From this parking area it’s a short, relatively easy hike to Roaring River, where you can see the Alluvial Fan. This is what remains of the devastation caused when Lawn Lake Dam failed in 1982, releasing 30 million cubic feet of water down Roaring River valley, which truly earned its name that day. When the water reached Horseshoe Park, it spread out, and left behind the alluvial fan of debris that can be seen today.

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]


The riparian ecosystem runs through the montane, subalpine, and alpine tundra zones and creates a foundation for life, especially for species that thrive next to streams, rivers, and lakes.[74] The headwaters of the Colorado River, which provides water to many of the southwestern states, are located on the west side of the park. The Fall River, Cache la Poudre River and Big Thompson Rivers are located on the east side of the park. Just like the other ecosystems in the park, the riparian zone is affected by the climatic variables of temperature, precipitation, and elevation. Generally, riparian zones in valleys will have cooler temperatures than communities located on slopes and ridge tops. Depending on elevation, a riparian zone may have more or less precipitation than other riparian zones in the park, with the difference creating a shift in the types of plants and animals found in a specific zone.[75]
Features: This hike is a good drive away from the resort. You’ll spend about an hour and a half on highway 34 heading towards Grand Lake before you reenter the Park to check out Adams Falls. That said, the drive is gorgeous, and you’ll sweep over the Continental Divide. Once you’re at Adams Falls, you’ll have a short hike to view falls along the East Inlet of Grand Lake. The aptly named Adams Falls Trail features a 55-foot waterfall. You can continue along the East Inlet Trail to view more of the river, as well as Lone Pine Lake, Lake Verna, Spirit Lake, and other gorgeous sites.

Julian’s only Historic Hotel lies in the heart of the turn of the century district just steps away from local dining and shops. The freshly renovated landmark Hotel represents the Gold Rush spirit with historic ambience and modern day amenities. All guest rooms, cottages (w/fireplace) and suites include private baths, free WiFi, A/C, gracious afternoon tea and full two course breakfast. AAA- approved.
Region 4 is the heart of the park with easy road and trail access, great views, and lake hikes including the most popular trails.[35] Flattop Mountain is a tundra hike and the easiest hike to the Continental Divide in the park. Crossing over Flattop Mountain, the hike to Hallett Peak passes through three climate zones, traversing the ridge that supports Tyndall Glacier and finally ascending to the summit of Hallett Peak.[44]
Mountain sports enthusiasts can’t deny the draw of Summit County’s ski towns. Breckenridge and Copper Mountain are popular places to hit the slopes, complete with family-friendly activities for any season. Dillon, within easy driving distance of plenty of ski runs, offers world-class sailing and other activities on Dillon Lake. We also offer vacation rentals in the lovely towns of Frisco, Silverthorne, Keystone, and Blue River. You can’t go wrong in Summit County!
If you’re looking to hit the trails and experience the grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park, stay with us here at Rams Horn–we’re just about as close as you can get to RMNP. Plus, we’re just a minute away from downtown Estes Park. Book a stay in one of our luxury cabins, and enjoy all of the magical views of the Rockies, the quaint mountain-town feel of Estes, and all of the luxuries of home (and more!). Schedule your stay at our resort today!
Categories: IUCN Category IIRocky Mountain National ParkRocky MountainsHistory of the Rocky MountainsArchaeological sites in ColoradoBiosphere reserves of the United StatesCivilian Conservation Corps in ColoradoNational parks in ColoradoNational parks of the Rocky MountainsProtected areas established in 1915Protected areas of Boulder County, ColoradoProtected areas of Grand County, ColoradoProtected areas of Larimer County, ColoradoProtected areas on the Colorado River1915 establishments in Colorado
Horace Albright, director of the National Park Service between 1929 and 1933, once said about Trail Ridge Road, "It's hard to describe what a sensation this new road is going to make. You will have the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions." Trail Ridge Road was a sensation when it debuted back in 1932 and it remains so today for the travelers that make the 48-mile drive from Estes Park to Grand Lake, rising above the tree line for 11 miles at an elevation of nearly 11,500 feet. Visitors should keep that in mind when they're stopping at the lookout points that the road experiences temperatures that are 20 and even 30 degrees lower than both Estes Park and Grand Park. 
Estes Park has long billed itself as "The Gateway to the Rockies." This little town has a lot of charm of its own. For the many people who feel that the best part of the Rockies is the view, Estes Park is the best of both worlds. It is the perfect romantic getaway for those who would rather avoid the mountain roads and bone-chilling temperatures of Vail and Aspen during the winter.
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.
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.
Within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park, more than 100 peaks rise above 11,000 feet in altitude, including Longs Peak at 14,259 feet. These amazing mountains cradle the Estes Valley, providing residents and guests with incredible beauty and inspiration. Many of the taller peaks make up the Continental Divide, where snowmelt runs either west to the Pacific Ocean or east to the Atlantic. The park's vistas are accessible by horseback, on foot, or by car - the most notable vehicle route being Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuously paved highway in North America. No matter your level of interest, adventure awaits you while viewing, exploring and appreciating this breathtaking collection of mountains. 
Colorado has one of the most diverse plant and animal environments of the United States, partially due to the dramatic temperature differences arising from varying elevation levels and topography. In dry climates, the average temperature drops 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit with every 1,000 foot increase in elevation (9.8 degrees Celsius per 1,000 meters). Most of Colorado is semi-arid with the mountains receiving the greatest amount of precipitation in the state.[64]
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.
Get away and enjoy the surrounding beauty and frequent wildlife visits right from your cabin. Only 3 mi. from Estes Park, our quiet piece of paradise is set on 15 acres of pines & aspen next to RMNP. Full kitchen, living room, and fireplace in all cabins for evening relaxation. Private decks and gas grills.  Some w/private hot tubs.  Valhalla Resort Details

While it is possible to travel through Rocky Mountain National Park and not catch sight of any wildlife, we venture to say that is an unlikely experience. From everyday sightings of chipmunks and mule deer to the moving experience of viewing elk in rut (the mating season), the animals in the park let you know that you are part of something truly wild. Some of these critters are harder to spot than others - they might camouflage themselves in the trees or hide in the underbrush - but look closely and you may have an encounter unlike any other. 
According to my GPS app the winter track up the hillside from Dream Lake is slightly off from the actual trail, but connects up with the trail within 1/4 mile. Also, about 1/4 mile from Haiyaha the trail peters out and the established track goes straight downhill to the lake. We couldn't figure out where the actual trail was supposed to go so we followed the tracks; it's very steep but will get you to the lake.
Wind down with dinner at the storied Stanley Hotel. The elegant 109-year-old, white-pillared landmark sits on a hill overlooking downtown Estes Park. Guided tours take you through an underground tunnel and reveal how Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining while staying in room 217. Stop by the beautifully crafted antique Cascades Whiskey Bar to choose from 250 different wine labels and the largest whiskey collection in the state.
Timber Creek: The only campground on the park's west side, Timber Creek is often the best bet for those seeking an open spot on a first-come basis. This campground offers 98 sites, accommodations for RVs up to 30 feet, a dump station and water hook-ups. Timber Creek is summer only and access from Estes Park is available only when Trail Ridge Road is open (usually Memorial Day through mid-October, depending on weather) approximate drive time from Estes Park is an hour and a half. 
With majestic mountains, tundra wildflowers, abundant wildlife, Trail Ridge Road (the highest paved road in the US), and over 350 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular!  From flat easy hikes around a mountain lake to challenging multiday backpack trips and climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers trails for hikers of every level - let us help you plan your adventure!  Find the best ways to take in the majesty and serenity of the park.  It's YOUR Rocky - explore it!
Looking for a great trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado? AllTrails has 191 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 101 moderate trails in Rocky Mountain National Park ranging from 0.6 to 39 miles and from 7,795 to 13,047 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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
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.
We believe our cabins in Gatlinburg are the best in the Smoky Mountains. When you experience what our cabins have to offer, we think you’ll agree. We set ourselves apart with a huge variety of cabin amenities, sizes, and locations. At our Gatlinburg cabin rentals, you’ll find secluded outdoor hot tubs, Blu-ray players, Wi-Fi, private pools and home theaters, full kitchens, and so much more. Some cabins are conveniently located within walking distance of downtown, while others are secluded in the trees or peacefully set high atop the mountains. We have cozy 1 and 2-bedroom cabins perfect for honeymoons and spacious large group lodges perfect for church retreats and family reunions, each with its own unique experience for you.
At about 68 million years ago, the Front Range began to rise again due to the Laramide orogeny in the west.[58][59] During the Cenozoic era, block uplift formed the present Rocky Mountains. The geologic composition of Rocky Mountain National Park was also affected by deformation and erosion during that era. The uplift disrupted the older drainage patterns and created the present drainage patterns.[60]

Fall River Village: Located along the banks of Fall River and the popular Riverwalk, Fall River Village is Estes Park’s newest and best located resort. Situated on six and a half acres of beautiful mountain landscape, the resort features 60 new two bedroom, two bath vacation condos. The resort has an in-ground, outdoor pool and year-round, outdoor hot tub, a community room, fire pit and grill areas, and an outdoor recreation area with yard games and a hammock. Perfect for friends and family to gather together for memories that will last a lifetime.

This mansion-cabin is the highest priced on our list, but with the view of the lake and five-minute walk to downtown Frisco, we had to show it off! Bring grandma, grandpa, aunts, and uncles and make it a family getaway worth remembering. The three-level getaway has private garages, floor-to-ceiling windows, and four bathrooms. Find your own piece of paradise and escape to Frisco this winter!


We believe our cabins in Gatlinburg are the best in the Smoky Mountains. When you experience what our cabins have to offer, we think you’ll agree. We set ourselves apart with a huge variety of cabin amenities, sizes, and locations. At our Gatlinburg cabin rentals, you’ll find secluded outdoor hot tubs, Blu-ray players, Wi-Fi, private pools and home theaters, full kitchens, and so much more. Some cabins are conveniently located within walking distance of downtown, while others are secluded in the trees or peacefully set high atop the mountains. We have cozy 1 and 2-bedroom cabins perfect for honeymoons and spacious large group lodges perfect for church retreats and family reunions, each with its own unique experience for you.
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.
Get away and enjoy the surrounding beauty and frequent wildlife visits right from your cabin. Only 3 mi. from Estes Park, our quiet piece of paradise is set on 15 acres of pines & aspen next to RMNP. Full kitchen, living room, and fireplace in all cabins for evening relaxation. Private decks and gas grills.  Some w/private hot tubs.  Valhalla Resort Details

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.


The Lowdown: The words “private” and “hot tub” are enough to click on the reservation link for this snuggly cabin in Silverthorne. Large enough to accommodate six, this modern rental features a master bedroom, two flat screen TVs, a patio, walk-in shower, electric fireplace and of course — your very own hidden jacuzzi. Sure, nature is nice too, but this winter stay-cation might leave you lounging indoors.
Lawn Lake Trail climbs to Lawn Lake and Crystal Lake, one of the parks deepest lakes, in the alpine ecosystem and along the course of the Roaring River. The river shows the massive damage caused by a dam failure in 1982 that claimed the lives of three campers. The trail is a strenuous snowshoe hike in the winter.[42] Ypsilon Lake Trail leads to its namesake as well as Chipmunk Lake, with views of Longs Peak, while traversing pine forests with grouseberry and bearberry bushes. The trail also offers views of the canyon gouged out by rampaging water that broke loose from Lawn Lake Dam in 1982. Visible is the south face of Ypsilon Mountain, with its Y shaped gash rising sharply from the shoreline.[42]
The park has a total of five visitor centers[9] with park headquarters located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—a National Historic Landmark designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West.[10] National Forest lands surround the park including Roosevelt National Forest to the north and east, Routt National Forest to the north and west, and Arapaho National Forest to the west and south, with the Indian Peaks Wilderness area located directly south of the park.[5]
This charming cabin in the small town of Granby is a steal compared to local lodging in the area. Nearby to Granby Ranch Resorts and Grand Elk, this cabin comes with all the amenities including a full-size kitchen, gas grill, and wifi. Located just outside the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, you will be surrounded by wildlife and activities in this cozy cabin.
Region 2 is the alpine region of the park with accessible tundra trails at high elevations—an area known for its spectacular vistas.[35] 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.[40]
From 9,000 ft (2,700 m) to 11,000 ft (3,400 m),[72] the montane forests give way to subalpine forests.[69] Forests of fir and Engelmann spruce cover the mountainsides in subalpine areas. Trees grow straight and tall in the lower subalpine forests, but become shorter and more deformed the nearer they are to the tree line.[72] At the tree line, seedlings may germinate on the lee side of rocks and grow only as high as the rock provides wind protection, with any further growth being more horizontal than vertical. The low growth of dense trees is called krummholz, which may become well-established and live for several hundred to a thousand years old.[72]
The outdoor adventurer remains busy throughout the year in Rocky Mountain National Park. Open 365 days a year, there are activities and sports throughout the summer/fall and winter/spring seasons. Whether looking for a new route to an adrenaline rush, or simply enjoying a favorite pastime, Rocky Mountain National Park's unique and varied landscapes offer something fun. 
A number of Wedding Packages are available, which include table and chair setup, bartender, cake cutting, dance floor, ivory or black linens, champagne/cider toast, complimentary use of centerpieces, and a pre-wedding tasting for two. Additional accessories are also available. Other wedding services like florists, musicians, DJs, photographers and more can be found locally right here in Estes Park, making coordination and set-up a breeze. If you need assistance finding a florist, baker, photographer, etc, we would be more than happy to introduce you to some of the excellent wedding vendors here in town. 

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 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]
Cabins are standalone autonomous accommodation options that offer a stay in nature. You'll find cabins in all sorts of wild places, from lakesides to beaches to mountain ranges. Most are small and cozy, and traditional, letting you channel your inner explorer as you gaze out across babbling riverways or pine-studded valleys. Romantic cabins are wonderful for couples as they come with warm beds and sharing space with cracking fires and maybe even a hot tub.
The riparian ecosystem runs through the montane, subalpine, and alpine tundra zones and creates a foundation for life, especially for species that thrive next to streams, rivers, and lakes.[74] The headwaters of the Colorado River, which provides water to many of the southwestern states, are located on the west side of the park. The Fall River, Cache la Poudre River and Big Thompson Rivers are located on the east side of the park. Just like the other ecosystems in the park, the riparian zone is affected by the climatic variables of temperature, precipitation, and elevation. Generally, riparian zones in valleys will have cooler temperatures than communities located on slopes and ridge tops. Depending on elevation, a riparian zone may have more or less precipitation than other riparian zones in the park, with the difference creating a shift in the types of plants and animals found in a specific zone.[75]
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.
Highlights of our trip were stopping and eating lunch at Hidden Valley, where we saw a bull Elk up close grazing.  Hiking the beautiful Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and then on to the breathtaking Dream Lake.  Fly fishing in Moraine Park on the Big Thompson River, with Elk surrounding us.  Seeing a Moose for the first time at Forest Canyon.  Seeing two Big Horn sheep at Sheeps Lake.  
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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