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.
Inside the park, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy offers year-round seminars, guided fly-fishing, naturalist tours, hiking and photography classes. Estes Park and surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park are also superior birding spots, with more than 315 species to be seen. Grab your binoculars for a self-guided exploration of Matthews-Reeser Bird Sanctuary, or opt for a ranger-led bird walk within the national park.
Trail Ridge Road will not open until at least Memorial Weekend but there are many amazing areas open year round in the park. Heavenly Valley is the one place in the park where sledding is allowed but you must bring your own tube or sled. Cross-country skiing is incredible with so many trails to choose from and snow shoeing is a great way to explore new areas. Stop at one of the visitor centers as you enter the park to find out what areas are open and it is always best to call ahead for weather and road conditions. Check forecasts before you go at weather.gov and insert "Trail Ridge, CO" for the location. For information about Rocky Mountain National Park call 970-586-1206 daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time).
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.