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.[49] The west side of the park experiences more snow, less wind, and clear cold days during the winter months.[49]
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 love the great outdoors but also want luxurious comfort on your vacation, let the Cabins at Rams Horn Village Resort be basecamp for your Rocky Mountain Getaway. Our western-styled Cabins are the definition of Rocky Mountain comfort w/ all the modern conveniences.  Each cabin is its own private retreat from everyday cares, allowing families & friends to come & play together, & build lifelong memories.  Rams Horn Village Resort Details

Hiked the trail with my wife (both in our early 50's) on Sunday, Feb 10 between 8:30a and 1:30p. Amazing day to spend in the mountains. We went clockwise from the Cub Lake TH. A variety of trail conditions on the way to the lake but nothing that needed traction devices. We used hiking poles the entire time and saw many people without too. Up to the lake we encountered hard pack, snow, a little ice but all manageable. Cub lake is frozen solid and the area around is snow covered so at that point we decided to put on our micro-spikes, great decision. We left our spikes on from that point and were glad we did. Solid snow from the lake to The Pool with drifts up to 2 feet just off the trail. The Pool was 90% frozen and matched the hanging frozen waterfall just east of the pool on the cliffs above. The remainder of the hike was on solid snow, with about 150ft of solid ice to traverse in two different patches. Our spikes made it effortless compared to those doing without, yikes! Nice walk to the Fern Lake TH and back to our car. Weather was cold but clear. Winds were steady in the mid teens with gusts in the mid 30's. See you on the Trails!
Nestled in the trees and rock outcroppings on 8 1/2 acres Sunnyside Knoll Resort is not only one of the most picturesque resorts in Estes Park but is also the most unique, offering superb wildlife viewing. We are ideally located, just minutes from the Fall River entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and a little under a mile from downtown Estes Park. We offer motel units, spa suites�both standard and deluxe�and cabins, with or without private hot tubs. All accommodations have gas or woodburning fireplaces and most have kitchens or kitchenettes. Guests welcome. Come�kick back�relax and enjoy!
Accommodations can be filtered based on your personal preferences. Above, you can see the number of properties that include a specific amenity in Colorado. In Colorado, 29,999 rentals provide "TVs". So, if you want to tune out with some TV time, use the TVs filter to compare these rentals. Three amenities that are not typical are "cribs," "Pets Allowed," and "Jacuzzis."

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.
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.
If you are going into the Park backcountry overnight, you will need a backcountry permit, available free at park headquarters, or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Some areas are closed to overnight camping, and the danger of avalanches frequently exists, so plan your trip carefully, checking with park rangers for the latest Information on the areas In which you plan to travel.

Campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park offer unique, wilderness-meets-community experiences for couples, families and groups. Camping fees are $26 per site, per night in the summer, and $18 in the winter (when the water is off) - some park passes include discounts. Campers may check in after 1 p.m. and are requested to check out by noon; abide by posted quiet hours.

The Landing at Estes Park opened very recently in 2015, but before it was a lodge, it was the home of 83-year-old Joyce and her husband for 45 years. Many of the existing structures were built by hand by the couple when they were young. Today, owners Jay and Jen pay homage to the history and the love built into The Landing and renovated it to be one of the town’s best mountain retreats. Offering suites, villas, cabins and the River Ranch Vacation Home, there is something for everyone at this old-world inn.


Or enjoy a family wildflower hike to Gem Lake or Bridal Veil Falls. For a little more challenge, try the 2.8-mile Mills Lake trek. You’ll be rewarded with grand views of 14,259-foot-tall Longs Peak and the Keyboard of the Winds, a whimsical rock formation named for its shape. Pull over at Moraine Park for prime wildlife watching. More than 3,000 elk and 800 bighorn sheep live in the park, and this U-shaped valley is a regular gathering spot for bugling elk. 
With the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park literally on his doorstep, Erik rises frequently long before dawn to hike back to remote lakes or up high peaks to capture the unparalleled beauty of the Park in warm morning light. Erik has his own gallery in Estes Park, Colorado as well as mini-galleries in Grand Lake, Colorado and outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico where he shows his Desert Southwest work. Read more >>
Many hikers want to experience the thrill of camping in the wild, which is what backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is like. Backcountry permits are necessary and may be obtained at the Backcountry Offices. Near Estes Park, the Backcountry Office is located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Many backcountry campsites dot the park, including special sites for groups of more than seven people. Campers are asked to take responsibility for their sites, such as practicing proper Leave No Trace techniques and taking appropriate wildlife protection measures. More information on these tips plus suggestions for how to plan a backcountry camping trip may be found at the official Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Webpage.  

Colorado is home to some of the most unique and mesmerizing terrain in the American west. Only in Colorado will you see vast beige plains transition into flowering fields and graceful red rock formations transform into the giant Rocky Mountain peaks. With a culture that combines the ruggedness of the frontier days with a laid-back modern mentality, Coloradans are a charming breed of Americans and their state is one of the most beautiful and diverse in the continental U.S.

During the winter most of Trail Ridge Road is closed due to heavy snow, limiting motorized access to the edges of the park.[68] Winter activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing which are possible from either the Estes Park or Grand Lake entrances. On the east side near Estes Park, skiing and snowshoeing trails are available off Bear Lake Road, such as the Bear Lake, Bierstadt Lake, and Sprague Lake trails and at Hidden Valley. Slopes for sledding are also available at Hidden Valley. The west side of the park near Grand Lake also has viable snowshoeing trails.[68][88] Backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed after climbing up one of the higher slopes, especially late in the snow season after avalanche danger has subsided[89], and technical climbing remains also a possibility, although typically differing in style from the summer months[90].
The park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 1976 to protect its natural resources.[67][68] The park's biodiversity includes afforestation and reforestation, ecology, inland bodies of water, and mammals, while its ecosystems are managed for nature conservation, environmental education and public recreation purposes.[67] The areas of research and monitoring include ungulate ecology and management, high-altitude revegetation, global change, acid precipitation effects, and aquatic ecology and management.[67]

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.[58]


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.
Once a mountain mining town, Breckenridge now is all about outdoor adventure. It’s one of Colorado's top year round alpine getaways, with all-season activities galore. When the snow falls, skiers, boarders and snow bunnies from all over flock to Breckenridge for its four peaks. In the summer months, visitors trek the pristine hiking trails and paddle the rivers, while anytime of year, they enjoy the good local beers, original mountain music, and wonderful homes and cottages.
I live in Colorado and visit Rocky Mtn National Park often. I was collecting several good articles for friends who will be visiting so they can preview the area. Why do what others have already done so well? You did an excellent job! I hope you get a chance to come back and see the park from the other entrance. It is somewhat different, also beautiful and not to be missed.
The Ridgeline Hotel and Conference Center in Estes Park is a beautiful, convenient, and affordable marriage venue near Rocky Mountain National Park. Our staff will assist you every step of the way from planning through the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, post wedding brunch, and overnight accommodations. We offer outdoor and indoor spaces, perfect for large or small gatherings.

Spanning the Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National Park stretches across 265,770 acres filled with alpine lakes, the headwaters of the Colorado River and dozens of peaks that reach 12,000 feet and higher. To access the park, there are four entrances, three on the park’s east side and one on the west. To make the most of your time in Rocky Mountain National Park, choose the entrance that will give you the best access to the sights you want to see and experience.


Features: Alpine Ridge Trail is one of the highest hikes in The Park, yet it’s still relatively easy (aside from the thin air due to the altitude). From the Alpine Visitor Center Parking Lot, the Alpine Ridge Trail brings hikers a short hike to a completely open view of the Rockies. Since you’ll be above treeline (trees don’t grow above about 11,500 feet in Colorado), you’ll be able to see many of the highest peaks and ranges throughout the Rocky Mountains. The hike actually covers 225 manmade stairs that lead to the peak of the trail. While this hike is short (.6 mile roundtrip), it is a climb—there’s a reason the trail has been dubbed “Huffer’s Hill.” Take note, since the hike tops off at over 12,000 feet, weather can be cold and erratic, even in summer. It’s about a 50 minute drive from Rams Horn Village to the Alpine Visitor Center. Take note, parking may be limited in summer months.
About 300 million years ago, the land was uplifted creating the ancestral Rocky Mountains.[55] Fountain Formation was deposited during the Pennsylvanian period of the Paleozoic era, 290–296 million years ago. Over the next 150 million years, the mountains uplifted, continued to erode, and covered themselves in their own sediment. Wind, gravity, rainwater, snow, and glacial ice eroded the granite mountains over geologic time scales.[56] The Ancestral Rockies were eventually buried under subsequent strata.[57]
Couples can share snowy adventures together, try out new activities, or split up and go different directions during the day.  Meals with other engaging guests liven the conversation, and the dining room is always filled with laughter. Leisurely afternoon naps or late night soak in the hot tub give couples a chance to retreat from it all and focus on each other.
With elevations ranging from 8,000 feet in the wet, grassy valleys to 14,259 feet at the weather-ravaged top of Longs Peak, a visitor to the park has opportunities for countless breathtaking experiences and adventures. For those wishing to experience the tundra without hiking miles above tree line, the Alpine Visitor’s Center atop Trail Ridge Road is the highest visitor’s center in the entire National Park System!
Trail easy to follow, mostly a trench with packed down snow. I tacked this onto Cub Lake Trail and made a loop. Fern TH to the pool is super easy (1.7 miles), no need for traction. Elevation starts after the bridge and doesn’t quit until Fern Lake. Last half mile of the trail has deep snow and it’s easy to post hole. Started this today (1/10) at 8AM, only person parked at TH (cub lake), did not see a single person until hiking back down from Fern.
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.[58]
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.[42] 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.[42]
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