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.
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.
Most visitors enter the park through the eastern entrances near Estes Park, which is about 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver. 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. 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.
What can I say!!!! Five stars! How can you even rate nature?! It's perfection! I'm a lover of nature and parks and can find no fault in what I love! Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful and so pristine! I highly, highly, highly recommend you visit if you're in the area! My pictures do not do it justice! There are cabins, hiking paths, beautiful lakes and rivers and lots of deer! Unfortunately I didn't see any other living creatures besides birds and deer on this trip! Lol :) I'm happy not to run into bears though!
The complex interactions of elevation, slope, exposure and regional-scale air masses determine the climate within the park, which is noted for its extreme weather patterns. A "collision of air masses" from several directions produces some of the key weather events in the region. When cold arctic air from the north meets warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico at the Front Range, "intense, very wet snowfalls with total snow depth measured in the feet" accumulate in the park.
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.
Colorado is a leader in the American foodie revolution and continues to set the bar nationwide. Seasonal and perfectly fresh foods are the focus, and health-conscious vacationers will find that the cuisine options are limitless. Many restaurants will let diners know which small farms and local producers were used in sourcing their meal. Colorado’s cities are consistently voted among America's best for foodies, particularly for their attention to quality.
Lumpy Ridge Trail leads to Paul Bunyan's Boot at about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from the trailhead, then Gem Lake, and a further 2.2 mi (3.5 km) to Balanced Rock. Black Canyon Trail intersects Cow Creek Trail, forming part of the Gem Lake loop which goes through the old McGregor Ranch valley, passing Lumpy Ridge rock formations, with a loop hike that goes into the McGraw Ranch valley.