of Estes Park and 2 miles from the north entrance of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Nicky's Steakhouse, located on site of the property, offers extensive menus for your dining pleasure.
We invite you to Wildwood Inn where you can experience the beauty of the majestic surrounding mountains, the abundant wildlife away from the congested areas of Estes Park. Nestled within 7 acres of private land and the National Park, you will enjoy spectacular views, and star studded nights that can let your spirits soar. Indulge yourself in beautifully appointed suites all with luxurious 310 thread count linens and some with Deluxe Temper-Pedic mattresses. Most offer private outdoor hot tubs with spectacular views of the mountain ranges or fireside hot tubs with shimmering candles aglow, and even ones with both.