Precambrian metamorphic rock formed the core of the North American continent during the Precambrian eon 4.5–1 billion years ago. During the Paleozoic era, western North America was submerged beneath a shallow sea, with a seabed composed of limestone and dolomite deposits many kilometers thick. Pikes Peak granite formed during the late Precambrian eon, continuing well into the Paleozoic era, when mass quantities of molten rock flowed, amalgamated, and formed the continents about 1 billion–300 million years ago. Concurrently, in the period from 500–300 million years ago, the region began to sink while lime and mud sediments were deposited in the vacated space. Eroded granite produced sand particles that formed strata—layers of sediment—in the sinking basin.
There's nothing better than experiencing a new destination with your sweetheart, so consider taking time to discover all there is to see and do in Estes Park. If you and your love want to take in the area's natural beauty, you'll enjoy Estes Park for its mountain views, parks, and wildlife. A visit to Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead, or Fall River Entrance Station might be just the ticket when you're checking out the sights.
Dial (970) 586-1222 for a recorded message on the status of Trail Ridge Road. You may not know that our mountain makes its own weather, so it is not uncommon to have snow in July or August at the top of Trail Ridge Road. Such weather will only last for a few hours to a day, but if you are planning to cross over Trail Ridge Road, weather may hamper your travel. You also may find the road closed due to weather in early June and September/October.
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.
Cow Creek Trail follows Cow Creek, with its many beaver ponds, extending past the Bridal Falls turnoff as the Dark Mountain trail, then joining the Black Canyon trail to intersect the Lawn Lake trail shortly below the lake. North Boundary Trail connects to the Lost Lake trail system. North Fork Trail begins outside of the park in the Comanche Peak Wilderness before reaching the park boundary and ending at Lost Lake. Stormy Peaks Trail connects Colorado State University's Pingree Park campus in the Comanche Peak Wilderness and the North Fork Trail inside the park.
Boasting a rich history, cozy accommodations, delicious cuisine and spectacular mountain views, the Baldpate Inn is a traditional mountain getaway that has been enchanting visitors for nearly 100 years. Built in 1917, the Inn is located seven miles south of Estes Park next to the Rocky Mountain National Park and offers a variety of things to see and do.
A geographical anomaly is found along the slopes of the Never Summer Mountains where the Continental Divide forms a horseshoe–shaped bend for about 6 miles (9.7 km), heading from south–to–north but then curving sharply southward and westward out of the park. The sharp bend results in streams on the eastern slopes of the range joining the headwaters of the Colorado River that flow south and west, eventually reaching the Pacific. Meanwhile, streams on the western slopes join rivers that flow north and then east and south, eventually reaching the Atlantic.
The riparian ecosystem runs through the montane, subalpine, and alpine tundra zones and creates a foundation for life, especially for species that thrive next to streams, rivers, and lakes. The headwaters of the Colorado River, which provides water to many of the southwestern states, are located on the west side of the park. The Fall River, Cache la Poudre River and Big Thompson Rivers are located on the east side of the park. Just like the other ecosystems in the park, the riparian zone is affected by the climatic variables of temperature, precipitation, and elevation. Generally, riparian zones in valleys will have cooler temperatures than communities located on slopes and ridge tops. Depending on elevation, a riparian zone may have more or less precipitation than other riparian zones in the park, with the difference creating a shift in the types of plants and animals found in a specific zone.
Out in the high desert of Colorado’s southwest corner, you’ll find hot springs, snowy peaks, forests, and so much more. Stay in a Pagosa Springs or Steamboat Springs vacation rental and experience the soul-reviving relaxation of a natural hot spring. Skiing isn’t just for Summit County: you’ll find satisfying slopes and a great ski culture at Crested Butte, too. Durango, situated in the San Juan National Forest, offers historic railways, white water rafting, and more.
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.
We started at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and scored some hats at a great price. The park rangers were really nice and provided maps and advice on where to hike. Then it was off to Sheep Lakes. Not much to see here unless you get to see some of the big horn sheep that live in the area. No such luck for us this time around, but it was fun to see photos and read about those who had made an appearance in the days prior to our arrival.
Rocky Mountain National Park was selected to participate in a climate change study, along with two other National Park Service areas in the Rocky Mountain region and three in the Appalachian Mountain region. The study began in 2011, orchestrated by members of the academic scientific community in cooperation with the National Park Service and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The stated objective: "develop and apply decision support tools that use NASA and other data and models to assess vulnerability of ecosystems and species to climate and land use change and evaluate management options."
Whether you’re looking for an affordable place to stay for the weekend or a luxury mountain getaway, vacation rental cabins make a Colorado trip relaxing and easy. Find a cabin near your favorite ski resort or stay secluded in the Rocky Mountains. Get ready to cuddle up by the fireplace in these 15 magnificent cabin rentals in the great state of Colorado.
Further from Estes Park and nestled directly above Fort Collins, Gaia’s Farm & Gardens is a three-acre, sustainable, permaculture farm that offers a CSA program of organic produce, a cafe-style roadside stand, farm-to-table private tours, animal-assisted therapy, horticultural therapy, a therapeutic petting zoo, and The Shangri-la Inn. Unlike any other inn experience, the Shangri-la allows guests a bohemian and eco-friendly stay in both farm and bed and breakfast style.
Nature created a perfectly beautiful vacation spot right on Fall River, where you will find our lovely village of 20 cabin suites. They are sprinkled over 17 acres amid the Pine & Aspen with kitchens, fireplaces, decks, grills, Free Wi-Fi, & some private hot tubs overlooking the stocked fishing river. Streamside is perfect for your relaxing river-front getaway. Streamside on Fall River Details
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.
Features: Take a quick hike around Lake Irene. Lake Irene is one of the highest lakes in the park; it’s just below the continental divide. This secluded little lake is surrounded by pine trees, and the trail is fairly flat along its entire length. However, once again, since this lake is at elevation, it can be a bit winding—you’ll notice that the trees don’t grow quite so high around the lake since you’ll be near tree line. Take note, the parking lot is the highest point on this hike, so be prepared for the uphill jaunt back to your car! Halfway through the trail, you can also visit an overlook on the trail that displays a vista of Lake Irene and a nearby meadow (this portion of the trail is not part of the length calculation above). It’s about an hour drive from the resort to the Lake Irene Picnic Area.
Marissa is a writer for 303 Magazine’s Travel, Lifestyle + Culture Desk. She grew up in Canada, but spent her adult life navigating South Carolina as a Canadian transplant. She secretly enjoys the cold weather in Colorado, but complains about it anyway. In her free time, you can find her bothering her friends to go out, watching comedy shows or driving long distances to see something cool she read about online. All wit and charm is 85% her parents and 15% something she learned in middle school from the 8th graders on her bus. Follow her on Twitter @marissajkozma