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.
Glacier Basin: Located on Bear Lake Road, approximately six miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Satation, this 150 site campground provide easy access to many areas of the East side of the park. Reservations are available for this popular summer-only campground which offers a shuttle stop, tent & RV (35 feet) spots and on-site Ranger-led evening programs.
Moraine Park: Campers, particularly hikers, favor this year-round campground, where several trails originate. It's easily accessed via Bear Lake Road, near the park's Beaver Meadows Entrance (southwest), and features 244 sites, all able to be reserved. It allows RVs up to 40 feet long and accommodates them further with a dump station and water hook-ups. Group sites also are available.
Many hikers want to experience the thrill of camping in the wild, which is what backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is like. Backcountry permits are necessary and may be obtained at the Backcountry Offices. Near Estes Park, the Backcountry Office is located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Many backcountry campsites dot the park, including special sites for groups of more than seven people. Campers are asked to take responsibility for their sites, such as practicing proper Leave No Trace techniques and taking appropriate wildlife protection measures. More information on these tips plus suggestions for how to plan a backcountry camping trip may be found at the official Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Webpage.
Boasting a rich history, cozy accommodations, delicious cuisine and spectacular mountain views, the Baldpate Inn is a traditional mountain getaway that has been enchanting visitors for nearly 100 years. Built in 1917, the Inn is located seven miles south of Estes Park next to the Rocky Mountain National Park and offers a variety of things to see and do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Gem Lake is high among the rounded granite domes of Lumpy Ridge. Untouched by glaciation, this outcrop of 1.8 billion-year-old granite has been sculpted by wind and chemical erosion into a backbone-like ridge. Pillars, potholes, and balanced rocks are found around the midpoint of the trail, along with views of the Estes Valley and Continental Divide. Potts Puddle trail is accessible from the Black Canyon trail.
A complimentary European-style buffet breakfast is served each morning and includes freshly brewed coffee and tea, fruit juices, fresh seasonal fruit, egg dishes, and Italian meats and cheeses. Other delectable daily selections include newly baked sweet treats such as homemade quiche, croissants, or blueberry muffins, hot home-baked cinnamon rolls, homemade granola and Greek yogurt, and an assortment of fresh bread, jams, and preserves.
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