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]
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.
The montane ecosystem is at the lowest elevations in the park, between 5,600 to 9,500 feet (1,700 to 2,900 m), where the slopes and large meadow valleys support the widest range of plant and animal life,[69][70] including montane forests, grasslands, and shrublands. The area has meandering rivers[70] and during the summer, wildflowers grow in the open meadows. Ponderosa pine trees, grass, shrubs and herbs live on dry, south-facing slopes. North-facing slopes retain moisture better than those that face south. The soil better supports dense populations of trees, like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. There are also occasional Engelmann spruce and blue spruce trees. Quaking aspens thrive in high-moisture montane soils. Other water-loving small trees like willows, grey alder, and water birch may be found along streams or lakeshores. Water-logged soil in flat montane valleys may be unable to support growth of evergreen forests.[70] The following areas are part of the montane ecosystem: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Kawuneeche Valley, and Upper Beaver Meadows.[70]
Back to the Fall River Road, and it’s just another few hundred yards to the Sheep Lakes Information Station. From here you have about the best chance in the park to see the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, a truly impressive sheep species that is notable for its agility, as well as having enormous horns. Be sure to keep your distance from the sheep and any other animals here, they are wild animals and this is their home!
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.
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
Estes Park is the gateway into the national park, but it’s also a destination unto itself. Stop by The Barrel, a seasonal alfresco beer garden, and window-shop along Elkhorn Ave., Estes' bustling main thoroughfare. Filled with one-of-a-kind stores, several fine restaurants and plenty of places for an afternoon snack, the area is just steps from the park’s eastern entrance. Stop for coffee and sit outside on the Riverwalk. 
Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport[4] 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.[5] 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.
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.

Boulder Brook on Fall River is an intimate, adult-only riverfront resort. Our Spa Suites are perfect for the romantic getaway, featuring riverfront decks, vaulted ceilings, private two-person jetted tubs and warm fireplaces. One Bedroom Suites become your home away from home, with a cozy living room featuring a private riverfront deck and a separate bedroom. Riverview, Mountain and Country Suites are one-of-a-kind units with full kitchens. The Aspen Suite is our only 2-bedroom suite accommodating up to 6 adults.


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.
Private outdoor hot tubs, riverfront property and no children! Can it get any better? Shelly�s Cottages is an adult only (13 to 113) property so you can leave the kids at home and enjoy a quiet mountain retreat with the one you Love! Reconnect with your better half as you sit next to the river or in your hot tub under a Colorado star filled sky. We are conveniently located between Boulder and Estes on 5 acres of green lawns and 900 ft of riverfront property. Enjoy Estes during the day then escape back to the peaceful sounds of Mother Nature at night. No weddings, groups or crowds to ruin your peace and quiet.
All ATV/Fourwheeling Beach Beach Volleyball Court(s) Biking/Bicycling Bird Watching Boating & Watercraft Canoeing Cross Country Skiing Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding Fire Pit(s) Fishing Pier(s) Fly Fishing Freshwater Fishing Golf Course Outdoor Grill(s) Hiking Ice Fishing Ice Skating Kayaking Marina Wildlife & Nature Picnic Table(s) Play Ground Whitewater Rafting Sailing Snowmobiling
^ Montana State University states in their profile of Rocky Mountain National Park that there has been an increase of 2.5 °F (1.4 °C) in the average park temperature over "the past century" (charts show the period from about 1895-2010).[48] The National Park Service site states that the increase has been 3.4 °F (1.9 °C) over "the last century" (chart shows the period from about 1905-2010).[52]
Baker Pass crosses the Continental Divide through the Never Summer Mountains and into the Michigan River drainage to the west of Mount Nimbus[36]—a drainage that feeds streams and rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico.[28] Other mountain passes are La Poudre Pass and Thunder Pass, which was once used by stage coaches and is a route to Michigan Lakes. Little Yellowstone has geological features similar to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Green Mountain trail once was a wagon road used to haul hay from Big Meadows. Flattop Mountain, which can be accessed from the eastern and western sides of the park, is near Green Mountain. Shadow Mountain Lookout—a wildfire observation tower—is on the National Register of Historic Places.[36] Paradise Park Natural Area is an essentially hidden and protected wild area with no maintained trails penetrating it.[39]
If you want to hike in the Bear Lake Road corridor and plan to arrive after 10, your best option, and on some days your only option, will be to take the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles. An entrance pass is required to use The Hiker Shuttle. Purchase a pass online at go.nps.gov/rockyfees
Many visitors end up shopping or going to restaurants in Estes Park. Dickey said his sales are higher this week compared to a year ago. On Christmas Eve, he did twice as much business as he did on Christmas Eve 2017. Dickey, president of the Estes Valley Partners for Commerce board, said other store owners told him they had not noticed any downturns.
If you’re coming in from Estes Park, as we were, a great place to start is the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, which is just outside the park.  Here the friendly and knowledgeable park rangers can give you plenty of advice on weather conditions, hiking trails – and even the best spots to photograph sunrise and sunset! From here, it’s a short drive to the park entrance where you’ll pay your visitor fee.
Nicky's Resort is a premier resort property in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. Nicky's Resort has been a landmark since 1964. Come visit for the first time or revisit the Nicky's Resort and see all the changes. This pristine property offers lodge rooms, cabins, river units, fireplaces, an outdoor heated pool (in season and is located along a breathtaking stretch of the Fall River. Catch a Rainbow Trout right off the deck of Nicky's Resort lobby. River is always stocked for our guests in the summer. Nicky's Resort is located 1 mile west of Estes Park and 2 miles from the north entrance of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Nicky's Steakhouse, located on site of the property, offers extensive menus for your dining pleasure.
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.[53]

Misty Mountain Lodge offers the best of both worlds. 2 miles to the National Park, 2 minutes walk to everything downtown. We have rooms, suites and cabins. Every single unit is different! The back of our property is Little Prospect Mountain, and the Big Thompson River is right across our lane. If you cross the bridge in front of our place, you can follow the Riverwalk about a block down to the River Plaza (at the confluence of the Big Thompson and Fall Rivers) on the back side of downtown Estes Park.
The Baldpate Inn features 12 well-appointed guest rooms in the main lodge, four secluded cabins, and a historic homestead, all of which are decorated with distinct country mountain flair and have spectacular panoramic views. All guest rooms have king or queen-size pillow-top beds dressed in high-quality linens, down or hypoallergenic comforters, and pillows. Some rooms have sinks, and some have private bathrooms with shower/bath combinations, separate showers, and soaking tubs, single or double vanities, lighted make-up mirrors, plush towels and bathrobes, and organic bath products. Sitting areas have plush sofas and overstuffed armchairs, writing desks and chairs, and large windows with stunning mountain views. Modern amenities in all suites include individual climate control with heating and cooling functions, mini-fridges, flat-screen televisions with cable channels, clock radios, irons and ironing boards, and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet.
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.
Visiting a city can be an even better adventure when visiting one of these unique cabins for rent near Chicago, Illinois. Experiencing city life definitely has its perks, but being even closer to so much lakeside fun and excitement in one of these unique glamping accommodations is the cherry on top. After a day of exploring Chicago treasures, stargazing at the foot the lake with nothing but peace and bliss, is exactly what glampers will never want to return from. The experience glampers have been waiting for to have the best mix of city life glamour with camping excursion awaits at these glamping, cabin getaways. Do not miss the opportunity to camp authentically and luxuriously in one of these unique cabins for rent near Chicago, Illinois.
Leave the fast lane, cross our covered bridge to simple serenity in a cozy cottage, suite or vacation home in towering pines along Fall River. Bask in hot tub bubbles. Warm to the scent and sizzle of a wood-burning fireplace. Fall asleep to the river's lullaby. Roam 30 acres adjoining RMNP. Enjoy the serendipity of wandering wildlife and friendly gatherings in our library.  Castle Mountain Lodge on Fall River Details
Hiking is the main attraction at Rocky Mountain National Park, so make sure to come prepared with sturdy and comfortable shoes or boots to make the most of popular trails, such as Bear Lake and Emerald Lake Trail. To experience the park from the comfort and safety of your car, take the hour-long drive on Trail Ridge Road. But before you do anything, you should stop at one of the park's visitor centers, such as Beaver Meadows, to stock up on maps and information. For a refreshing beer or ice cream at the end of a day in the wilderness, head to Estes Park and be sure to check out the establishments along the main drag, Elkhorn Avenue. 
Not everyone wants a honeymoon on the beach or has the time to make it out to a tropical location. Colorado is an amazing destination for a honeymoon. Imagine dipping into a steaming outdoor hot tub right outside your honeymoon cabin, or spending time cuddling next to a cozy fireplace inside.  Here are some inviting and romantic cabins all around Colorado that are perfect for a honeymoon.
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!
The park is home to many predatory animals, including Canadian lynx, foxes, bobcat, cougar, black bear, and coyotes. Wolves and grizzly bears were extirpated in the early 1900s. Most of these predators kill smaller animals, but mountain lions and coyotes kill deer and occasionally elk. Bears also eat larger prey. Moose have no predators in the park. Black bears are relatively uncommon in the park, numbering only 24-35 animals. They also have fewer cubs and the bears seem skinnier than they do in most areas.[79] Canadian lynx are quite rare within the park, and they have probably spread north from the San Juan Mountains, where they were reintroduced in 1999. Cougars feed mainly on mule deer in the park, and live 10–13 years. Cougar territories can be as large as 500 square miles.[80] Coyotes hunt both alone and in pairs, but occasionally hunt in packs. They mainly feed on rodents but occasionally bring down larger animals, including deer, and especially fawns and elk calves. Scat studies in Moraine Park showed that their primary foods were deer and rodents. They form strong family bonds and are very vocal.[81]
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
Chapin Pass trail traverses a dense forest to beautiful views of the Chapin Creek valley, proceeding onward above timberline to the western flank of Mount Chapin. Tundra Communities Trail, accessible from Trail Ridge Road, is a hike offering tundra views and alpine wildflowers. Other trails are Tombstone Ridge and Ute Trail, which starts at the tundra and is mostly downhill from Ute Crossing to Upper Beaver Meadows, with one backcountry camping site. Cache La Poudre River trail begins north of Poudre Lake on the west side of the valley near Milner Pass and heads downward toward the Mummy Pass trail junction. Lake Irene is a recreation and picnic area.[40]
Most visitors enter the park through the eastern entrances near Estes Park, which is about 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver.[91] 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.[91] 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.[91]
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.
We invite you to Wildwood Inn where you can experience the beauty of the majestic surrounding mountains, the abundant wildlife away from the congested areas of Estes Park. Nestled within 7 acres of private land and the National Park, you will enjoy spectacular views, and star studded nights that can let your spirits soar. Indulge yourself in beautifully appointed suites all with luxurious 310 thread count linens and some with Deluxe Temper-Pedic mattresses. Most offer private outdoor hot tubs with spectacular views of the mountain ranges or fireside hot tubs with shimmering candles aglow, and even ones with both.

Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and it is home base for many visitors. It contains a host of accommodations, ranging from inns and motels to hotels like the Stanley, which range in price. And the town is also filled with restaurants, bars and shops that line the main street, Elkhorn Avenue. Try Brownfield's for affordable souvenirs, such as T-shirts, blankets, key chains, and koozies. For bars, head to the traveler-approved Rock Cut Brewing Company or The Barrel beer garden. What's more, the town contains 75 restaurants that span cuisines, from the diner The Egg & I to the pizza place Antonio's Real New York Pizza & Deli, so visitors are sure to find some food to suit their fancy. 


Windcliff is a distinctive mountainside view neighborhood featuring fully furnished vacation homes and condominiums. Located on 240 secluded acres on the sunny side of Ram’s Horn Mountain, and just minutes from Estes Park, each home has spectacular views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Continental Divide. Your home is fully furnished and equipped, including fireplaces, full kitchens, decks, washer and dryer, microwave, cable TV, linens and towels, and of course a breathtaking view! Bordering Rocky Mountain National Park, and Roosevelt National Forest, you can hike right into the National Park from several Windcliff homes!
Hypothermia, or loss of body heat through exposure, is a danger that can be encountered any time of the year. If anyone exhibits shivering, slurred speech, incoherence, stumbling, or drowsiness, get the person out of the wet, cold. and wind, and into shelter and dry, woolen clothing. The quickest way to warm the victim is to place the person in a dry sleeping bag with another person.
Need an escape from the hectic life? Want to surprise that special someone? How about a gift certificate for that memorable occasion. Enjoy the seclusion of Solitude Cabins. Experience the privacy and mountain charm of one of our stand alone luxury cabins nestled among more than 300 trees on 9 acres. Private use of the hot tub allows for tranquil relaxation while listening to the elk bugle or taking in the spectacular display of shooting stars above. Each privately owned cabin is fully furnished with premium quality linens. Let us provide a dinner package to prepare in your upscale, full-sized kitchen. Celebrate your special occasion in the warmth of the cozy fireplace or stand in awe of the majestic sunset on your private deck. Enjoy the luxury of time standing still just long enough to have those special moments that create unforgettable, lasting memories. Let us help you customize your individual Romance Package.

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. 
Not only is the grand Stanley Hotel a member of the Historic Hotels of America, it's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Aside from its historic accolades, the property boasts another claim to fame. Fans of "The Shining" will recognize the hotel as the setting for the creepy Stephen King novel, but the hotel also touts a history of paranormal activity. To learn more, visitors can take one of two tours – a daytime tour that focuses more on pop culture and a night tour that concentrates on the property's ghost lore.
As of 2010, the preceding one hundred years of records indicated an increase in the average annual temperature of approximately 3 °F (1.7 °C).[48][52][a] The average low temperature has increased more than the average high temperature during the same time period.[48] As a result of the temperature increase, snow is melting from the mountains earlier in the year, leading to drier summers and probably to an earlier, longer fire season.[48] Since the 1990s, mountain pine beetles have reproduced more rapidly and have not died off at their previous mortality rate during the winter months. Consequently, the increased beetle population has led to an increased rate of tree mortality in the park.[53]
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

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Baldpate Inn has been enchanting Rocky Mountain travelers for more than 100 years. It’s nestled among the aspen and evergreen trees right beside Rocky Mountain National Park and began as a lodging destination almost right away when homesteaders Gordon and Ethel Mace moved in and built a handful of small cabins on their land. In addition to location and history, the inn boasts the world’s largest key collection and a photograph collection that includes signed portraits of presidents, celebrities, writers, inventors and more.
The history of Rocky Mountain National Park began when Paleo-Indians traveled along what is now Trail Ridge Road to hunt and forage for food.[11][12] Ute and Arapaho people subsequently hunted and camped in the area.[13][14] In 1820, the Long Expedition, led by Stephen H. Long for whom Longs Peak was named, approached the Rockies via the Platte River.[15][16] Settlers began arriving in the mid-1800s,[17] displacing the Native Americans who mostly left the area voluntarily by 1860,[18] while others were removed to reservations by 1878.[14]
Colorado is overflowing with things to do: world-class skiing, mountain biking, paddling, hiking, ATVing, hot-air ballooning and rock climbing… and that’s just the start of it. If you visit Colorado wanting an adventure, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, Colorado also offers great mountain music, sensational local breweries, gourmet cuisine, and outstanding art and culture. Be sure to book a Colorado vacation rental or Colorado cabin rental, for much-needed relaxation after your jam-packed itinerary.
Did some snowshoeing today(2/17/19), great conditions for it! We got to the trail and started about 8:45 am, snow was still fresh. Parking lot wasn’t too crowded and didn’t really see too many others until we were heading back. Only a few spots uphill, relatively even terrain with nice views. Did Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades, a short part of Ouzel falls to the overlook, which was a good point to turn around.
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