The montane ecosystem is at the lowest elevations in the park, between 5,600 to 9,500 feet (1,700 to 2,900 m), where the slopes and large meadow valleys support the widest range of plant and animal life,[69][70] including montane forests, grasslands, and shrublands. The area has meandering rivers[70] and during the summer, wildflowers grow in the open meadows. Ponderosa pine trees, grass, shrubs and herbs live on dry, south-facing slopes. North-facing slopes retain moisture better than those that face south. The soil better supports dense populations of trees, like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. There are also occasional Engelmann spruce and blue spruce trees. Quaking aspens thrive in high-moisture montane soils. Other water-loving small trees like willows, grey alder, and water birch may be found along streams or lakeshores. Water-logged soil in flat montane valleys may be unable to support growth of evergreen forests.[70] The following areas are part of the montane ecosystem: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Kawuneeche Valley, and Upper Beaver Meadows.[70]
Estes Park is the gateway into the national park, but it’s also a destination unto itself. Stop by The Barrel, a seasonal alfresco beer garden, and window-shop along Elkhorn Ave., Estes' bustling main thoroughfare. Filled with one-of-a-kind stores, several fine restaurants and plenty of places for an afternoon snack, the area is just steps from the park’s eastern entrance. Stop for coffee and sit outside on the Riverwalk. 
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.[43] 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.[42]
Fall River provides a beautiful backdrop for our lodging resort. After your hiking, snowshoeing or back-country skiing adventure, spend an intimate evening in a luxurious Spa Suite or relax in a spacious 1 Bedroom Suite. Enjoy sounds of the river from your private cabin/condo deck. All the conveniences of home in each suite.  Boulder Brook on Fall River Details 

The Swiftcurrent Lodge is small in size but huge in personal attention. We have 12 units in the summer, 6 in the winter. The advantage of being small, bordering Rocky Mountain National Park and being on the river gives one the sense of seclusion and offers a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. With these attributes plus your own custom package, the Swiftcurrent Lodge is the ideal location for your Romantic Getaway.
Streamside on Fall River is nestled between the cool clear waters of Fall River and the granite peak of Old Man Mountain. As one of Estes Park's most unique resorts, our secluded village of 21 cabin suites and condos feature such amenities as gas fireplaces, private hot tubs, jetted tubs, kitchens, free Wi-Fi, cable TV/DVD, gas grills, and hammocks for relaxing under the sunny blue skies of Colorado. Fish for rainbow trout or enjoy great wildlife watching. Challenge yourself to the summit of Old Man Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views or hike the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park, just three miles away. Guests enjoy having 24 hour access to the Swim Spa with exercise pool, Jacuzzi and two outdoor hot tubs--perfect after a long day of hiking. On-site guest laundry is available as well.

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. 
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.
Colorado brims with historic monuments and nature trails that families with kids will love. Visit Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site to learn about the old traders, trappers, and Native Americans who once traded at this post. For pristine wilderness and solitude, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a good choice. There's also San Isabel National Forest, which is home to Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak.

Settled at the end of a winding, tree-lined country road, the Inn is located on 26 private and secluded acres in Estes Park, Colorado. Our beautiful property includes hiking trails, private access to the National Forest, hidden patios, riverside meadows, calming ponds, and a quarter mile of private riverbank. Guests often see more wildlife on our property than in the National 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.
^ Jump up to: a b "Landscape Climate Change Vulnerability Project; Using NASA Resources to Inform Climate and Land Use Adaptation; Ecological Forecasting, Vulnerability Assessment, and Evaluation of Management Options Across Two US DOI Landscape Conservation Cooperatives" (PDF). montana.edu. Montana State University. August 2011. pp. 2, 5. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
Explore the stunning mountainous terrain in Colorado during your winter getaway, before coming back to the comfort of a cozy cabin rental. Wizz down the mountains on skis, or trek through the soft powder, and explore your surroundings. You'll find your inviting cabin, nestled in the wilderness, surrounded by pristine white snow. Spend your days taking part in one of the many activities on offer, and pass the evenings snuggled up in your warm, luxury cabin. Curl up by the radiating heat of the fire, or soak yourself in a long relaxing bath. Your luxury accommodation will provide all the comforts of home, shelter yourself from the cold winter outside as you enjoy being tucked away surrounded by the natural beauty Colorado offers.
Nestled in the trees and rock outcroppings on 8 1/2 acres Sunnyside Knoll Resort is not only one of the most picturesque resorts in Estes Park but is also the most unique, offering superb wildlife viewing. We are ideally located, just minutes from the Fall River entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and a little under a mile from downtown Estes Park. We offer motel units, spa suites�both standard and deluxe�and cabins, with or without private hot tubs. All accommodations have gas or woodburning fireplaces and most have kitchens or kitchenettes. Guests welcome. Come�kick back�relax and enjoy!
Estes Park cabins, homes, rooms, and suites bordering Rocky Mountain National Park! Enjoy wood-burning fireplaces and fully-equipped kitchens with a hot tub on-site. Free Wi-Fi, dog friendly lodging (w/ conditions). Spectacular views and great wildlife watching! Easy access to hiking, snowshoeing, back-country skiing! The perfect place for your mountain getaway!  McGregor Mountain Lodge Details
The rain started to head in, but we shifted plans a bit (the park is huge - one side can have rain while the other is sunny) and got to Alluvial Fan, Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake among some other spots. We also drove through most of the park and went to the Alpine  Visitor Center - 11,796 feet up! It's the highest elevation Visitor Center in the park. Great views. Such a different feel - it was cold and there was snow on the ground. In July!
Year-round lodgings include a historic, romantic 2 bedroom cabin with jetted tub and gas fireplace, a one bedroom cabin with sleeping loft, wood fireplace and jetted tub, plus other cabins and lodge rooms.  All non-smoking units have free wireless internet and local phone, fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, cable TV and are air-conditioned. Many units accept pets. Enjoy a hike on the mountain or walk around the pond and take those special photographs. Ask about our romance packages with flowers, chocolates and champagne!
With 60+ spruce trees in the yard, water features, decks, hot tubs, gas grills, picnic tables, swings, and Adirondack chairs, its just a lovely place to hang out! We have wireless internet available, plus an internet station in the office for your use. Each unit has cable TV with HBO and direct-dial phones. Most have full kitchens, many come with fireplaces. Groups welcome.

One look at this little mountain treasure will bring out the naughty in you! Do you relish the devilish delight of leaving everything and everybody behind to indulge in some much needed “me time?” Or do you prefer to sneak in a mischievous getaway with that “special someone?” Whatever your guilty pleasure, this cozy Pigeon Forge cabin will provide the…

Bear Paw offers one, two and three bedroom units, each bedroom having a private bath. You will really enjoy the full sized refrigerators and ranges, dishwashers as well as washer and dryer in all units. Of course the dishes and utensils are provided. Each unit also boasts a television with DVD and VCR (TVs also in each bedroom). Complimentary wireless internet is available to our guests. We are ideally located between downtown Estes Park and the north entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. We�re open all year to host your stay. Romance and activity packages 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. 
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.
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]
I would definitely recommend driving Trail Ridge Rd. between Grand Lake and Estes Park.  This is a great drive through the entire park with lots of great pull outs and stops along the way.  Be aware that this is the highest paved road on the continent at over 12,000ft. elevation and altitude sickness affects 50% of the visitors.  Trail Ridge Rd. is very scary to drive if you're not used to curvy roads with no guards rails.  Without stops, it will take 1.5hrs to drive from town to town.  Because we stopped so much, it took us 4 hrs to get from Estes Park to Grand Lake, we ate dinner in Grand Lake and then it took us 1.5 hrs to drive straight back.
Estes Park is the gateway into the national park, but it’s also a destination unto itself. Stop by The Barrel, a seasonal alfresco beer garden, and window-shop along Elkhorn Ave., Estes' bustling main thoroughfare. Filled with one-of-a-kind stores, several fine restaurants and plenty of places for an afternoon snack, the area is just steps from the park’s eastern entrance. Stop for coffee and sit outside on the Riverwalk. 

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]


Stay in this unique cabin near Pagosa Springs for access to hiking trails, hot springs and more right in your neck of the woods. Formerly a bookstore and coffee shop, this converted cabin has been remodeled to include a hot tub, full kitchen and even boot dryers! Come in after a long day exploring, warm up, and enjoy a weekend or week with the family.
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]
During the winter most of Trail Ridge Road is closed due to heavy snow, limiting motorized access to the edges of the park.[68] Winter activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing which are possible from either the Estes Park or Grand Lake entrances. On the east side near Estes Park, skiing and snowshoeing trails are available off Bear Lake Road, such as the Bear Lake, Bierstadt Lake, and Sprague Lake trails and at Hidden Valley. Slopes for sledding are also available at Hidden Valley. The west side of the park near Grand Lake also has viable snowshoeing trails.[68][88] Backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed after climbing up one of the higher slopes, especially late in the snow season after avalanche danger has subsided[89], and technical climbing remains also a possibility, although typically differing in style from the summer months[90].
The Mile High City is not just a service stop for those seeking world-class skiing. Denver offers major-city sophistication. Rent a vacation apartment and experience the celebrity chefs, local artists, major museums, fabulous microbreweries, four major sports teams, and wide variety of neighborhoods that make the city a destination in its own right.
The climate change study projects further temperature increases, with greater warming in the summer and higher extreme temperatures by 2050. Due to the increased temperature, there is a projected moderate increase in the rate of water evaporation. Reduced snowfall—perhaps 15% to 30% less than current amounts—and the elimination of surface hail, along with the higher likelihood of intense precipitation events are predicted by 2050. Droughts may be more likely due to increased temperatures, increased evaporation rates, and potential changes in precipitation.[53]

The Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations.[2] The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s.[2] In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves.[6] In 2017, more than 4.4 million recreational visitors entered the park.[7] The park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, ranking as the third most visited national park in 2015.[8]

Jess and I recently visited Colorado, which was my first visit to this wonderfully mountainous part of the US. We were primarily there to attend a travel influencers conference, but we tacked on a few days to do a bit of sight-seeing, starting off in the capital of Denver, where I watched my first ever baseball game, after which we headed out to explore some of those incredible mountains.
Back to the Fall River Road, and it’s just another few hundred yards to the Sheep Lakes Information Station. From here you have about the best chance in the park to see the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, a truly impressive sheep species that is notable for its agility, as well as having enormous horns. Be sure to keep your distance from the sheep and any other animals here, they are wild animals and this is their home!

The electoral college works precisely as our forefathers intended, who were worried about small state's voter representation and the inherent horrors that the tyranny of the majority would bring.The EC affords equal representation for all states, large and small.In 2016 it did just that by preventing Hillary's 6 million vote victory in New York and California from cancelling her lose of 3 million votes in the 48 other states.To simplify this for you Kommon Kore math Dems, without it you would have 3 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.But of course with Polis being the progressive Soros puppet that he is, he will sign this commie bill in a New York minute.

The Stanley Hotel is much more than just a luxury hotel. In addition to its historic rooms, legendary grounds overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park and destination dining services, its storied and haunted past which reaches back more than 100 years has made it one of the most famous hotels in the country. Activities inside include a spooky Night Spirit Tour which explores the phenomena and folklore surrounding the hotel.
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.  
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.
So you know: we worked in partnership with Visit Estes Park on our trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and they covered our park entry fees. The Stanley Hotel also covered our two nights of accommodation in the hotel, plus breakfast and dinner. All other expenses, including car hire, additional meals etc, we covered ourselves. If you’re interested in learning how we choose companies to work with, check out our code of ethics.

Fall River provides a beautiful backdrop for our lodging resort. After your hiking, snowshoeing or back-country skiing adventure, spend an intimate evening in a luxurious Spa Suite or relax in a spacious 1 Bedroom Suite. Enjoy sounds of the river from your private cabin/condo deck. All the conveniences of home in each suite.  Boulder Brook on Fall River Details
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.[42] Potts Puddle trail is accessible from the Black Canyon trail.[42]
Fall River provides a beautiful backdrop for our lodging resort. After your hiking, snowshoeing or back-country skiing adventure, spend an intimate evening in a luxurious Spa Suite or relax in a spacious 1 Bedroom Suite. Enjoy sounds of the river from your private cabin/condo deck. All the conveniences of home in each suite.  Boulder Brook on Fall River Details
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. 
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.
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