I would definitely recommend driving Trail Ridge Rd. between Grand Lake and Estes Park. This is a great drive through the entire park with lots of great pull outs and stops along the way. Be aware that this is the highest paved road on the continent at over 12,000ft. elevation and altitude sickness affects 50% of the visitors. Trail Ridge Rd. is very scary to drive if you're not used to curvy roads with no guards rails. Without stops, it will take 1.5hrs to drive from town to town. Because we stopped so much, it took us 4 hrs to get from Estes Park to Grand Lake, we ate dinner in Grand Lake and then it took us 1.5 hrs to drive straight back.
Rocky Mountain National Park is home to many species of animals, including nearly 70 mammals and almost 300 species of birds. This diversity is due to the park's varying topography, which creates a variety of habitats. However, some species have been extirpated from the park, including the gray wolf, the wolverine, the grizzly bear, and the American bison.
Features: Sprague Lake offers up pristine, open views of Half Mountain, Thatchtop Mountain, Otis Peak, Flattop Mountain, Taylor Peak, Notchtop Mountain, and Hallett Peak, as well as much of the Continental Divide. You can also catch a glimpse of aspen groves on the hillsides surrounding the lake, making Sprague Lake another ideal spot to visit in autumn. Sprague Lake is considered a handicap accessible hike.
We got to the trailhead around 8am and barely ran into anyone our whole hike up. We used snowshoes the entire time but the trail is well defined. It wasn’t too windy for us but I have heard it can get really windy on this hike especially up at emerald lake. There are some inclines that will get your heart rate up but overall it isn’t too difficult of a hike. When we started to head back to our car around 9:30 the trail started to get really busy. When we left the parking lot was nearly full. If you want a quiet hike I suggested starting early.
If you're pining to pull on the hiking boots or skis, swim in wild lakes or go canoeing in the morning, a cabin's location presents a perfect choice. Aside from the abundance of nature, cabins can also offer plenty for families. Take cabin resorts, which often have pools, playgrounds and on-site restaurants. Or, look to larger cabins with multiple bedrooms and kitchens.
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
The Lowdown: Just three miles north of downtown Breck, the Silver Pines Cottage has all the essentials you need and then some for a ski vacation without the hassle of resort lodging. With unbeatable mountain views, this cozy cabin retreat is great for families with a children’s playroom but offers a steam shower and whirlpool for the adults. The entire house is yours for unbelievably only $144 a night.
With two bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen (complete with a coffee bean grinder, toaster, and crockpot) and one and a half updated bathrooms, the remote cabin provide luxury accommodations within walking distance of three picturesque mountain lakes. Guests enjoy a range of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, fly fishing, or exploring the Alta Lakes Ghost Town, or sledding, tubing, ice skating, and more in the winter months.
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.
Region 2 is the alpine region of the park with accessible tundra trails at high elevations—an area known for its spectacular vistas. Within the region are Mount Ida, with tundra slopes and a wide-open view of the Continental Divide, and Specimen Mountain, which has a steep trail and the opportunity to view bighorn sheep and marmots. Forest Canyon Pass is near the top of the Old Ute Trail that once linked villages across the Continental Divide.
So you know: we worked in partnership with Visit Estes Park on our trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and they covered our park entry fees. The Stanley Hotel also covered our two nights of accommodation in the hotel, plus breakfast and dinner. All other expenses, including car hire, additional meals etc, we covered ourselves. If you’re interested in learning how we choose companies to work with, check out our code of ethics.
The Stanley Hotel is much more than just a luxury hotel. In addition to its historic rooms, legendary grounds overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park and destination dining services, its storied and haunted past which reaches back more than 100 years has made it one of the most famous hotels in the country. Activities inside include a spooky Night Spirit Tour which explores the phenomena and folklore surrounding the hotel.
Great winter hike! We brought snow shoes and used them because we had them, but would have been fine with just microspikes and poles. Summit was beautiful, but with wind gusts up to 40 or 50 mph that made it extremely cold and a bit difficult to stand up. Elevation gain is slow and steady, making it a pretty easy 2500ft climb. Would love to do this hike again!
The climate change study projects further temperature increases, with greater warming in the summer and higher extreme temperatures by 2050. Due to the increased temperature, there is a projected moderate increase in the rate of water evaporation. Reduced snowfall—perhaps 15% to 30% less than current amounts—and the elimination of surface hail, along with the higher likelihood of intense precipitation events are predicted by 2050. Droughts may be more likely due to increased temperatures, increased evaporation rates, and potential changes in precipitation.
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.
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.
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!
The Wildwood Inn is 4 miles west of Estes Park, for those lovers who want to get a little further away from it all. Situated on seven acres right on Fall River and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, the inn is surrounded with majestic mountain views, river views and abundant wildlife. All the cabins, suites and vacation homes feature fireplaces, fabulous views, luxurious down bedding and high-thread-count linens. This is a great place to get away with that special someone in luxury, surrounded by natural beauty.
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:
Planning a large group getaway can be enough of a challenge. Let us make it easier for you with area expertise (check out our Smoky Mountain Memories magazine for tips) and large group lodges loaded with amenities and offering plenty of space. Ranging from 5 all the way up to an impressive 12 bedrooms, our group cabins can sleep anywhere from 16 to 50+ guests! Amenities like double appliances, huge dining spaces, multiple living rooms, private indoor pools, and large game rooms make group stays comfortable, memorable – and simpler! From retreat to reunion and beyond, we have the large group cabin rental for you.
Jess and I recently visited Colorado, which was my first visit to this wonderfully mountainous part of the US. We were primarily there to attend a travel influencers conference, but we tacked on a few days to do a bit of sight-seeing, starting off in the capital of Denver, where I watched my first ever baseball game, after which we headed out to explore some of those incredible mountains.
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.
Overlooking the scenic Beaver Creek Mountain, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a luxury Colorado resort and spa where guests can experience the vacation of their dreams. From breathtaking mountain views to championship golf courses to exquisite cuisine, Hyatt’s Beaver Creek ski resort offers the perfect year-round Vail Valley mountain escape with premium amenities, such as ski in and ski out access, a year-round heated outdoor pool, and an outdoor fire pit for roasting s’mores.
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.
Daily bus service into Rocky Mountain National Park is available weekends beginning in Memorial Weekend and then daily from June 27, 2016 to September 7, 2016 and weekends until the end of September, 2016. There are two more routes to help you once you are in the Park for Moraine Park and Glacier Basin (Bear Lake). Sorry, there are no bus routes for Trail Ridge Road or Horseshoe Park.
Bear Paw Suites & River Stone Resorts offer a beautiful setting for your riverfront mountain experience! All one, two and three bedroom units are fully equipped and tastefully decorated to include everything you need! These selected properties offer king beds in the master suites with a 2-person Jacuzzi tub (3 bedrooms have a private outdoor hot tub), a full kitchen, fireplaces, and private patios/decks to relax. For more information, please visit our website at www.riverstoneresorts.com or call us at 888-234-4747.
The land at Dao House sits on what was once a gathering place of peace for rival Native American tribes in the region. Over the years, it has operated as a homestead, a ranch and a fox farm before becoming a lodge for the first time in 1948. In 2015, Dao House emerged as a meeting point of western and eastern cultures and today, they offer lodging, equestrian experiences and wellness activities including an oxygen lounge, internal martial arts, personalized retreat programs and shorter wellness getaways.
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.
If driving Trail Ridge Road or Old Fall River Road is on the top of your list and you have limited time, you may want to enter the park via the Fall River Entrance on the park’s east side. It also is just a few minutes from Estes Park’s downtown. You’ll reach Trail Ridge Road a lot faster than those waiting in line at the Beaver Meadows Entrance during the summer and fall seasons.