If you are going into the Park backcountry overnight, you will need a backcountry permit, available free at park headquarters, or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Some areas are closed to overnight camping, and the danger of avalanches frequently exists, so plan your trip carefully, checking with park rangers for the latest Information on the areas In which you plan to travel.
Now, folks are often overwhelmed when they make their first visit to The Park. After all, there are hundreds of miles of trails (in fact there are over 350 miles of trails within RMNP), and dozens of trailheads to explore. So where do you begin? Well, we’re here to help you find the right trail to fit your fitness level, as well as your aptitude at altitude—after all, Longs Peak (the tallest peak in The Park) tops out at a whopping 14,255 feet! Today, we’re going to point out 10 of the easiest hikes you can find in the park. Here’s our list of casual Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes:
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.
The Romantic Cottage is located 3 miles from Estes Park along the River in the Big Thompson Canyon. This unit was remodeled and a 14x16 foot bedroom added and completed in Jan 2012 with vaulted ceiling and log walls. . New gas fireplace, deck over looking the River, Living room area with love seat and now has a full kitchen with a gas range and kitchen table and chairs. Private Outdoor Hot Tub. Sleeps 2.
The Lowdown: Sure, log cabins are cozy, but this spectacularly swanky retreat has all the modern amenities you need with a more refined design aesthetic. Stargaze from the hot tub on the upper deck, play pool with friends or curl up next to the fireplace. It’s hard to complain about anything here. Granite countertops, neatly upholstered furniture and stainless steel appliances scream sophistication. You’ll be itching to come back.
Daily bus service into Rocky Mountain National Park is available weekends beginning in Memorial Weekend and then daily from June 27, 2016 to September 7, 2016 and weekends until the end of September, 2016. There are two more routes to help you once you are in the Park for Moraine Park and Glacier Basin (Bear Lake). Sorry, there are no bus routes for Trail Ridge Road or Horseshoe Park.
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 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.
There is also plenty for you to explore in the surrounding areas. If you head south, you’ll reach Red Rocks Park, which is known for its red rock formations. Head east, and you’ll find yourself in Denver, where you can experience a taste of the city, complete with shopping and dining options. Head west, and you’ll be in the Rocky Mountains, with options to ski.
First – Rocky Mountain National Park is open year round, 24 hours a day. So no worries there. However, if you want to drive Trail Ridge Road, you need to visit from around the end of May to early October. July through September are the busiest time of year, so my recommendation to avoid the crowds and still get good weather, plus plenty of light for activities, would be June.
In the subalpine zone, lodgepole pines and huckleberry have established themselves in previous burn areas. Crystal clear lakes and fields of wildflowers are hidden among the trees. Mammals of the subalpine zone include bobcats, cougars, coyotes, elk, mule deer, chipmunks, shrews, porcupines and yellow-bellied marmots. Black bears are attracted by the berries and seeds of subalpine forests. Clark's nutcracker, Steller's jay, mountain chickadee and yellow-rumped warbler are some of the many birds found in the subalpine zone. Sprague Lake and Odessa Lake are two of the park's subalpine lakes.
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!
Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles (77 km) long and connects the entrances in Grand Lake and Estes Park. Running generally east–west through many hairpin turns, the road crosses Milner Pass through the Continental Divide at an elevation of 10,758 ft (3,279 m). The highest point of the road is 12,183 feet (3,713 m), with eleven miles of the road being above tree line which is approximately 11,500 feet (3,505 m). The road is the highest continuously paved highway in the country, and includes many large turnouts at key points to stop and observe the scenery.
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.
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.
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
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.
Hiked the trail with my wife (both in our early 50's) on Sunday, Feb 10 between 8:30a and 1:30p. Amazing day to spend in the mountains. We went clockwise from the Cub Lake TH. A variety of trail conditions on the way to the lake but nothing that needed traction devices. We used hiking poles the entire time and saw many people without too. Up to the lake we encountered hard pack, snow, a little ice but all manageable. Cub lake is frozen solid and the area around is snow covered so at that point we decided to put on our micro-spikes, great decision. We left our spikes on from that point and were glad we did. Solid snow from the lake to The Pool with drifts up to 2 feet just off the trail. The Pool was 90% frozen and matched the hanging frozen waterfall just east of the pool on the cliffs above. The remainder of the hike was on solid snow, with about 150ft of solid ice to traverse in two different patches. Our spikes made it effortless compared to those doing without, yikes! Nice walk to the Fern Lake TH and back to our car. Weather was cold but clear. Winds were steady in the mid teens with gusts in the mid 30's. See you on the Trails!
Region 2 is the alpine region of the park with accessible tundra trails at high elevations—an area known for its spectacular vistas. 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.
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.
Anything is better than having multiple stop lights at a single intersection. Kudows for CDOT for thinking outside the box to find a solution that can accommodate more traffic. Sadly since we have built a city entirely dependent on single occupancy vehicles to get around it will just push the bottle neck to a different part of the traffic grid. But every little bit of efficiency helps.
Housed in a converted log cabin built in the early 1900s, the Moraine Park Museum is filled with exhibits on the natural environment of Rocky Mountain National Park, from its geology to its wildlife. It also features an outdoor amphitheater that hosts various talks and events. The second-floor observation area offers some comfortable rocking chairs and an unbeatable perch from which to take in the surrounding views.
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.
Cabins are available for rent at nearly all of our parks throughout the United States and Canada. Jellystone Park’s cabins are ideal for those who want to enjoy nature in the comfort of their own homes. The effort that Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts put into making your family vacation a memorable one will be evident from the moment you set foot in any of our parks.
A cozy Hansel and Gretel style cabin with a separate bunkhouse. A dream come true for those who discover its peaceful and healing quality year round. Central to boundless amenities. Roomy 1,000 square foot cabin, with stone fireplace and a woodburning stove in the master bedroom with private half bath. The second bedroom adjoins a full bath. 1-10 people. Third virtual bedroom plus bunkhouse. Free Wireless WiFi.
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.