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.
Mountain Charm is a lovely log cabin, located only minutes (approx. 5 miles) from downtown Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. The cabin overlooks a spectacular mountain view and features a beautiful glass and beam wall that showcases the amazing view. Also included in the cabin are a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, living area, and a bedroom. A washer/dryer is provided…
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.
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.
Rock climbing and mountaineering opportunities include Lumpy Ridge, Hallett Peak, and Longs Peak, the highest peak in the park, with the easiest route being the Keyhole Route. This 8 mi (13 km) one-way climb has an elevation gain of 4,850 ft (1,480 m). The vast east face, including the area known as The Diamond, is home to many classic big wall rock climbing routes. Many of the highest peaks have technical ice and rock routes on them, ranging from short scrambles to long multi-pitch climbs.
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.
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.
From this page you can access the main photos on this website. These are the ones I've selected as making great prints. If you want to see additional photos visit the search page or visit my Facebook artist page where I post new images nearly every day. I also have a large collection of images from other locations such as the Desert Southwest, Pacific Northwest, United Kingdom, Iceland, etc. These others can all be found at my Morning Light website.
Rocky Mountain National Park is open to visitors 365 days a year, 24-hours a day. Whether you’re a quiet observer or a full-on expeditionist, there’s something for everyone, all year long. In the winter and spring months, sled, ski, ice climb, hike, or just play in the snow. In the summer and fall months, fish, rock climb, bike, run, or go horseback riding. It’s year-round adventure at the place where adventure is always waiting.
The first stopping point as you come up Trail Ridge Road, you’ll find the main parking point for Many Parks Curve Overlook a little way past the curve itself (it’s well marked). Then you leave your car and walk a couple of minutes to the viewpoint. From here you get sweeping panoramic views across much of the south and eastern parts park, all the way back to Estes Park town and up to the mountains, including a view of Longs Peak.
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:
Basking in your newlywed glow, discover a luxurious ski in/ski out mountain retreat with resort amenities, tucked away on a quiet mountainside in exclusive Bachelor Gulch. Beautiful woodwork gives this residence an elegant alpine lodge ambiance. Design features include stately vaulted ceilings, natural log walls, hardwood floors, and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. Relax on the leather sofas around the fireplace, and even cook an intimate meal in the impressive chef’s kitchen, which features granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a spacious island. Enjoy the rustic charm of the Colorado mountains in every hand-selected detail from the light fixtures to its eight cowhide chairs. Located between Beaver Creek and Arrowhead, honeymooners can take advantage of Bachelor Gulch’s natural beauty, fine dining, arts, and culture. And while you’re here, enjoy complimentary access to the coveted Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch guest amenities. These include a 21,000-square-foot spa, hot and cold plunge pools, and co-ed grottos with steam rooms and saunas, perfect for unwinding after your once-in-a-lifetime wedding celebration.
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.
Did Twin Sisters yesterday. About 1-2” of fresh powder the whole way. Spikes definitely needed for steeper sections. Snowshoes were overkill, people were carrying them on their packs and using spikes. We were the first to trek over to the eastern sister this day, scramble was snowy but doable. Very cold and windy as a front came through. Still a beautiful hike w lots of solitude in the winter.
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.