We ended up doing Sprague Lake, which is a nice, leisurely walk along a paved path by the lake. It was a beautiful view. I only wish it wasn't so cloudy that day. Next, we drove to the Copeland Falls trail, which is a 0.3 hike from the trailhead of Wild Basin. But to the falls and back is a bit over two miles. Barely anyone was on the trail, which was nice but also creepy at the same time.
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:
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Originally built in 1936 (and with various renovations over the years), the Alpine Visitor Centre (open seasonably) is well worth a visit as part of your Rocky Mountain National Park experience. There’s an informative museum, large gift shop, café, and wonderfully panoramic views. There are also restrooms and staff on hand to answer any questions you might have.
Autumn Gold Festival – Celebrate your new marriage and the new fall season during the Autumn Gold Festival in late September. This year, the festival coincides with a fee-free day for Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, September 26! With free entrance to the park and to the festival, you can save that money for a visit to the spa or a nice romantic dinner out on the town. Did we mention the dancing and live music?
Highlights of our trip were stopping and eating lunch at Hidden Valley, where we saw a bull Elk up close grazing. Hiking the beautiful Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and then on to the breathtaking Dream Lake. Fly fishing in Moraine Park on the Big Thompson River, with Elk surrounding us. Seeing a Moose for the first time at Forest Canyon. Seeing two Big Horn sheep at Sheeps Lake.
Horace Albright, director of the National Park Service between 1929 and 1933, once said about Trail Ridge Road, "It's hard to describe what a sensation this new road is going to make. You will have the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions." Trail Ridge Road was a sensation when it debuted back in 1932 and it remains so today for the travelers that make the 48-mile drive from Estes Park to Grand Lake, rising above the tree line for 11 miles at an elevation of nearly 11,500 feet. Visitors should keep that in mind when they're stopping at the lookout points that the road experiences temperatures that are 20 and even 30 degrees lower than both Estes Park and Grand Park.
The Lowdown: The words “private” and “hot tub” are enough to click on the reservation link for this snuggly cabin in Silverthorne. Large enough to accommodate six, this modern rental features a master bedroom, two flat screen TVs, a patio, walk-in shower, electric fireplace and of course — your very own hidden jacuzzi. Sure, nature is nice too, but this winter stay-cation might leave you lounging indoors.
Glacial geology in Rocky Mountain National Park can be seen from the mountain peaks to the valley floors. Ice is a powerful sculptor of this natural environment and large masses of moving ice are the most powerful tools. Telltale marks of giant glaciers can be seen all throughout the park. Streams and glaciations during the Quaternary period cut through the older sediment, creating mesa tops and alluvial plains, and revealing the present Rocky Mountains. The glaciation removed as much as 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of sedimentary rocks from earlier inland sea deposits. This erosion exposed the basement rock of the Ancestral Rockies. Evidence of the uplifting and erosion can be found on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park in the hogbacks of the Front Range foothills. Many sedimentary rocks from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras exist in the basins surrounding the park.
The Lowdown: Whoa. We can’t promise you the quintessential rustic cabin vibe, but it’s better. The decor in this spectacular log home near Rocky Mountain National Park is a whopping 2,500 square feet and has a hot tub with 33 massage jets, three TVs, a massage chair, covered patio and so, so much more. Our favorite part is the bright sunny yellow bedroom on the second floor. Well done, Airbnb.
There is also plenty for you to explore in the surrounding areas. If you head south, you’ll reach Red Rocks Park, which is known for its red rock formations. Head east, and you’ll find yourself in Denver, where you can experience a taste of the city, complete with shopping and dining options. Head west, and you’ll be in the Rocky Mountains, with options to ski.
The Lowdown: Sure, log cabins are cozy, but this spectacularly swanky retreat has all the modern amenities you need with a more refined design aesthetic. Stargaze from the hot tub on the upper deck, play pool with friends or curl up next to the fireplace. It’s hard to complain about anything here. Granite countertops, neatly upholstered furniture and stainless steel appliances scream sophistication. You’ll be itching to come back.
To get an educational overview of the park, it's wise to stop in at one of RMNP's visitor centers, such as Beaver Meadows. According to recent visitors, the park rangers are extremely helpful and knowledgeable and can help you decide which trails to take, depending on your time and skill level. Along with books and maps, you can also purchase (or rent) equipment like walking sticks or cleats.
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.
The Woodlands on Fall River: When vacationing in Estes Park, choose The Woodlands on Fall River. Awaiting you is a distinctive feeling of the Rocky Mountains with all the comforts of home. Located in a dramatic, mountain riverside setting, The Woodlands offers one and two bedroom suites overlooking the sparkling waters of The Fall River. Beautiful landscaping, bountiful wildlife, trees over 300 years old and Castle Mountain views all combine to provide the perfect location for your vacation or getaway in Estes Park. Just two miles from the Fall River Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park… you have easy access to over 350 miles of hiking trails, bountiful wildlife and scenic drives unique to this great national treasure. Recommended on Trip Advisor.
Experience the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park from your front porch or hot tub! Timber Creek Chalets provides the perfect setting for comfort and relaxation. Following a day of shopping or hiking in the park, refresh yourself in our outdoor heated pool (seasonal), or perhaps just soak in our year-round hot tub. Our chalets sleep from two to ten people � some with personal hot tubs � and are ideal for romantic getaways or family reunions.
Staying or coming to Estes Park for your honeymoon? You will find a wide variety of romantic experiences to make your extended stay full of intimate moments and memorable highlights. Many properties off special honeymoon packages that include indulgences like couples massages, chocolates, champagne and more. Whether or not you ever leave your room, Estes Park honeymoons will create memories to last a lifetime.
We have a wide variety of vacation rental homes to suit your taste and budget. From mountain town, lakefront, golf course, luxury cabins to lodo Denver lofts. We offer short term and seasonal Colorado rentals. So many differnt types of homes are available to you from Condos, cabins, carriage houses to Mountain lookout villas. From Downtown lofts to suburban homes. Also some amazing benefits like ski-in, ski-out, home theaters, heated pools and hot tubs, saunas, fireplaces, games rooms, workout rooms and more.