Now, folks are often overwhelmed when they make their first visit to The Park. After all, there are hundreds of miles of trails (in fact there are over 350 miles of trails within RMNP), and dozens of trailheads to explore. So where do you begin? Well, we’re here to help you find the right trail to fit your fitness level, as well as your aptitude at altitude—after all, Longs Peak (the tallest peak in The Park) tops out at a whopping 14,255 feet! Today, we’re going to point out 10 of the easiest hikes you can find in the park. Here’s our list of casual Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes:
Through the years that I hiked by the Colorado River (also Lake Mead near Las Vegas), spent nights in Laughlin and the Grand Canyon beside it, and read about it; I had been curious about what it looks like near its headwaters in the snow melt mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was inevitable that I one day I would see it. That day came last summer when we visited the third most visited National Park of 2015: Rocky Mountain National Park. During my years of hiking by the Colorado River and hours of hiking in the mountainous climate of the Spring Mountains I was also curious about the high mountain climate of this very park.
The park's climate is also affected by the Continental Divide, which runs northwest to southeast through the center of the park atop the high peaks. The Continental Divide creates two distinct climate patterns - one typical of the east side near Estes Park and the other associated with the Grand Lake area on the park's west side. The west side of the park experiences more snow, less wind, and clear cold days during the winter months.
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Rustic River Cabins are tucked away in the Big Thompson Canyon, just four miles from the center of Estes Park. We offer seven all-seasons, pet-friendly cabins on 16 acres that sleep between 2 and 8 people. Built in the mid-1940s, our cabins have a rustic feel that makes you feel part of the Rockies. We wow you with charming decor, sparkling clean showers and bathrooms, and well-stocked kitchens. You'll love how our cabins bring the outside in while still maintaining a modern feel, including 26” flat screen TVs with satellite, free Wi-Fi, and microwave ovens. From your cabin, head down the trail to the Big Thompson River to spot brown and speckled trout. Grab your fishing poles for some fly fishing - we have one of the greatest spots for fishing!
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Hiking – Trek up in the mountains for some peace and serenity with your spouse. Take a look at our favorite easy hikes that won’t stress your body out but still include stunning panoramas of the Rockies around you. The cooler temperatures are an even better reason to snuggle up next to your sweetie as you look out over the gorgeous Colorado landscape.
Wind down with dinner at the storied Stanley Hotel. The elegant 109-year-old, white-pillared landmark sits on a hill overlooking downtown Estes Park. Guided tours take you through an underground tunnel and reveal how Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining while staying in room 217. Stop by the beautifully crafted antique Cascades Whiskey Bar to choose from 250 different wine labels and the largest whiskey collection in the state.
The Pierre Shale formation was deposited during the Paleogene and Cretaceous periods about 70 million years ago. The region was covered by a deep sea—the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway—which deposited massive amounts of shale on the seabed. Both the thick stratum of shale and embedded marine life fossils—including ammonites and skeletons of fish and such marine reptiles as mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and extinct species of sea turtles, along with rare dinosaur and bird remains—were created during this time period. The area now known as Colorado was eventually transformed from being at the bottom of an ocean to dry land again, giving yield to another fossiliferous rock layer known as the Denver Formation.
The park is home to some 2,000 to 3,000 elk in summer, and between 800 and 1,000 elk spend the winter within its boundaries. Because of lack of predation, the National Park Service culls around 50 elk each winter. Overgrazing by elk has become a major problem in the park's riparian areas, so much so that the NPS fences them out of many critical wetland habitats to let willows and aspens grow. The program seems to be working, as the deciduous wetland plants thrive within the fencing. Many people think the elk herd is too large, but are reluctant to reintroduce predators because of its proximity to large human populations and ranches.
It’s open between May and October, although conditions can cause it to be closed temporarily even in those times. We recommend doing the first 18 miles or so of the road at least, from where it starts just inside the park up to just beyond the Alpine Visitor Centre. You’ll find incredible views along this stretch, and you’ll be stopping more than you might think!
Hot Tubs, Woodstoves, Secluded, Outdoor Fireplace for campfire, WiFi. Charming, pet friendly, private vacation cabins off Hwy 7 in Allenspark and Raymond, conveniently located between Lyons and Estes Park. Choose directly on the Middle St Vrain River OR on spacious, wooded acreage bordered by the famous crystal clear Willow Creek. Year round-Great Value! Hideout Cabins Details
Features: The Tundra Communities Trail, AKA the Toll Memorial Trail, sits on top of the world. From this above-treeline vantage point, you’ll get a closeup look at high-country tundra, the flowers and plants it supports, and the animals that clamber across this the terrain. While the round trip hike for this path is just over a mile, it’s a bit demanding due to the elevation gain and the extreme altitude. It’s a hike that’s well worth it, though, as you’ll see unique mushroom-like rock formations just minutes from the parking pull-off. It’s a 40 minute car ride from our resort to the Tundra Communities parking area.
Most visitors enter the park through the eastern entrances near Estes Park, which is about 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver. The most direct route to Trail Ridge Road is the Beaver Meadows entrance, located just west of Estes Park on U.S. Route 36, which leads to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the park's headquarters. North of the Beaver Meadows entrance station is the Fall River entrance, which also leads to Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road. There are three routes into Estes Park: I-25 to U.S. 34 west which runs alongside the Big Thompson River; U.S. 36 west (northwest) from Boulder connecting to U.S. 34 west; and the Peak to Peak Highway, also known as State Highway 7, from points south.
Features: The Holzwarth Historic Site, or Never Summer Ranch as it’s sometimes called, has a variety of cabins built in the early 1900s. This dude ranch has been preserved by the Nature Conservancy ever since the 1970s, and it retains much of its same rustic look. You can read more about the Holzwarth Historic Site at Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails’ Holzwarth Historic Site Trail page. It’s just over an hour drive to get from Rams Horn Village to the Holzwarth Historic Site.
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.
Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and westerns slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.